June 25, 2015
Appalachian Voices joined with numerous others this month in asking Blue Ridge Electric co-op to help its members save money and make their homes healthier and more comfortable by financing energy efficiency improvements. At the co-op's annual meeting, CEO Doug Johnson said his team is considering offering debt-free financing for things like home weatherization.
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Coal-fired power plants are responsible fo more than 60% of heavy metals like arsenic and mercury that are dumped into America's streams, rivers and lakes every year. The last time the rules for this wastewater were changed, "Back to the Future" hit movie theaters, Nintendo arrived in the U.S., and Ronald Reagan was inaugurated for his 2nd term. It's high time we updated our clean water rules.
Duke Energy is patting itself on the back, touting its plans to expand coal ash cleanup efforts in North Carolina to three more sites. But the bulk of coal ash in the state — more than 70 million tons of it — still remains largely unaddressed and continues to pose significant threats to drinking water and nearby communities. Is Duke really the "good neighbor" it claims to be?
[ Read our take ]
The Pope's historic message on climate
"...For human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth's waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins." Thus spake Pope Francis on June 19 in the Vatican's first encyclical on the environment. And it's a doozy.
This issue of The Appalachian Voice highlights some of the many efforts by communities and citizens groups to tackle the problems of our time. New rural clinics are helping miners with black lung improve their quality of life, veterans are finding solace by working the soil, schools are switching to solar power, scientists are making progress in the fight to save bats from white-nose syndrome and more.
Join our upcoming webinar, "Natural Gas in Appalachia: Community, Health and Environmental Impacts," on Wednesday, July 1 at 2 p.m., to learn more about the concerns related to the region's ongoing shale fracking boom. We'll take a look at everything from drilling to pipelines with a panel of expert organizers from West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina who are working to protect local communities.