The Front Porch Blog, with Updates from AppalachiaThe Front Porch Blog, with Updates from Appalachia



All the ways this White House props up coal

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 2 Comments

The coal lobby’s influence over the White House is a given at this point — as is the White House’s willingness to put its finger on the scale in favor of our dirtiest, most carbon-packed energy sources. [ More ]

Senate confirms Scott Pruitt to lead EPA

Friday, February 17th, 2017 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

As expected, the Senate has confirmed former Oklahoma attorney general and walking conflict of interest Scott Pruitt to be the next administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If President Trump still plans to cripple the EPA, as he repeatedly promised during his campaign, the man to lead that effort begins work on Monday. [ More ]

Congress takes aim at stream protections

Friday, January 13th, 2017 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

In December, the Obama administration released the final Stream Protection Rule knowing it would be a likely top target for the incoming Republican-controlled Congress. And it is, indeed, in the crosshairs -- but members of Congress should understand they’re gambling with Appalachia’s health and economic future, all for a risky bet on coal’s unlikely comeback. [ More ]

Gov. Cooper nominates new environmental secretary

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

Gov. Roy Cooper has appointed Michael Regan as the next secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. Regan pledged to develop greater transparency at the agency. That alone could signal a shift from the prior DEQ leadership’s approach to public engagement on environmental issues. [ More ]

Trouble is afoot in NC special session

Thursday, December 15th, 2016 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

After days of deflecting questions and refusing to explain their priorities for the “emergency session,” Republicans introduced a slew of bills that would make sweeping changes and dramatically shift the balance of power away from the governor. Take action to stop this blatant abuse of power. [ More ]

Duke Energy’s empire grows with natural gas

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

Duke Energy’s purchase of Piedmont Natural Gas was finalized this week after North Carolina utility regulators signed off on the deal. The acquisition is only the latest development in a regionwide push to expand natural gas investments and infrastructure that foreshadows an energy future experts are urging us to avoid. [ More ]

Rebukes, a resignation and more reasons to worry about coal ash in NC

Thursday, August 11th, 2016 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

Where does the war of words over coal ash health advisories leave North Carolinians with contaminated drinking water? Exactly where they were before: as distrustful of DEQ and DHHS as they are of their water’s safety. But in the battle between state employees and the McCrory administration, residents are clear on who they trust. [ More ]

An open letter to the North Carolina General Assembly

Monday, June 27th, 2016 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

In an open letter addressed to North Carolina lawmakers by the Alliance of Carolinians Together (ACT) Against Coal Ash, citizens threatened by coal ash pollution call on decision makers to take urgent action to ensure coal ash is cleaned up and impacted communities have access to clean water. [ More ]

Peabody Energy joins coal bankruptcy club

Thursday, April 14th, 2016 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

While the company no longer operates in Central Appalachia, the story of Peabody Energy’s downfall is similar to those of major producers in the region, where coal mining communities have plenty of first-hand experience with what happens next. [ More ]

Don Blankenship sentence “historic,” but not enough

Friday, April 8th, 2016 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

The coverage of Blankenship’s sentence should shift the public’s focus to the leniency and lacking enforcement of our mine safety laws. Since few observers outside of Blankenship’s defense team and the “Dark Lord of Coal Country” himself would argue the punishment fits his crime, the question then becomes: what punishment would? [ More ]

DEQ’s “Do Not Drink” reversal elevates coal ash concerns

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 3 Comments

State officials in North Carolina owe citizens an apology and an explanation. The state Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Health and Human Services are walking back their own recommendations that families living near coal ash ponds not drink or cook using well water containing levels of toxic substances that exceed their own standards. [ More ]

Responding to “Appalachia’s Distress”

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 2 Comments

Over the weekend, a letter by our Executive Director Tom Cormons to the editors of The New York Times appeared on the newspaper’s website. It was penned in part to stress the importance of the Stream Protection Rule and to urge federal regulators to stand firm in the face of industry opposition, and finalize it. [ More ]