Editor’s note: This letter was updated in February from the print version to reflect new developments regarding state water quality standards.
As the year began, the federal government was still partially shut down. But the stalemate didn’t slow the start of state legislative sessions — a potent reminder of the power embedded in our local capitals.
Decisions made by our state legislators have profound influence over our region and our lives. These lawmakers are debating key issues like whether we can put solar panels on our roofs, whether large corporations can seize our land for shareholder profit, and whether our communities can create renewable energy jobs. The ripple effects of these decisions extend way beyond the present to affect the future health of our air, water and fellow citizens.
In just the first weeks of 2019, state senators on a West Virginia committee responded to public pressure by moving forward — despite industry opposition — with updates to water quality standards, though they later reversed course. In Virginia, a bill to expand Dominion Energy’s already-egregious power to seize private land was moving forward — but so too were bills to curtail the utility’s influence and make solar more accessible. And in North Carolina, Appalachian Voices and our partners preemptively warned legislative leaders about an anticipated Duke Energy proposal that would harm ratepayers and stifle future clean energy growth.
With national headlines often taking precedence on screens and airwaves, it can be challenging for the public to stay informed about these vital state-level developments. But the corporations seeking to line their pockets at the expense of our land, water and health are certainly paying attention — and so are we.
Appalachian Voices is collaborating with partners in multiple states to advance clean energy and fair policies. But to counter the powerful influence of monopoly utilities and the fossil fuel lobby, we need you. At the end of the day, our legislators are beholden to us, the voters — but they will not listen to us unless our demands are loud and clear.
This year, we urge you to stand with us in demanding common-sense energy and environmental reforms. Learn about some of the issues state lawmakers are tackling in 2019 here, and visit appvoices.org/state-gov for updates.
For our future,