Sierra Crane-Murdoch 21 Middlebury, VT
Sierra co-founded Power Past Coal along with forty grassroots activists personally impacted by the mining, processing and burning of coal. As National Coordinator, Sierra united diverse communities to convince President Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Congress to enact policies to swiftly and justly transition away from coal.
The team publicized or coordinated at least one action protesting coal everyday for the first 100 days of President Obama’s administration – eventually numbering 300 actions in total. Tens of thousands of citizens participated in marches, lobby days, rallies, town hall meetings, and acts of nonviolent civil disobedience.
Through it all, Sierra provided leadership, support and media coverage to the local organizations hosting these actions. Power Past Coal has been instrumental in building national pressure to move away from coal; over the course of the project, over twenty new coal plant permits and five mountaintop removal applications were denied or suspended, while the EPA committed to regulating carbon dioxide from coal plants and coal ash from slurry ponds.
“I had the rare opportunity to run a soulful campaign – one which was held afloat by the stories of the people who helped build the project from the grassroots up,” Sierra said. “These stories were the true heart of this project, and I strongly believe that Power Past Coal must continue to provide a direct link between the people whose voices must be heard, and the leaders who must hear them.”
Watch Sierra's acceptance speech at the 2009 Brower Youth Awards: