The Great White Way Goes Green, Saving Mountains in the Process

First the Oscars, then Major League Baseball, followed by the NBA...and now the "Great White Way."  That's right.  With the guidance of my colleague Allen Hershkowitz, NRDC is helping Broadway green up its act to save energy and the environment. 

The BROADWAY GOES GREEN initiative, launched last fall, is an industry-wide initiative to reduce the famed theater district's carbon footprint, adopt environmentally sustainable practices and promote environmental awareness in the creation and presentation of Broadway shows.

As part of this effort, and in conjunction with the New York Loves Mountains Festival kicking off today, Broadway is recognizing the role that dirty coal -- strip-mined mostly from Appalachia -- plays in fueling its famed marquees.

As Jeff Biggers blogs from the festival:

"More than 240,000 tons of coal stripmined through mountaintop removal operations are consumed by New Yorkers every year.  Thirteen power plants in 11 counties burn mountaintop removal coal.  When the marquee signs on Broadway light up, a signal will most likely be sent from the New York Independent System Operator grid to the Lovett coal-fired plant, where the facility service will shovel in coal strip-mined from West Virginia mountains that have been clear cut, detonated with tons of explosives and toppled into the valleys."

The goal of the "New York Loves Mountains Festival," which starts today and runs through Sunday, is to raise awareness and promote a ban of mountaintop removal coal in NY State.  This year's lineup features a reading of Light Comes, a new play written and directed by award-winning playwright Sarah Moon.  This is the first national-touring original theatre production based on a mountaintop removal family saga and Thomas Edison's first coal-fired plant in New York City. 

The play spans the invention of electricity to today's ravaged hills and hollows in eastern Kentucky, to the backroom finance deals of King Coal on Wall Street.  As Biggers describes it, Light Comes "untangles the web of our modern-day coal-fired electrical empire, revealing the truth behind why America runs on coal, and why the fathers of electricity never imagined its reckless duration."

For complete details, visit