The Appalachian Advocate - Appalachian Voices' Newsletter

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August 29 in Boone, NC

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July 25, 2009

Thank you for being a member of Appalachian Voices and standing with us to protect the air, waters, and lands of our remarkable and ancient Appalachian Mountains.

Unfortunately, in Appalachia we have already lost over 1200 miles of vibrant streams to mountaintop removal mining and over 1.2 million acres of land that has been obliterated by explosives just to expose thin seams of coal. Millions of trees are routinely burned just to get them out of the way of this highly destructive form of coal mining.

And, although we know burning fossil fuel for electricity is fouling our air and leading to global climate change, new coal-fired power plants are still being constructed. Too often, science is ignored and political power set above the health and future of our communities. Those who richly profit from "business as usual" prefer to continue regardless of the negative future consequences.

With your continued support, Appalachian Voices can continue to move forward for clean air, clean water, and protection of our mountains. If you have not renewed your membership this year, please do so today. We depend on you. And, I hope you enjoy reading more about the impact of your membership below.

Warm Regards,
Willa Mays
Willa Mays
Executive Director

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New windmill in Boone, NCWind in Appalachia

Within view of the Appalachian Voices office in Boone, North Carolina's first industrial-scale wind turbine now steadily turns. We well know that there are no silver bullets, but we are encouraged by the presence of clean, sustainable and locally-generated power with no air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions so close to our base of operations. It's a step in the right direction, especially considering the alternative: continuing to burn mountaintop removal coal for one-third of our state's energy. The status quo is not only unsustainable, but morally untenable as well. However, a bill in the North Carolina Senate is threatening to draw wind development in our region to an abrupt halt. Appalachian Voices disagrees with this move, and thinks we can preserve our environment and develop new, renewable sources of energy at the same time. Read our Op-Ed in the pages of the Raleigh News & Observer, and learn more about both the past and the potential of Appalachian wind in the latest issue of The Appalachian Voice.

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Appalachian Voices Fights For Clean Water

Donna Lisenby, Upper Watauga RiverkeeperDonna Lisenby, Appalachian Voices' Upper Watauga Riverkeeper, continues testing at the site of a dam failure at a coal ash retention pond in Tennessee. The failure resulted in the inundation of a bordering lake and the connecting river with over 1 billion gallons of water and coal ash last December. This work has become even more important in the past month. The EPA released a study late in June, that named the 44 most hazardous coal ash ponds in the nation; twenty-four are in the Southeast with 12 in North Carolina alone. Read what Donna has to say about EPA's high hazard list and what her tests of the TVA spill site mean.

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"They're blowing up our mountains and there ought to be a law."

2008 Lobby Week in WashingtonWhen Appalachian Voices made the decision to launch a national grassroots campaign to end mountaintop removal mining in 2002, we had little more than this simple message and a commitment that we were in it to the end. We didn't really think about the need to build a high-tech communications apparatus like iLoveMountains.org or open an office in Washington, DC. We had a slideshow and a simple plan. The issue of mountaintop removal has grown from a regional problem few Americans had ever heard about, into one of the most high-profile environmental battles in the country.

It is thanks in large part to our donors and supporters across the nation that the Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1310) in the House of Representatives now has a record 155 co-sponsors and that App Voices staff witnessed a Senate committee hearing on the newly introduced Appalachian Restoration Act (S 696) in Washington last month-- the first-ever congressional hearing on this issue! There can be no doubt that we are gaining momentum!

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Residents of Dendron, Virginia, opposing a new coal-fired power plant proposed for their townAppalachian Voices Organizers Ensure
Citizens' Stake in Coal Plant Decision

Appalachian Voices' staff members Mike McCoy and Tom Cormons saw a victory in Dendron, Virginia Monday, July 13 at the town's city council meeting. The small Virginia town is the site of a proposed coal-fired power plant, and though Old Dominion Electric Cooperative executives have attempted to grease the wheels toward its approval, the block-walking and door-knocking efforts of Appalachian Voices and their local partners kept the decision in the hands of actual residents. Read about their victory on our Front Porch Blog.

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