May 30, 2015
Our latest project, “Communities At Risk,” combines technology, hard data and story-telling to show how mountaintop removal mining keeps growing closer to people’s homes, even as coal in Appalachia declines. The harm done is all too real — higher cancer and death rates, poverty and population loss. We are stepping up our campaign to compel the Obama administration to end mountaintop removal, now.
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Speak up to help stop fracked-gas pipeline
At rallies and government hearings, online and over the phone, thousands of citizens have voiced their opposition to the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline that would carry natural gas from the fracking fields of West Virginia through Virginia’s mountains and Piedmont, crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail. We need to stop investing billions of dollars in dirty fossil fuels, and instead ramp up clean energy sources like efficiency, solar and wind. The deadline for public comment on the pipeline is June 16. Don’t delay!
The N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources has been sending letters to people living near some of Duke Energy’s coal ash dumps, telling them not to use their water for drinking or cooking due to unacceptably high levels of contaminants including cancer-causing arsenic and chromium. The letters coincided with Duke’s appearance in court May 14 to plead guilty to ash-related violations at several of their plants, including its massive coal ash spill last year into the Dan River.
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The Appalachian Regional Commission is putting together its strategic plan for economic development in the region through 2020, and is seeking public input. This is a critical window of opportunity to say — loud-and-clear — that we want more clean energy options for Central Appalachia, particularly energy efficiency, which is one of the best ways to help lower-income residents in the fastest way possible.
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Across the region, volunteers from all walks of life are recording when the dogwood blooms and when the warblers arrive. These citizen scientists are compiling observations that help researchers monitor subtle changes in seasonal events, and provide the backbone for extensive projects to track climate change.
Matt Wasson, our director of programs, is taking a well-deserved sabbatical this summer, with generous support from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. For 13 years, Matt has been a guiding force in our mission and our success. He’ll be taking this opportunity to explore new areas for personal growth, and, putting his Ph.D. to full use, study more closely the diversity of biological life in his own community in the mountains of western N.C. Enjoy, Matt! We look forward to your return this fall.