Brian is an environmental news junkie concerned with our lagging energy policy and revealing the true cost of coal on our health, the environment and the climate. He is Appalachian Voices' Program and Development Communications Coordinator.
Thursday, May 21st, 2015 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 1 Comment
The disgust with North Carolina Sen. Bob Rucho today is broad and bipartisan. Yesterday in the Senate finance committee, which he chairs, Rucho not only limited debate on provisions of HB332, which would freeze the state's highly successful Renewable Portfolio Standard, he refused to allow an individual tally of votes and declared a failed bill passed. [ More ]
Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments
Duke Energy announced plans today to retire its polluting, uneconomical Asheville coal plant and build a natural gas-fired facility in its place. While the news should be celebrated as progress, it also represents another precarious step along a dangerous road that will prolong our region’s over-reliance on fossil fuels and saddle consumers with long-lived investments in natural gas. [ More ]
Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 1 Comment
Clean Water for North Carolina and three residents of counties where fracking could occur are challenging the authority of the state to preempt local ordinances offering communities greater protections from the practice. Dozens of North Carolina counties and towns have already passed resolutions calling on the General Assembly to hand over control, while others urge lawmakers to reinstate the ban on fracking altogether.
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Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments
Appalachian Voices is committed to creating a forum for citizens' stories and sharing the most up-to-date data available about the ongoing risks the practice poses to Appalachia. Today, we’re sharing a new web tool we developed to reveal how mining continues to encroach on communities and send a resounding message that ending mountaintop removal is a must if we hope to foster economic and environmental health in Appalachia. [ More ]
Thursday, February 26th, 2015 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 1 Comment
Duke Energy likes to use a tagline about how, for more than 100 years, it has provided affordable, reliable electricity to its customers "at the flip of a switch." But a year after the Dan River spill, Duke seems to accept that coal ash pollution has its own chapter in the company’s corporate story. Now, facing federal criminal charges, Duke will pay for its crimes.
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Friday, February 20th, 2015 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 9 Comments
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against Duke Energy for violating the federal Clean Water Act at coal ash sites across North Carolina. The company announced today that it has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors to resolve the charges that includes $102.2 million for fines and mitigation. [ More ]
Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 1 Comment
From The Appalachian Voice Online: As one of the most high-profile and hyped-up projects of its kind, the FutureGen “clean coal” plant in Illinois was supposed make history. So the announcement that the U.S. Department of Energy is backing out of its $1.1 billion funding promise to the project sent a shockwave through the coal sector and investors, energy analysts and environmentalists all took note. [ More ]
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 3 Comments
The Obama administration’s 2016 budget calls for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds to be spent cleaning up abandoned strip mines, and to support economic development and workforce training in mining communities facing layoffs as coal is increasingly outcompeted in America’s energy mix. Read a statement from Appalachian Voices Legislative Associate Thom Kay on the proposals.
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Thursday, January 8th, 2015 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments
From The Appalachian Voice Online: "Secret Wisdom of the Earth," the debut novel by Christopher Scotton released this week, is a coming-of-age story that takes familiar themes — tragedy and the quest to find healing — and explores them with the backdrop of a Central Appalachian community beset by mountaintop removal coal mining. [ More ]
Friday, December 19th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 1 Comment
The day we've been waiting for has finally come. No, not Friday -- the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to release its long-awaited coal ash rule. But, as expected, the EPA's new rule does not go far enough to truly fix the major pollution problems associated with coal ash including contamination of waterways and drinking water supplies.
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Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments
New York’s debate over whether or not to allow fracking came to a close today when Gov. Andrew Cuomo sided with the state’s top public health and environmental officials in calling for a ban on the practice. The announcement was exceptional for the much-needed truth it inserts into the fracking fight that could, just maybe, help other states come to their senses. [ More ]
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments
After a tumultuous two years as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John Skvarla is stepping over to lead the state’s Commerce Department. No word from Gov. Pat McCrory on who will replace Skvarla yet, but here’s to hoping his successor is the environmental leader DENR deserves and North Carolina desperately needs. [ More ]