April 3rd: Fossil Fools Day Action at Kennecott

UPDATE: The weather report for Thursday has gone from bad to worse to severe weather alert.  Rather than sacrifice our signs, artwork, and toes, we are moving the action to Saturday, April 3rd.  Same time, same place, two days later.  If you weren’t able to make it on Thursday, this is your chance! Please pass this information on to all your friends you were planning on bringing to the protest.

Fossil Fools Day 2008 in the UK

Students at the University of Kentucky raise a mock wind turbine over a giant pile of coal next to a UK power plant on April 1, 2008. (Photo Credit: Kentuckians for the Commonwealth)

What you are about to read is certainly foolish, but it isn’t funny.

Most of us know that the Wasatch Front, and in particular the Salt Lake Valley, has the unfortunate distinction of having some of the worst air in the country. We also know that the brown soup that hides our beautiful mountains and degrades our quality of life is not just ugly to look at —  it causes diseases like asthma, birth defects, cancer, learning disabilities, and more. It is in our bodies. It is killing us, and it is killing our children.

Kennecott Utah Copper knows about this crisis as well. But what you might not know, is that every year, from March 1st until November 1st, they make the conscious decision to burn dirty coal for electricity at their plant in Magna. The power plant doesn’t even need to burn coal–it can run on natural gas, which is far cleaner–but coal is cheaper.  In other words, the health of all the  residents  in the Salt Lake Valley combined is less valuable to the corporation than the money they save by burning coal.

The Kennecott Power Plant is the only coal-fire plant in the Salt Lake Valley

The Kennecott power plant, above, is the only coal-fired power plant in the Salt Lake Valley.

Our demand this Fossil Fools Day are for Kennecott to:

1) Immediately stop burning coal

2) Commit to switching to renewable energy by 2015

3) Don’t take the costs of being responsible out of the paychecks of the workers

These are very reasonable and feasible demands, and we encourage Kennecott to do the right thing, and not just purchase power from the grid (which is largely fueled by coal plants elsewhere) and commit to making this crucial investment in the future of our planet.

According to Kennecott’s own report, the plant emits more than 1 million tons of CO2 per year. They acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat, and yet they continue to put their cost savings above a livable future for our children. We need to tell Kennecott Utah Copper: No More Coal in Our Valley.

Kennecott employs 1900+ people, and part of our objective is to ensure that Kennecott doesn’t force us to choose between jobs and our health. It is not our desire to threaten the livelihoods of our families and neighbors working at Kennecott, but rather to create a situation where we can have our jobs AND our heath.  This is also well within the capabilities of the corporation.

Join us on April 3rd for a peaceful, legal demonstration on the public land outside the gates of the power plant.  Tell Kennecott to be good neighbors and stop agitating our air quality and the climate crisis. There will even be some silly improvisational theater. It will be fun!

WHERE: Meeting to carpool at Central Pointe Trax Station parking lot, 2100 South 300 West, Alt Lake City [map] Then on to the power plant just west of Magna [map]

RSVP on FacebookWHEN: Saturday, April 3rd, 11:00 AM — leaving by 11:30. The demonstration will last from 12:00 to 1:00.

BRING: Friends, family, signs, and blue clothes to represent the color that the sky should be on a sunny day!

Can't make it, but still want to help? Make a donation to support the effort.

Inversion Pollution in the Salt Lake Valley

Inversion Pollution in the Salt Lake Valley (Photo Credit: Provincijalka on Flickr)

Fossil Fools Day is a national day of action targeting the fossil fuel industry, and is coordinated by Rising Tide, Rainforest Action Network, and Greenpeace. In addition to their website, there is a PDF booklet available for anyone interested in putting together their own action, anything from a large action to a small duo charade. Also, if you will be taking action, please RSVP to the event on Facebook.

Please forward this to your friends and family, and remember: this is a legal, peaceful, and good-spirited action–the first of a series of actions planned to convince Kennecott to transition to clean energy and stop polluting our valley. Please join the Peaceful Uprising Action Team to receive regular alerts and invitations to future actions on the ground!