August 28, 2019
Citizen scientists discovered that acid mine drainage is causing a creek in Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest to flow a bright orange, and they spurred state regulators to issue citations to the mine operators. But mining company Revelation Energy is in bankruptcy, which leaves big questions about who will clean up the mess — and when.
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An independent report commissioned by Appalachian Voices shows that pipeline developers have failed to provide convincing evidence of a need for MVP Southgate, a 73-mile addition to the fracked-gas Mountain Valley Pipeline slated to extend into central North Carolina. Instead, the pipeline companies provided flimsy assumptions that in some cases contradict trends like growth of gas use and future needs.
Big advancements in solar energy are taking place in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. Eight coal communities recently received national recognition for advancing local solar energy markets, and Wise County was awarded a substantial grant to build an industrial-scale solar project on a former mine site.
Tired of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s frequent rate increases and lack of transparency and clean energy, communities across the region are pushing for change from the monopoly utility.
Old Dominion Power is seeking a massive rate increase, which would skyrocket the region’s electricity burden — adding an average of $29 per month to average residential bills — and also make it more difficult for Southwest Virginia businesses and residents to access solar power.
Ninety-year-old Vesta Jean Lenhart inherited her desire to preserve mountains from the destruction she saw as a child in Eastern Kentucky. “I think what is happening in the country right now is that we’ve kind of lost our way,” she says. “So I hope that I can do my part to preserve [the environment].”