Our flagship, the new Rainbow Warrior, sailed into port in New York City for her maiden voyage to the United States in the end of January. From there she sailed south, stopping in Baltimore to meet Greenpeace staff and activists and promote offshore wind energy before finally making her way into the belly of the beast of our Quit Coal campaign: North Carolina, where Duke Energy is headquartered.
Duke is poised to merge with Progress Energy to become the largest electric utility in the country. Its CEO, Jim Rogers, has talked profusely about how he’d like to save the climate for his grandchildren but his company’s not walking his talk. Duke is hiking its rates for North Carolina families only so that it can build more dirty coal plants. We made sure that Duke got the message that Greenpeace and North Carolina ratepayers won’t let them trash our lungs and the climate any longer.
From North Carolina, the Rainbow Warrior sailed to Florida to pay a visit to Progress Energy, the bride in the unholy marriage between two massive polluters.
Over 1,500 residents of the Tampa area toured the ship last weekend, with some patiently waiting in line for as long as an hour. Many of them get their electricity from Progress Energy, and we heard a lot from them about the kind of company they would like to see Progress become. We talked about the nearby Crystal River coal plant, the biggest source of global warming pollution in Florida whose pollution causes 76 deaths per year. Some folks wondered why Progress Energy plans to start increasing their electricity bills to pay for a new nuclear power plant that may or may not even be built. And Greenpeace made it clear for local media with a banner between the Rainbow Warrior’s masts that we think Progress should live up to its name by quitting coal now.
It was a whirlwind month. The Rainbow Warrior cut a beautiful image sailing down the East Coast, all the while calling out Duke and Progress to be leaders by quitting coal and giving American the clean energy we deserve. Next the Rainbow Warrior is off to the Brazilian Amazon to take on deforestation and climate change. We’ll miss her and her crew and can’t wait for them to return!