"When a man blows up a mountain, he exceeds his authority. When a man tries to rebuild a mountain, he exceeds his ability. We have a duty to protect these mountains." -- Tennessee State Senator Eric Stewart
On Mar. 12, Sen. Eric Stewart, sponsor of the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act, delivered a passionate speech condemning mountaintop removal to the state senate assembly.
Stewart’s rousing speech revealed more than mountaintop removal’s devastating impact. It also served as a reminder that, sometimes, our politicians still work for the people.
It can be hard to retain faith in our elected leaders, with government agencies regularly accommodating our nation’s biggest polluters and legislators in states like Virginia handing landowners’ property rights over to Big Coal.
But many citizens haven't given up on our lawmakers. In Tennessee, constituents spoke out, some legislators listened, and the Scenic Vistas Protection Act arrived on the state Senate floor. For the first time, a state where mountaintop removal is taking place considered a vote on a bill to ban the practice.
Thank you for joining your voice with ours. Together, we will be heard.
P.S. We're planning our annual meeting and 15th birthday celebration for June 21 in Charlottesville, Va. -- details coming soon. Mark your calendars and join us!
TN Legislature Weighs Fate of State's Mountains
Appalachian Voices and advocates of the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act are moving a bill to end mountaintop removal through both branches of the state government. The House Environment Subcommittee is expected to vote on the bill March 27, while the bill will reach the state Senate floor for a vote on April 2. Both votes are expected to be very close.
[ Watch State Senator Eric Stewart defend Tennessee's mountains ]
Residents Unite, Speak Out in Hampton Roads
Hundreds of residents turned out at two recent zoning hearings for northern Virginia's largest proposed coal-fired power plant. The vast majority of people who spoke were opposed to the proposal, yet the Dendron Town Council voted, without discussion, to approve local zoning. But such strong and visible citizen resistance is encouraging — of the 160 coal plant proposals beaten in recent years, almost none of them had this level of opposition at this stage of the game.
[ Read about Virginians standing up to Big Coal ]
Go West, Appalachian Treasures!
Appalachian Treasures is hitting the road this month to build the movement against mountaintop removal. So far we've stopped in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Arizona and Las Vegas. This weekend, Beverly Walkup from southern West Virginia will join us in Los Angeles. Stay tuned for presentations in LA, northern California, Reno, Oregon and Washington!
[ Read more about our Western tour ]
A Cook-out to Kick Coal Ash
On March 22, we celebrated World Water Day in Asheville, N.C., at the “Clean Water, Not Coal Ash” cook-out and rally. Appalachian Voices, Western North Carolina Alliance and citizens are telling the EPA and N.C. agencies that “We Can’t Wait” for strong safeguards against toxic coal ash. The byproduct of burning coal contains heavy metals and is a threat to human health and clean water — a resource so important, it gets its own holiday. [ Check out our photo feed from the event and take a stand for clean water by signing our petition to the EPA and N.C. DENR ]