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, 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 ]
Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has sent the long-awaited Coal Ash Rule to the White House for final review. But until the agency's Dec. 19 deadline, we likely won't know much about how far the final rule will go to protect communities from coal ash pollution. And that's probably just how the White House wants it. [ More ]
Thursday, October 16th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 1 Comment
The North Carolina Utilities Commission (somehow) decided that even though the legislature cut North Carolina’s corporate income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 5 percent last year, Duke Energy and other public utilities can continue charging customers at 6.9 percent and pocket the difference. Meanwhile, for three consecutive quarters, Duke has received a larger rate of return than authorized by state regulators, or in this case, the utilities commission.
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Thursday, October 9th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 6 Comments
An employee of a state-certified company pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the federal Clean Water Act after he faked compliant water quality samples for coal companies between 2008 and 2013. While we’re appalled by this discovery, it is hard to be surprised.
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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 2 Comments
If you find yourself staring at spinning wheels on some of your favorite sites today, take a moment to imagine what an unfair internet would look like. Because if an open Internet is not maintained, the future could hold significant challenges for advocacy groups of all types, independent journalism, entrepreneurs and anyone who uses the web as a resource to learn or communicate about issues close to their heart. [ More ]
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | 1 Comment
However dysfunctional, the North Carolina General Assembly always seems to come together in the end — often in literally the final hours of the legislative session. After a last-minute compromise, the North Carolina legislature passed the coal ash bill on Wednesday, but fell short of promises to protect communities in the wake of the Dan River spill. [ More ]
Thursday, August 7th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments
In recent years, outstanding violations and unpaid fines have weighed down coal companies owned by West Virginia billionaire Jim Justice and burdened the communities where they operate. But rather than paying his debts, Justice just spent $30 million to build a lavish sports complex on the grounds of the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. [ More ]
Friday, July 11th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments
A ruling by U.S. Court of Appeals today is as clear as the science indicting mountaintop removal coal mining, and affirms what advocates working to end the destruction of Appalachian mountains and streams have been saying for years. [ More ]
Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments
The N.C. Senate's coal ash bill would put into law what Duke Energy has already committed to: cleaning up the most high-profile coal ash sites in the state. But in its current form, the proposal gives too much sway to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and a coal ash commission that has yet to be created. [ More ]