HBO’s “Saving My Tomorrow” to feature footage from Appalachian Voices

Friday, December 12th, 2014 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | No Comments

savingmytomorrow3 This coming Monday, HBO will premiere an entirely new documentary series that celebrates the children who will inherit the planet and their appreciation of the wonders of the natural world. A lyrical mix of science, animation, and music, "Saving My Tomorrow" is a call from kids to kids to help take care of the planet. [ More ]

Using our online Voice

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | No Comments

thevoice_onlineWe are delighted to announce that all the great content found in the print edition of our beloved bi-monthly publication, The Appalachian Voice, is now available on our website, through our newly revamped online presence. Before diving in to read the latest issue of The Voice online, take a moment to learn about the new features you'll find inside. [ More ]

Hail to the Chief — Lenny Kohm, 1939-2014

Monday, September 29th, 2014 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | 5 Comments

lenny_kohm [ More ]

AV Takes Part in Google’s New Maps Gallery

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | No Comments

Appalachian Voices was among a handful of entities invited by Google to provide maps for the Maps Gallery, which launched today. Our offerings include a map that shows how families in the Southeast pay a higher percentage of their income for electricity compared to the national average, one that shows average poverty rate by electric utility territory, and six maps that highlight the connection between mountaintop removal coal mining and poverty and health issues. In conjunction with the Maps Gallery launch, we also released a new report explaining in detail the data we pulled from to create the maps. [ More ]

Another Coal-related Spill Reported in West Virginia

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | 8 Comments

patriotspill-150px Early Tuesday morning there was a significant slurry spill at Patriot Coals Kanawah Eagle operation. Over 100,000 gallons of toxic coal slurry spilled into Fields Creek near Charleston, WV. Members of the Appalachian Water Watch team were at the site to investigate. [ More ]

TAKE ACTION TODAY — Help our Friends in Clinch River Valley Get a New State Park

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | No Comments

clinch-river-near-rt_-27-bridge A budget amendment has been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly requesting an initial $2.5 million for the development of a new state park in the Clinch River area. But legislators need to hear from residents TODAY (Feb. 11) that a new Click River State Park will create positive economic development in our beautiful region. Take Action NOW! [ More ]

Lost on the Road to Oblivion: Art Exhibit Focuses on the Vanishing Beauty of Coal Country

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | No Comments

Galie_8billion gallons_1 For the past 18 years, photographer Carl Galie has devoted his artistic talents to conservation work, and his latest exhibit is no exception. "Lost on the Road To Oblivion: The Vanishing Beauty of Coal Country," tackles the difficult and poignant subject of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. The exhibit is on display at Appalachian State University's Turchin Center for the Visual Arts through Feb. 7, 2014. [ More ]

Introducing: The Toxic 20

Friday, August 10th, 2012 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | No Comments

While it’s no shock to those of us who live in the region, the facts are now out that the coal-hungry states of the grand old Southeast are among the worst for air pollution caused by coal-fired power plants.

Just yesterday, the Natural Resources Defense Council released a special report called the “Toxic 20,” a comprehensive look at the twenty most polluted states in the nation due to coal pollution.

Unsurprisingly, ALL TEN of the Central and Southern Appalachian states (as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission) made the list, including Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Alabama.

Other Southern states include Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, Maryland and even good old Florida (although according to BBQ lore they may not actually be a Southern state).

Without further adieu, we present:

The Toxic 20

  1. Kentucky
  2. Ohio
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Indiana
  5. West Virginia
  6. Florida
  7. Michigan
  8. North Carolina
  9. Georgia
  10. Texas
  11. Tennessee
  12. Virginia
  13. South Carolina
  14. Alabama
  15. Missouri
  16. Illinois
  17. Mississippi
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Maryland
  20. Delaware

Read the NRDC Switchboard blog post
Read the full report

A Long Journey Across Water: Appalachian Coal Exports on the Rise, Study Says

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | No Comments

A fair percentage of mountaintop removal-mined Appalachian coal is apparently not staying in Appalachia. Nor the Southeast. Nor even the U.S.

As a Chinese fortune I once saw said, it’s heading for a long voyage across the great water.

According to a report prepared by the Democratic staff of the Natural Resources Committee and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass), exports of mountaintop removal mined coal in Appalachia have exploded in the past few years, with more than 97 mountaintop removal mines in Appalachia collectively exporting 27 percent of their production in 2011 — more than doubling the export percentage from 2008.

The coal is apparently heading for places like Russia, South America, China and India.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Coal exports from these mines in [West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia] have grown by 91 percent since 2009 to 13.2 million tons in 2011.
  • Twenty-five of those mines exported more than half of their production in 2011.
  • One Russian company is exporting nearly 83 percent of the coal from three mines in West Virginia
  • Five mines are shipping 100 percent of their coal abroad

According to the Committee’s press release, the study’s results were gathered using “data from the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, and included self-reported data from the mines themselves.”

The report, entitled “Our Pain, Their Gain,” seems to point to the fact that Appalachian communities, and even Appalachian miners (see Ken Ward’s post titled “Strip miners face serious black lung risks”) are being sacrificed for profit from overseas sales. But the coal industry wouldn’t think of doing that, now would it?

Or, would it?

Sadly, I think it already is.

Read the full release and report here.

North Carolina Bands with Mighty Big Hearts

Monday, April 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, Appalachian Voices was on the happy end of a rousing night of rowdy rock and roll and vintage and alt country, thanks to the generous hearts of a few North Carolina musicians.

Molly McGinn, sultry-voiced siren from the Greensboro, N.C., collaborative band, Wurlitzer Prize, and David Brewer, the massively talented musician often fronting Americana r&r favorites Possum Jenkins, hosted a fantastic evening of music as a benefit for Appalachian Voices and our work to end mountaintop removal coal mining.

More ...

Bad News for a Friday: District Court Overturns Spruce Mine

Friday, March 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | No Comments

A District of Columbia District Court today overturned a veto by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a Spruce No. 1 Mine permit, the largest mountaintop removal mining permit in West Virginia history, stating that the agency did not have authority to veto a permit already approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, which hands out 404 permits under the Clean Water Act. A first glimpse over the document indicates that the court came a hair’s breadth away from actually calling the EPA’s actions unlawful, but we’ll read closer and get back with you.

The EPA first vetoed the massive permit in January of 2011. At the time, EPA’s Peter Silva said of the agency’s reasoning to veto the permit:

The proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine would use destructive and unsustainable mining practices that jeopardize the health of Appalachian communities and clean water on which they depend. Coal and coal mining are part of our nation’s energy future, and EPA has worked with companies to design mining operations that adequately protect our nation’s water. We have responsibility under the law to protect water quality and safeguard the people who rely on clean water.

Read the full memorandum here.

New Tool Reveals “The Human Cost” of Mountaintop Removal

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 | Posted by Jamie Goodman | No Comments Uses Scientific Data to Show
Negative Health Effects of Destructive Mining Practice

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
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For I Love Mountains Day: Jerry Hardt,, 502-439-6884
For Kate Rooth,, (704) 516-0092
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A group of environmental advocates is launching a new mapping tool that uses scientific evidence and government data to plot the human casualties of mountaintop removal coal mining.

The comprehensive tool, created by Appalachian Voices for, is being released in conjunction with the annual I Love Mountains Day in Frankfurt, Ky. More than 1,200 citizens are expected to gather on the state’s capitol steps on Valentine’s Day to advocate for an end to mountaintop removal coal mining, a destructive practice that has shortened lifespans and caused illnesses in Central Appalachia for decades.

“In the past year several studies have come out about the health impacts of living near mountaintop removal mining,” said Ada Smith, 24, a Letcher County, Ky., resident and a speaker at I Love Mountains Day. “Though many of the studies state the obvious for those of us living in these communities, the scientific facts give us much-needed evidence to make sure our laws are truly enforced for the health of our land and people.”

The new tool on called “The Human Cost of Coal” is an accumulation of data from verified government sources and peer-reviewed scientific studies plotted on a Google map to show the correlation between mountaintop removal coal mining and increased health problems, lowered life expectancy and high poverty rates in Central Appalachia.

“It is important to realize that birth defects for babies born in [areas impacted by] mountaintop removal are over twice as high than if the mother smokes during pregnancy, and over 10 times as high for circulatory/ respiratory defects,” said Vernon Haltom from Coal River Mountain Watch.

“The Human Cost of Coal” layer pulls from national data including poverty rates from the 2010 U.S. Census, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, and life expectancy and population numbers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The site also includes summaries for more than twenty peer-reviewed studies from 2007 to 2011 that provide evidence that human health problems such as heart, respiratory and kidney diseases, cancer, low birth weight and serious birth defects are significantly higher in communities near mountaintop removal mine sites.

Mountaintop removal is a radical form of coal mining that involves using heavy explosives to blast off the tops of mountains and dumping the resulting waste into nearby valleys, burying headwater streams. More than 500 mountains and 2,000 miles of streams have been destroyed in Central and Southern Appalachia by mountaintop removal mining. Numerous health and environmental issues have been linked with the radical form of mining in the region. is a project of The Alliance for Appalachia, which is made up of thirteen local, state and regional organizations across Appalachia working together to end mountaintop removal and create a prosperous future for the region.

To view “The Human Cost of Coal,” visit


To schedule interviews or obtain images and video b-roll, please contact



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