To tell the truth

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Tom Cormons | 6 Comments

matt-wasson-congressional-testimony Last month, our director of programs, Matt Wasson, testified before Congress about the perils of mountaintop removal and coal ash pollution, and the failure of some state agencies to protect communities from pollution. While Matt had a rare opportunity to provide a reality check for elected leaders, it’s the people in coal-impacted communities who know this reality better than anyone. [ More ]

Strip mine highway gets a hard look

Monday, July 14th, 2014 | Posted by Tom Cormons | No Comments

Image courtesy of the Sierra Club The Coalfields Expressway as currently proposed is not a classic “road to nowhere” boondoggle, but it is a road to the destruction of mountains, creeks and economic opportunities in Southwest Virginia. So it was a joyous day in June when we learned that, after many years of collaborative effort by Appalachian Voices and partner groups, and the persistence of countless citizens across the region, federal officials had put the brakes on it. [ More ]

Amplifying citizens’ voices

Friday, June 20th, 2014 | Posted by Tom Cormons | No Comments

epa3 Earlier this month, a group of Appalachian citizens traveled to Washington, D.C., to tell members of Congress and Obama administration officials how mountaintop removal coal mining has contaminated drinking water, poisoned streams, polluted air, and devastated local economies in their communities. Judging by the reaction, their stories hit home with many of these decision makers. [ More ]

The Carbon / Climate Challenge

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 | Posted by Tom Cormons | No Comments

carbon_and_climate1In a few weeks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is set to unveil the nation’s first-ever proposal to limit planet-warming carbon pollution from the nation’s existing power plants — the single largest contributor to America’s carbon footprint. This is a critical opportunity to move the needle away from dirty fossil fuels and the destruction they wreak — including mountaintop removal and poisoned water and air — and toward cleaner, more sustainable ways to power our lives. [ More ]

Counteracting Coal’s Dirty Tricks

Friday, April 18th, 2014 | Posted by Tom Cormons | 6 Comments

dirty_stream2Last month, we acted quickly to undermine H.R. 2824, a pro-mountaintop removal bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. While we never expected to prevent the bill from passing the anti-environmental House, our efforts helped to make the perils of mountaintop removal the message of the day. [ More ]

Electricity Costs Tied to Poverty in the South

Friday, March 14th, 2014 | Posted by Tom Cormons | No Comments

povertymapblogFifty years ago, President Johnson declared a “war on poverty” in America, and Congress passed legislation to increase support and economic opportunities for the poor. Appalachia was the “poster region” for this grand endeavor. Today, a “war on wasted energy” makes sense for many reasons, and it would provide a much-needed boost to communities in Appalachia and across the South who are most in need. [ More ]

Coal-related Spills Connect Us All

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 | Posted by Tom Cormons | 4 Comments

moormans_river_va Over the last several weeks, with each report from West Virginia or North Carolina of a coal-related water pollution crisis, I couldn't help but imagine my favorite river, the Moormans, being poisoned by a mysterious chemical called MCHM, choked by toxic coal ash, or fouled by coal slurry. In fact, it is my river that is threatened. And your river, too. But our shared connection to the creeks and rivers running through our lives unites us in the fight to protect our waters, and that’s what gives me hope. [ More ]

West Virginia’s Water Crisis: As Predictable As It Was Preventable

Saturday, January 18th, 2014 | Posted by Tom Cormons | 3 Comments

wv_spill On Thursday, Jan. 9, more than 7,500 gallons of a highly toxic chemical used to process coal spilled into the Elk River -- just upstream of a drinking water intake serving more than 300,000 people in West Virginia. While the spill was making national headlines as a one-time event, our thoughts turned to the much bigger problems with water pollution and politics in Appalachia that don't get enough attention from the media -- and how these chronic problems actually set the stage for this disaster. [ More ]

Reflecting on a Year of Accomplishments

Saturday, December 21st, 2013 | Posted by Tom Cormons | No Comments

tom

It was ten months ago when I wrote my first letter to our supporters as the Executive Director of Appalachian Voices. Looking back on the time that has flown by, I take great comfort in knowing that over this short span we made many impressive advances in reducing coal’s impact on our communities and promoting solutions for a cleaner energy future. With the end of 2013 only days away, I want to personally let you know how grateful we are for your commitment to our work this year. Thank you.

Here are just a few highlights of all that we did with your help.

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Saying “No!” to Toxins in Our Water

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 | Posted by Tom Cormons | 4 Comments

waterfall2 Appalachian Voices works with citizens throughout the region to expose water pollution from mountaintop removal mining, and we’ve been advocating for strong state standards to control this dangerous pollutant. We are pushing back on the EPA’s decision on Kentucky, and we’re ready to hit the ground to fight for responsible, enforceable standards in other states. [ More ]

A Giving of Thanks for Wendell Berry

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Tom Cormons | No Comments

Wendell Berry, image screen capture from Moyers and Company

I know of no wiser or more insightful thinker alive today than Wendell Berry. The work of this Kentucky farmer, author and activist has been a constant source of inspiration for me ever since I read a collection of his essays, “Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community,” in college 17 years ago, so it was a real treat to see his rare television interview with Bill Moyers that aired on PBS earlier this month.

In the interview, we see a man gravely concerned with the state of the world. Yet, despite his acute awareness of the problems we face — including the rampant mountaintop removal mining in his home state — what makes Berry stand out today is his clear, unwavering vision of the good and the beautiful, which is informed and inspired by his own well-lived life. His writing celebrates nature, close families and communities, and the potential for healthy interaction between people and the earth — and, as a farmer who’s devoted his life to caring for the land and his loved ones, he writes with great authority.

More ...

Wielding New Power for Virginia

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 | Posted by Tom Cormons | 1 Comment

I want my three children to grow up in a world where the water is safe to drink, the air is safe to breathe, and the beauty of our natural heritage remains intact. We can achieve this only through making major investments in clean energy, which also provides more jobs, saves money and leads to a more stable economy.

My home state of Virginia, alas, has a long way to go, and that’s why Appalachian Voices and partners have launched the New Power for the Old Dominion campaign.

The Old Dominion is stuck on using dirty energy from fossil fuels like coal, which desecrates our mountains and pollutes our environment. Virginia lags far behind others in taking advantage of clean energy from wind, solar and efficiency. Consider a couple of facts:

  • Virginia has a potential of at least 42000 megawatts of wind and solar energy. Dominion Virginia Power, which provides two-thirds of the state’s electricity, plans to develop less than 1 percent of that over the next 15 years
  • Virginia is ranked 37th in the nation for energy efficiency.

Our kids deserve better. We all deserve better. The bold campaign that Appalachian Voices and the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition recently launched will insist that the state’s utilities, regulators and lawmakers get serious about clean energy. New Power for the Old Dominion lays out a practical, affordable, and morally-imperative plan for Virginia to get on the 21st century clean energy bandwagon. Now.

If you live in Virginia, I invite you to speak up for our state’s future and sign the pledge for clean energy today. And please consider sharing this with your Virginia friends.

Together, we can bring new power to the Old Dominion.

For Virginia,
Tom


 

 

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