Last month, I told you about the path that led me to Appalachian Voices and the things that inform my vision for the work ahead: a deep connection to the mountains, a bond with folks who share this affinity, and fatherhood.
I believe that the work we're doing together stems from our love of place and our connection to each other. Your support has allowed us to develop a winning combination of organizing, legislative and legal strategies.
Last year, for instance, our collective victory against the largest-ever proposed coal plant in Virginia allowed us to shift more of our efforts to promoting clean energy alternatives in the commonwealth. Likewise, after uncovering a widespread pattern of corruption that led to the highest fines ever levied against a coal company in Kentucky, we're more focused than ever on giving citizens from the West Virginia coalfields to the North Carolina Piedmont the tools to be effective guardians of their waterways and advocates for clean water laws.
Looking ahead, we are excited to launch a program this spring aimed at helping rural Appalachian electric co-ops and their members make major investments in energy efficiency.
This is an exciting point in history, with growing awareness of the impacts of irresponsible coal use, clean energy sources emerging as viable alternatives, and a White House that is on record as committed to moving the nation toward a sustainable energy future. This historic shift is taking place across America, but in Appalachia, everything is at stake.
By keeping the pressure on at all levels, we can transform the ways we produce and use energy — protecting our communities, preserving our natural heritage, and revitalizing the economy. Thank you for standing with Appalachian Voices in this effort. Without you, none of this would be possible.
Cheers to our continued work together,
Due to popular demand, the U.S. Senate kept dirty water amendments out of the budget, and North Carolina sued Progress Energy to keep thallium, a heavy metal found in coal ash that was once used as rat poison, out of the French Broad River.
[ Find out how good Americans like you kept dirty water amendments out of the budget ]
World Watches as Tenn. Legislators Dodge Vote on Mountaintop Removal
Although a bill to protect Tennessee's mountains received broad citizen and political support, not to mention media attention from around the world, state legislators chose to deny public testimony on the measure and instead let it die without a vote. [ Read the unheard testimony and follow links to international press ]
Reports Show Appalachian Coal Regions Worst for Health and Happiness in U.S.
The latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report was released last week, showing once again that some of the least healthy and happy Americans live in the coal-bearing states of West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. And yet another study linking mountaintop removal and poor health in Appalachia was met with the familiar outright denial of those supporting the destructive practice. [Read 'em and weep: Gallup Well-Being report • Michael Hendryx report]
App Voices on the Scene:
Coal Ash and Community Building
Recent outings by Appalachian Voices staff and volunteers led us to a North Carolina man who refuses to drink his well water due to the possibility of coal ash pollution and college students at Mountain Justice Spring Break ready to make a difference in the fight against mountaintop removal. Read our first person accounts about these two exchanges with communities in Appalachia:
[ Canvassing Against Coal Ash • A Week of Education and Action ]