President Obama recently proposed more than $1 billion in funding to restore lands and waters in coal-impacted communities and boost efforts to grow sustainable local economies. It’s a sound idea, and a long time coming, although Congress may not approve it. Meanwhile, Appalachian Voices and others continue working to move the region forward.
Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Justice announced it had reached a plea bargain with Duke Energy on multiple counts of criminal negligence under federal environmental law. Duke agreed to pay $68.2 million in fines -- among the highest ever under the Clean Water Act -- and another $34 million for community service and mitigation in relation to the Dan River coal ash disaster and other pollution.
In John Grisham's best-selling new book and Christopher Scotton's debut novel, the devastation of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia serves not so much as a backdrop, but as a main character shaping human lives and stories. Grisham and Scotton both reached out to Appalachian Voices for their book projects and remain in partnership with us to raise awareness of the ongoing crisis.
Pair a festival that celebrates the beauty and grandeur of Appalachia with an organization that is working to protect it and you have five full days of spreading love for the mountains. FloydFest, a music and arts event held each July in Virginia, has selected Appalachian Voices as the festival's featured nonprofit, and we are working with festival organizers to dream up fun and exciting ways to show attendees how they can help protect the mountains we ALL love.
Energy policy has been a main topic of debate in the Virginia General Assembly this year, which is a good thing. But Appalachian Voices and our allies have been playing a lot of defense, with some degree of success. Our Virginia Campaign Coordinator Hannah Wiegard sums it up.
[ Read more ]
Do you have questions about issues such as coal, fracking and sustainable development? Appalachian Voices is launching a four-part webinar series featuring academics, professionals, local residents and Appalachian Voices staff to shed light on these and other topics. The first one, "Tracking the Impact of Coal: A Threat to Human and Environmental Health," will be held Thursday, Mar. 5, and will include experts on coal mining discussing the lifecycle of coal and examining the true costs on human and environmental health.
[ Register today ]