Beyond Coal Campaign Hosts Protest on UK Campus

Sep 5, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -  Students, faculty, and concerned citizens took part in the University of Kentucky’s Beyond Coal Coalition protest Wednesday afternoon.

The group is opposed to UK’s close relationship to the coal industry, particularly when it comes to the athletics department.  The group demonstrated against UK accepting funds from the state coal industry and its reliance on coal power plants.  Keynote speaker Mary Ann Hitt of the Sierra Club urged the university to pursue greener alternatives,.

“Right now the University of Kentucky is home to a very polluting coal plant that does not have modern pollution controls and so it’s putting air pollution that is dangerous to breathe into the University community and the Lexington area, so we are here to call for the University to retire that coal plant.”

The group is especially upset about the use of coal money to build the Wildcat  Coal Lodge, an $8 million living facility paid for primarily by Alliance Coal.

"I think a lot of the speakers here have mentioned basketball as a unifying factor, and it’s sort of upsetting that they would use coal money to taint the legacy of UK basketball," said UK senior Jared Flannery. 

After speeches by Hitt and other activists, the group of about 40 marched toward the Joe Craft Center, delivering petitions and protest letters to the office of Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.