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PSR welcomes Sierra Club's new executive director

Posted by Barbara Gottlieb on March 25, 2010

 

PSR executive director Peter Wilk, safe energy director Michele Boyd, development director Mary Kerwin and I joined the crowd on Capitol Hill last night welcoming Michael Brune as the new executive director of the Sierra Club.  PSR partners with the Sierra Club in states across the nation to shift the U.S. off coal-fired power and onto clean renewable energy.

Brune came across as smart, poised and engaging.  As e.d. of the Rainforest Action Network for the past seven years, he has advocated effectively for protecting rainforests and fighting climate change. 

In a web statement reflecting on his first day on the job at Sierra Club, Brune placed shutting down big coal at the top of his list of projects the Club wants to complete.  Not only that:  He cited and linked to PSR’s recent report, Coal’s Assault on Human Health, noting that “according to Physicians for Social Responsibility, [coal] contributes to four of the five leading causes of death in the United States.”

Through our Code Black program, PSR works closely with the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign, launched under outgoing executive director Carl Pope.  PSR has stepped forward to play a key role, articulating the severe damage that coal inflicts on human health, providing authoritative reports and resources, and in numerous states providing health professionals  to testify in public hearings, speak to the press, and educate the public.

Brune also observed that the work on coal entails finding solutions to the problems of dirty energy.  “The flip side of coal campaigning,” he noted, “is our work to promote clean energy solutions.” 

PSR is heavily engaged in those positive efforts.  Our chapters in Washington State, Oregon, Los Angeles, Arizona, Colorado, Austin TX and Wisconsin have extended their Code Black coal work to encompass public education and advocacy for clean, healthy, renewable energy.

All of us here at PSR look forward to continuing to work with the Sierra Club, including Michael Brune, Bruce Nilles, long-time director of Beyond Coal and now the Club’s Deputy Conservation Director, and all the indefatigable state and regional staffers it has been my pleasure to get to know.

 

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