Dear friends and members,
Fighting the bad stuff isn't enough. As Appalachia begins to transition away from destructive sources of energy like mountaintop removal coal, we need to work toward a future where our energy comes from clean sources and Appalachian communities prosper with jobs that respect our natural heritage.
We waste an astonishing amount of electricity in this country. The Southeast has the largest untapped energy-efficiency resource of any region, with 29 percent of the nation's total potential. With homes and businesses that are less energy-efficient than average, the largely rural area of Appalachia holds an abundance of wasted energy.
Consider some of the benefits of energy efficiency. A recent report from the Appalachian Regional Commission found that energy savings programs could create more than 77,000 jobs throughout Appalachia, including energy auditors and weatherization experts. Energy efficiency also saves money for consumers, keeps more money at the local level creating a ripple effect in the economy, and reduces the tremendous environmental harm associated with fossil fuels -- including mountaintop removal.
I am pleased to announce Appalachian Voices' new program, Energy Savings for Appalachia, which aims to tap into this rich potential for improving the quality of life for citizens in the region. To head up the program, we're delighted to welcome Rory McIlmoil, who brings a wealth of experience, insight, and good vibes to this exciting endeavor.
For the mountains,
Appalachians living in areas served by electric cooperatives generally pay higher electric bills than people served by investor-owned utilities -- as much as 26 percent more. Appalachian Voices has launched a new program to help homeowners save hundreds of dollars a year, create local jobs, and reduce the harmful impacts of fossil fuels. [ Meet our new energy policy director and read more about Energy Savings in Appalachia ]
In an important step for Appalachia, state regulators denied a permit for a massive mountaintop removal mine on Ison Rock Ridge in Wise County, Va. The devastation would have covered 1,200 acres and buried more than 2.5 miles of streams. While the coal company has appealed the decision, local residents and their allies are ready to fight on. [ Read the full story ]
Appalachian Voices and The Alliance for Appalachia are expanding our joint efforts to hold big coal companies accountable for polluting Appalachian waterways. The launch of a new website, ACE-Project.org, will provide citizens with a more efficient way to monitor and report pollution in the region. [ Visit the website and learn how to become a citizen water tester ]
Last week, a bi-partisan bill was introduced into Congress that would sharply reduce mountaintop removal coal mining by making it illegal to dump mining waste into valleys and streams. The Clean Water Protection Act (H.R. 1837), started the 113th session with 45 original cosponsors. [ TAKE ACTION: Tell your representative to support this important legislation ]