Study Confirms Air Pollution from Mountaintop Removal

Monday, March 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Meredith Warfield | No Comments

blasting For generations, coal-mining communities in Appalachia have raised questions about local health problems, wondering whether or not they may be linked to pollution from nearby coal mines. A recent study conducted by a group of West Virginia University researchers has confirmed that suspicion, reporting that potentially dangerous air pollution levels are more likely in areas surrounding mountaintop removal coal mines than in mine-free communities. [ More ]

KY and NC: Different States, Same Recipe for Lax Clean Water Enforcement

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 | Posted by Eric Chance | 4 Comments

Yesterday there was a hearing in Franklin Circuit Court for our ongoing challenge of a weak settlement that the state of Kentucky reached with Frasure Creek Mining. The settlement is a slap on the wrist that lets them off the hook for thousands of violations of the Clean Water Act, and it bears a striking resemblance to the settlement between North Carolina and Duke Energy that has come under scrutiny after their recent coal ash spill into the Dan River. [ More ]

More than 75 Gather in Philadelphia to Demand Clean Water for Appalachia

Monday, February 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Kate Rooth | No Comments

Philly EPA Rally- Sue Last week, more than 75 people braved single-digit temperatures in Philadelphia, Penn., to call on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take action to protect Appalachia from mountaintop removal coal mining. Until legally binding safeguards are set by the EPA, Appalachia's waters will continue to be polluted by mountaintop removal coal mining. [ More ]

Ann League: Coordinating to Protect Tennessee’s Mountains

Thursday, January 30th, 2014 | Posted by Ann League | No Comments

ann_league_sm I started working to protect Tennessee's mountains from mountaintop removal coal mining more than 10 years ago because it was personal for me. And I plan to continue fighting mountaintop removal because the mountains of Tennessee will always be in my heart, which is why I am so excited to join Appalachian Voices to coordinate the organization's Tennessee campaign. [ More ]

Fighting for Clean Water in Virginia: Standing up to Coal Industry Bullies

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 | Posted by Eric Chance | 2 Comments

944745_10100206520223687_1797773733_n Today, Appalachian Voices along with our allies in Virginia filed a lawsuit against Penn Virginia, for water polluted by selenium coming from abandoned mines on their land. This lawsuit is one in a series of suits aimed at cleaning up selenium pollution in Callahan Creek. [ More ]

Hannah Wiegard: Binge-watching “Doctor Who” and Bettering Virginia’s Energy Options

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 | Posted by Hannah Wiegard | 6 Comments

944745_10100206520223687_1797773733_n I joined Appalachian Voices to help steer Appalachian Power and Dominion Virginia Power toward clean energy. Over the recent winter break, I got a jump on this massive undertaking in what may seem an unusual way: by becoming utterly engrossed in a "Doctor Who" marathon. I maintain that it was time well-spent in the fight for clean energy sources and efficiency for the Old Dominion. [ More ]

Former Coal Regulator Shows How Little He Knows About Coal Regulation

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 2 Comments

Cramer More than 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams have been buried or poisoned by the valley fills associated with mountaintop removal mining. Yet, despite touting his credentials as a former coal regulator, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) believes that current stream protections are sufficient and dumping mining waste into streams is illegal. [ More ]

McAuliffe Lauds Carbon Capture Technology, But Coal’s Impacts Go Beyond CO2 Pollution

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 | Posted by Hannah Wiegard | 3 Comments

TerryMcblog Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe claims that “we need to build on the assets we have” by using carbon capture technology. But carbon pollution isn’t the only measure of coal’s impact on Virginia. Continuing to mine and burn coal will still cause serious problems: more destructive mountaintop removal, toxic mining waste, air and water pollution from power plants, all while southwestern Virginia continues to feel the worst effects of deferring a cleaner energy future. [ More ]

For Patriot Coal, Ending Mountaintop Removal is a “Win-Win”

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

join_movt_mtr_sq A little more than a year ago, Patriot Coal announced it would phase out its use of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia as part of a settlement with environmental groups over selenium pollution. Taken at face value, statements made at that time by Patriot’s CEO Bennett Hatfield held promise that the movement against mountaintop removal, focused on exposing the poor economics as well as the irreversible environmental impacts of the destructive practice, had reached a pivotal turning point. [ More ]

Appalachian Voices and Partners Challenge Kentucky’s Weakening of Water Pollution Standards for Selenium

Friday, December 13th, 2013 | Posted by Eric Chance | No Comments

This two headed trout was deformed by selenium pollution. Today, we have taken action to keep EPA and Kentucky from allowing pollution like this to get worse.

Earlier today Appalachian Voices and a number of partner organizations sued the EPA over their approval of Kentucky’s new, weaker standard for selenium pollution.

Selenium is extremely toxic to fish, and causes deformities and reproductive failure at extremely low levels. The pollutant is commonly discharged from coal mines and coal ash ponds, but currently Kentucky does not regulate its discharge from these facilities.

These new standards were proposed at the behest of coal industry groups, likely motivated by citizen groups’ success at requiring companies in other states to clean up their selenium pollution. We have also seen the state governments of Virginia and West Virginia take steps towards making similar rollbacks to their own standards, making the EPA’s approval of Kentucky’s weakened standards even more alarming.

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No Coalfields Expressway in Virginia: Rally to Stop the Hijack!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 | Posted by Kara Dodson | No Comments

Jane Branham Speaks at CFX Rally

Jane Branham – rally speaker and Vice President of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards. Photo Credit: The Sierra Club.

The Coalfields Expressway, more aptly nicknamed the “Road to Ruin” by its opponents, threatens Southwest Virginia with new mountaintop removal coal mines and weakened local economies. That’s why more than 89,000 Americans oppose the project and more than 75 defenders of Appalachia’s water, air, land and communities rallied outside the Federal Highways Administration in D.C. last Thursday. Our purpose was to urge the agency to make sure that Virginia to take a long, hard look at environmental impacts of this mountaintop removal mine masquerading as a highway.

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Mapping Forest Change in Mountaintop Removal

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 | Posted by Erin Savage | No Comments

Researchers at the University of Maryland have just released the first high-resolution map of global forest change in the 21st century. University of Maryland Professor of Geographical Sciences Matthew Hansen and his team published “High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change” in the scientific journal Science last week. The project uses Landsat data, satellite imagery collected by the United States Geological Survey. A Google Earth Engine team created the map through high performance processing of geospatial data, to complete a time-series analysis of over 650,000 images to characterize forest extent and change between 2000 and 2012.

The online map provides imagery in a series of colors to document forest loss and gain. The accompanying article covers some expected and well known trends – deforestation of portions of the tropics from timber harvest and clearing for agriculture, as well as forest change in boreal forests from forest fire. Overall, the world lost 2.3 million square kilometers of forest between 2000 and 2012, but gained 800,000 square kilometers elsewhere, for a net loss of 1.5 million square kilometers.

The researchers noted one prominent trend in the United States: the disturbance rate of forests in the Southeast was 4 times that of the South American rainforest. In this case “disturbance rate” includes both the loss and regrowth of forest. Several factors may contribute to this high rate of change. In several Southeastern states, pine plantations are grown and harvested on relatively short cycles – more like other crops than natural forest. Another reason for the high rate of change may be mountaintop removal coal mining.

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