On October 18, shortly after we go to press, the Clean Water Act will turn 40 years old.
In conjunction with that anniversary, our Red, White & Water team is putting together a report on the successes of the long-standing program, complete with personal stories of residents and communities who have benefited from the protections it affords.
Also included will be an outline of the recent political threats to the legislation’s very existence. Watch the virtual birthday party video and find out how you can join the movement to protect America’s waterways at appvoices.org/clean-water-love/.
Appalachian Voices has had more than our share of passionate and dedicated volunteers over the years, and one person’s energetic devotion shines like a solar-powered LED light bulb. .
Sheila Ostroff, a student at Appalachian State University focusing on Sustainable Development, Appropriate Technology, Communications and Non-Profit Organization Management, has championed Appalachian Voices as a volunteer, intern, unofficial university liaison, cheerleader, and most recently as a paid administrative assistant. She has tabled at events, given guest presentations, and spoken with strangers in coffee shops with a fervent passion to educate people about our mission and encourage them to take action.
Her enthusiasm and commitment to achieving social and environmental justice never ceases to amaze us. Besides her work with Appalachian Voices, she was one of 300 selected from 127 different countries to attend the Oxfam International Youth Project in 2010.
During her time with Appalachian Voices, Sheila took the lead on planning an event for more than 50 children during the 2011 Summer Adventure Camp, and this summer engaged local businesses to display Appalachian Voices brochures and sell the very popular I Heart Mountains bumperstickers.
Our deepest gratitude for everything this amazing young woman has accomplished for us so far. If all the world were filled with environmental advocates like Sheila, there would be no need for environmental advocacy.
Appalachian Voices recently joined with other regional and national organizations to support a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that would open the door to low-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades for residential and commercial customers of rural electric cooperatives. Our technical comments in support of the rule encouraged a focus on tools like on-bill financing, flexibility for borrowers and an increase in the amount of money put towards the program.
Appalachian Voices joined forces with nearly thirty organizations to urge Congress to continue tax incentives for onshore and offshore wind development on the East Coast. Set to expire at the end of this year, the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit both offer financial incentives to companies seeking to develop wind in resource-rich areas. A letter to congressional leadership from the groups — including National Audubon, Oceana, Sierra Club and Physicians for Social Responsibility — noted that the incentives provide an economic boost through job creation and also provide a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels. Congress is scheduled to review the measure when legislators return for their final session in December.
ILoveMountains.org, the Alliance for Appalachia website administered by Appalachian Voices, was recently highlighted as a “recommended teaching tool” in a new book published by the Center for Ecoliteracy. Co-authored with bestselling author Daniel Goleman, Ecoliterate tells the stories of activists, educators and young people from across the nation who are creatively addressing issues related to coal, oil, food and water. THe book provides instruction on how we can advance academic achievement while protecting the natural world on which we depend. iLoveMountains.org’s My Connection tool was highlighted in the book as a useful application to help students understand their personal stake in the seemingly remote issue of mountaintop removal coal mining. For more information visit: ecoliteracy.org.