To tell the truth

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Tom Cormons | No Comments

AV's Director of Programs Matt Wasson testifies before Congress

AV’s Director of Programs Matt Wasson testifies before Congress about the burden of mountaintop removal coal mining on Appalachian communities

Last month, our Director of Programs, Matt Wasson, got the chance to tell a rapt audience in Washington, D.C., that the emperor has no clothes. The audience was the U.S. House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, the reporters in the room, and anyone who happened to be watching on CSPAN.

The majority members of the committee had called the hearing in an attempt to portray federal environmental protections as overly burdensome and to trumpet state efforts to “streamline” them. As Matt described in his testimony, however, the facts for the people living in the Appalachian counties most heavily impacted by mountaintop removal coal mining under the ostensibly watchful eye of state agencies are these:

  • They are 50% more likely to die from cancer than others in Appalachia
  • Their children are 42% more likely to be born with birth defects
  • They have a life expectancy far below the national average and comparable to those in El Salvador and Vietnam.

Rep. Henry Waxman of California, picking up on Matt’s revelations, noted the similarly atrocious handling by North Carolina officials — in the absence of any federal rules on coal ash — of the catastrophic Duke Energy coal ash spill in February. In the end, the hearing turned into an indictment of the fallacy that states can be counted on to defend their citizens against the profit-driven vagaries of the coal industry and energy giants like Duke.

And while Matt had a rare opportunity to provide a reality check in the ceremonial milieu of a congressional hearing room, it’s the people living in places like Wise County, Va., Pike County, Ky., and Stokes County, N.C. (the site of Duke’s largest coal ash pond), who know this reality better than anyone. It’s their voices, their courage and their persistence — in combination with technical experts like Matt speaking truth to power — that will ultimately bring about real change in their communities.

Carl Shoupe: Seeing through the “War on Coal” smokescreen

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 | Posted by Guest Contributor | No Comments

4388474014_6cdabe44a7_z"Instead of raging about a made-up war on coal and how to protect coal corporations, Congress should take a closer look at how to really support coal communities," Kentuckians For The Commonwealth member and retired miner Carl Shoupe writes. [ More ]

It’s still happening …

Friday, August 15th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments

1_still_happening_500mtns Since the mid-1990s, the coal industry has blasted the tops off of more 500 of the oldest, most biologically rich mountains in America, and destroyed more than 2,000 miles of headwater streams. Despite a growing movement of Appalachians and thousands of other citizens rallying to end the destruction, it’s still happening. [ More ]

Mountaintop removal is the 800-pound gorilla at the SOAR Health Impact Series

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 | Posted by Erin Savage | No Comments

SOARHealthMountaintop removal's health impacts were the number one concern of eastern Kentuckians that participated in the SOAR Health Impact Series, but the topic was barely addressed at a recent SOAR gathering in Hazard. If they hope to soar beyond political rhetoric, Rep. Hal Rogers and Gov. Steve Beshear must take those concerns seriously, and support more research into the connections between mountaintop removal and health. [ More ]

Expecting Justice: The backward priorities of a billionaire coal baron

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

10320266_723385017709066_821447761059699020_nIn recent years, outstanding violations and unpaid fines have weighed down coal companies owned by West Virginia billionaire Jim Justice and burdened the communities where they operate. But rather than paying his debts, Justice just spent $30 million to build a lavish sports complex on the grounds of the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. [ More ]

An activist is born

Monday, August 4th, 2014 | Posted by Marissa Wheeler | No Comments

An Appalachian Voices intern attends her first-ever environmental rally and finds a sense of belonging among other advocates calling for clean energy and climate action. "It’s one thing to wear the pins and stickers; it’s another thing to feel empowered by your peers to take action and work towards a common goal," Marissa Wheeler writes. [ More ]

Science vs. Mining

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 | Posted by Eric Chance | No Comments

Over 2,000 miles of streams have been buried by Mountain Top Removal mining, and many more have been degraded. This seems like it should be illegal, but the destructive practice continues. That's why Appalachian Voices has been working to keep the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry from opening up new loopholes in our environmental laws that would make it easier to poison streams. [ More ]

Obama pulls the plug on mountaintop removal study

Monday, July 28th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments

blastingWhen President Obama first took office, he made a commitment that his agencies would always act on what the science dictated. I guess the way around taking actions, then, is to stop the science from ever being completed. [ More ]

Today, Congress has to learn about mountaintop removal

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 1 Comment

CDC_Cancer_Set2Congressional representatives have shown little interest over the past few years in talking about mountaintop removal coal mining. They'd rather lambast the EPA and the Obama Administration for any actions to protect Appalachia's people and environment. But today, our program director, Matt Wasson, is testifying before Congress. That means members will hear about higher-than-average cancer rates and other impacts of this abominable coal mining practice. [ More ]

Great News for Clean Water in Virginia!

Friday, July 18th, 2014 | Posted by Eric Chance | No Comments

Last week a federal judge upheld a previous decision requiring a Virginia coal company to get a permit for their discharges of toxic selenium. [ More ]

Today’s court decision and what it means for Appalachia

Friday, July 11th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 4 Comments

good_day_for_mtns2A major ruling in favor of the EPA says the agency has the authority to coordinate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when reviewing permits for mountaintop removal mines. The EPA has the legal authority, scientific evidence, and moral obligation to block every mountaintop removal permit that comes through its doors. We all share the responsibility of making sure it does just that. [ More ]

Court sides with EPA on science-based mountaintop removal permitting

Friday, July 11th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

4535374630_be9af60ec8_zA ruling by U.S. Court of Appeals today is as clear as the science indicting mountaintop removal coal mining, and affirms what advocates working to end the destruction of Appalachian mountains and streams have been saying for years. [ More ]


 

 

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