October 26, 2009 ~ Vol. 1, No. 4
The lifeblood of the Appalachian region lies in its clean mountain streams, which in turn provides the drinking water for millions of people who live downstream. Water is magic. On a hot summer day, my Great Uncle would grab the dipper that hung from a tree by our spring and scoop up a cold drink for me. As a child, my whole face almost fit into the round bowl and would be cooled instantly by the crisp water. These are memories shared by many children of Appalachia.
Unfortunately the memories of water for the children of Prenter Hollow, West Virginia, are likely to be very different. People are literally dying from their drinking water, which should be some of the purest in the U.S. Pollution from pumping coal slurry into abandoned underground mines is causing sickness and even death, as this new three-part TV series shows.
Also threatening our water quality is the unregulated disposal of ash from burning coal for electricity. Appalachian Voices recently released an analysis of data collected by Duke and Progress Energy that indicated coal-ash storage ponds are leaking contaminants into groundwater (see our story below). Everyone has a right to know the extent and level of pollution in their water from the extraction, mining, and burning of coal.
We have to stand up together in the fight for a clean water future because all live downstream. Thanks to you, we have the resources we need to address these and other serious environmental threats to our region.
Watauga Riverkeeper Proves Coal Ash Ponds
Are Contaminating Groundwater
Appalachian Voices' Upper Watauga Riverkeeper Donna Lisenby and Assistant Upper Watauga Riverkeeper Eric Chance revealed through independent analysis that thirteen coal ash ponds in North Carolina have been leaking toxic pollutants into nearby groundwater for years. The pair analyzed data from North Carolina's two power utilities, Duke and Progress Energies, and discovered 681 instances where pollutants such as arsenic, boron, chromium and lead exceeded acceptable groundwater standards (read the complete report). The news follows the EPA's release last June which listed the 44 most high-hazard coal ash impoundments in the nation—12 of which were located in North Carolina alone—as well as a report in late September by 60 Minutes on the toxicity of coal ash.
Appalachian Voices Corrects Confusion in
Misleading "Energy Sprawl" Report
Staff members of the Nature Conservancy released a study warning that policies to promote renewable energy sources could lead to renewable energy "sprawl" impacts. Results from the study suggest that wind energy is eight times more destructive than coal, and media and renewable energy opponents had a field day covering the counter-intuitive findings. Appalachian Voices' Dr. Matt Wasson issued a response showing how the authors conducted an unfair comparison, underestimating the impacts of Appalachian coal mining while exaggerating the impacts of wind power and leaving out any mention of human health impacts related to coal mining and consumption.
Appalachian Voices Hosts Autumn Open House Event
You are cordially invited to attend an open house at the Appalachian Voices main office in Boone, N.C. on Thursday, November 19, 2009 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Come get to know the App Voices team and the work that we do, and enjoy some local entertainment and light refreshments. Our office is located at 191 Howard Street in downtown Boone.
- - - Follow us on