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.

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 ]

Is Obama’s Climate Action Plan on Track?

Friday, July 25th, 2014 | Posted by Jeff Feng | No Comments

Picture-9Since the release of his administration’s Climate Action Plan in June 2013, has Obama made strides in developing a clean energy economy and protecting the environment? Let’s take a look at his five-pronged approach to address climate change. [ More ]

Your comments needed to chart Virginia’s energy future

Friday, June 13th, 2014 | Posted by Hannah Wiegard | 1 Comment

WEFV-SolarVirginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order this month to create an energy council tasked with assisting in the development of a comprehensive energy strategy for Virginia. For those who would like to see robust investment in efficiency and renewables as part of this strategy, the task before us clear: make sure the energy council hears from us at every opportunity. [ More ]

On Capitol Hill, Appalachian citizens make the case against mountaintop removal

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 | Posted by Marissa Wheeler | 2 Comments

IMG_7148Last week, Appalachian Voices and Earthjustice teamed up with a group of Appalachian residents in Washington, D.C., to lobby members of the U.S. House of Representatives to cosponsor the Clean Water Protection Act, and discuss the importance of protecting clean water with the Environmental Protection Agency and Office of Surface Mining. [ More ]

We’re Back: Moral Mondays return to Raleigh

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 | Posted by Roy Blumenfeld | No Comments

WP_20140519_029As the North Carolina General Assembly convenes for the 2014 short session, so too have the Moral Monday protests aimed at holding the legislature accountable for its regressive agenda. Appalachian Voices was in Raleigh this week to take part in the protest and bring attention to the policies putting the environment and our health at risk. [ More ]

Climate Change has “firmly moved into the present”

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 1 Comment

image001Not only is climate change real, it has “firmly moved into the present” and its impacts "are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond." That’s according to the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a report five years in the making that was released today. [ More ]

McAuliffe can pave the way for a cleaner future for Virginia

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 | Posted by Cat McCue | No Comments

Terry_McAuliffe_on_June_4,_2011In almost every campaign speech, Terry McAuliffe told the story of how he started a driveway-paving business in his neighborhood when he was 14 to earn money to help pay for his college education. Now Virginia’s 47th governor, McAuliffe should apply these values to his gubernatorial agenda and there’s no better place to start than by investing in a strong clean energy sector for the commonwealth. [ More ]

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on the “Sequel to Citizens United”

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 1 Comment

Us_supreme_court_sealIf you weren’t recently rescued from a deserted island, you’re probably aware that money in politics holds sway over every issue imaginable. So anyone passionate about, well, anything really, should take note of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today on McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case that’s being called “the sequel to Citizens United.” [ More ]

Heroes and Hyperbole: U.S. House Passes Pro-Mountaintop Removal Bill

Monday, March 31st, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments

bS4k69iLast week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to roll back stream protections in an effort to make it easier to dump waste from mountaintop removal mines into Appalachian streams. Given the makeup of the House right now, this comes as no surprise. But there is a silver lining. [ More ]

Pro-Mountaintop Removal Bill Headed to House Floor

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments

congress It’s hard to get a good bill all the way through the legislative process to receive a vote on the House floor. Apparently it’s much easier to get a bad bill that far. H.R. 2824 — pro-mountaintop removal legislation that would weaken protections for Appalachian streams — is expected to head to the House floor for a full vote sometime next week. [ More ]

Virginia Legislature Ends with Modest Progress on Solar

Monday, March 10th, 2014 | Posted by Guest Contributor | No Comments

photo 5Guest post by Virginia writer and lawyer Ivy Main: Advocates of enlightened energy policy march into session every January bright-eyed and optimistic, only to become mired in the slough of despond. We watch the best bills die, while bills we thought too backward to survive the light of day flourish like an invasive species. Yet even in Virginia, the past few years have produced glimmers of hope that suggest a slowly shifting mindset among legislators. [ More ]


 

 

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