Drought in central Virginia.
Photo credit: Taber Andrew Bain
Is anyone out there understanding what a serious disconnect we have with our politicians and business leaders?
Fifty-five percent of the continental United States is under moderate to extreme drought, according to the government.
We are experiencing extreme weather across the country and Americans are waking up. As early as this April, the Christian Science Monitor reported that “a majority of Americans believe that weather in the United States is getting worse, and they are linking it to global warming."
Yet our current House of Representatives voted against the environment 247 times in the last 18 months. Why? Because those with a vested interest in fossil fuels have made it a partisan issue, and because some lawmakers’ loud and reckless insistence that government shouldn’t regulate industry drowns out science and citizen voices — even though industry has demonstrated that they generally have no concern for anything beyond their bottom line.
I’m amazed that videos of the coal industry literally blowing up mountains for profit have yet to ignite a national movement that stirs our political leadership to action. Are we so desensitized to the suffering of our neighbors and the destruction of our planet that good people have given up?
I still believe we can win, but we have to get serious. We have to stay vigilant. And we can’t back down. Are you with us?
For the air, for the water, and for the mountains,
We were honored recently to share an evening of spirited songs and passionate speeches with hundreds of members at our 15th anniversary celebration in Charlottesville, Va. Jeff Goodell, Kathy Mattea, Michael Johnathon and others at our Artists for Appalachia event joined with generous sponsors to make the evening one we won’t soon forget. We’re completely re-energized and looking forward to another 15 years of protecting our treasured region. And you should see the pics!
[ If you missed the event or want to relive the revelry, check out audio and photos here. ]
Despite aggressive attempts by the 112th Congress to roll back environmental protections, two major threats to clean water and air were defeated at the end of June. Sen. Inhofe’s resolution to block the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard was defeated by a slim majority of senators who voted to uphold the air pollution rule. And thanks to grassroots pressure, Rep. McKinley’s dangerous amendment to the transportation bill — which would have prevented the EPA from issuing strong rules about toxic coal ash, the nation’s second-largest waste stream — was successfully blocked!
[ We won these battles, now help us win the war. ]
Dominion Virginia Power’s Wise County coal-fired power plant went online this month, despite resistance from over 40,000 Virginians. Dominion brags about how “clean” the plant is, but it’s worth remembering that legal arguments on behalf of the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition are responsible for the plant’s relatively strict air pollution permits which still allow the plant to release greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of a million cars — each year. And of course air pollution limits can’t replace mountains destroyed for fuel or prevent mercury from entering Virginia’s waters.
[ Read more here ]
In the latest example of the coal industry’s efforts to manufacture public support, an industry group in favor of labeling coal ash as non-hazardous was caught apparently forging signatures in a petition delivered to the White House. An Environmental Integrity Project investigation into the document revealed pages of signatures in Mandarin characters claiming to be from Aurora, Colo. Some of the better names included Most Handsome Guy, Small Steamed Bun, Big Steamed Bun, and Come to China Cat. [ Watch a clip from the Rachel Maddow show and get the scoop on coal ash news. ]