Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

From Southwest Virginia, a path for less pollution

Friday, November 21st, 2014 - posted by cat

{ Editor’s Note }Today’s guest to the Front Porch is Kathy Selvage, a coal miner’s daughter in Southwest Virginia who has been a tireless advocate for environmental and social justice in the region. Kathy serves on the Applachian Voices Board of Directors. This essay originally appeared as an op-ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

kathy

The Environmental Protection Agency recently rolled out its Clean Power Plan, seeking to set limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants — an issue that affects us all. The plan will be finalized next year, leaving ample time for the nation to weigh in.

Many of us in Wise County live in the shadows of two coal-fired power plants — Appalachian Power Company’s plant near Carbo, right on the Clinch River, and one in St. Paul, owned by Dominion Virginia Power. Both plants emit pollution that affects the quality of air that our families, our children and our elderly breathe.

We are Appalachians and both our terrain and our people are among the most unique but under-appreciated on earth. We have powered this nation and driven its industrial development, but we have also sacrificed tremendously for the lights, warmth and comfort of this country, including our own shortened lives.

Carbon and other pollution released by burning coal threaten public health. They lead to higher risks of asthma attacks, premature deaths and thousands of hours of missed work, lessening our economic activity. On the other hand, setting carbon pollution standards is essential for keeping our air more pure, thus protecting public health.

With great challenges come great opportunities. What we’ve learned is that we don’t have to give up good public health to have a strong economy. We deserve, and can have, both.

We can increase our economic activity through investments in clean energy — conservation, energy efficiency, solar and wind. Carbon emissions in the U.S. have decreased in the past decade. We should use this momentum to forge ahead in a field ripe with more innovation to be created and applied.

Conservation is not to be disdained. It is an admirable principle that should be at the forefront of energy evolution. Additionally, energy efficiency measures — using less energy but yielding the same level of power — are the most cost-effective way for Virginians to meet a growing demand. Besides sharing the benefits of conservation, these measures offer the added benefit of creating local jobs.

According to a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, by 2020 the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution limits could create more than 5,600 new jobs, recirculate money within local communities and add $517 million to the pockets of Virginians through savings.

Solar is another job creator, if only we embrace it. Our closest neighboring states are outdoing us in installing solar projects, but we can seize the opportunity to grow that sector, be more competitive, reduce our carbon load and be healthier.

Offshore wind in Virginia is yet another capacity for energy generation that represents great potential. Both wind and solar are far more abundant than other fuel sources and can provide us with clean energy, pollution-free.

We can meet our energy needs without expanding nuclear or over-expanding the use of natural gas. While gas burns cleaner than coal, its use also contributes to climate change, and its extraction can pose serious risks to our health and our water. Far Southwest Virginia already has 8,000 gas wells, mostly in the coal-producing counties, with grossly inadequate oversight.

As citizens of Virginia, surely we are committed to healthy people and a vibrant economy for all, including the far southwestern corner. In recognition of the many sacrifices made by the region, elected representatives should embrace, endorse and advocate for special economic development considerations for Southwest Virginia. This vision should be geared to preventing the “brain drain” responsible for at least part of the declining population here.

And let any investments in our economic development be overseen by a group with a new and different vision, not one that is no longer viable. In times past, we have diversified with seemingly no transparency. This time we must build accountability, audits and tracking of the long-term viability of jobs with complete transparency to the general public. We must begin to rebuild sorely needed public trust.

We can do this! Our air must be cleaner to safeguard our health. The EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan is a giant leap forward. I wholeheartedly support it and encourage others to as well. The plan will help motivate us to find alternate ways to produce all the kilowatts we need, being mindful of those in far Southwest who have sacrificed tremendously for our energy needs. The underappreciated deserve a brighter, healthier day.

Kathy Selvage is the daughter of a coal miner with lifelong residency in a coal-mining community. She sits on the board of Appalachian Voices, an environmental organization whose mission is to unite people in the protection of the land, air and water of central and southern Appalachia.

We won’t stop until we’ve won in Virginia

Friday, November 21st, 2014 - posted by hannah
Virginia Sierra Club

Virginia Sierra Club

As he called the Joint Commerce and Labor Committee to order Wednesday in Richmond, state Sen. John Watkins told the the audience of more than 200 citizens that the purpose of the meeting was to allow legislators to better grasp the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and its likely effects on Virginia’s economy and energy prices.

That is all well and good, but for the fact that the the slate of presenters was stacked by the likes of the industry-biased Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research and coal-heavy electric provider Appalachian Power. Aside from a lone environmental advocate, representatives from the electric utilities and entities friendly to polluters dominated the three-hour hearing, repeating the myths and misinformation that the EPA plan would increase costs for ratepayers and trigger job losses.

But the General Assembly members could not fail to notice just how many Virginians took the time to be there to watch and listen, and how passionately they care about shifting to clean energy. A large group activists and clean energy supporters rallied outside the Capitol to make our voices heard: there is no time to lose for Virginia to harness renewable energy and energy efficiency. They cheered the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution limits as a historic opportunity to adopt the policies that will turn the commonwealth to a cleaner energy future.

Virginia Sierra Club

Virginia Sierra Club

Amid the spirited and diverse groups at the rally were moms and kids having a play-in for the earth, Green Grannies leading the crowd in song, and students who waved model wind turbines aloft in the wintry breeze. The point was clear. Rejecting the biased and flawed assessments that industry presenters made in the committee room, speakers at the rally heralded the benefits to public health and the obligation that Virginia has to be part of climate solutions. These sentiments are reflected in the more than 200,000 petition signatures from Virginians support of strong EPA climate action.

The speakers highlighted how the option to offset power plant emissions with clean sources and efficiency will drive job creation and eliminate the need for new natural gas plants, and stressed that costly nuclear power investments are not needed if Virginia can take advantage of offshore wind and ramp up programs to make homes and businesses energy-efficient. Virginia has enough wind and solar energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes in the next decade — IF the legislature and McAuliffe administration act now and incorporate EPA’s Clean Power Plan as part of a statewide strategy.

Virginia Sierra Club

Virginia Sierra Club

Wednesday’s events brought Virginia activists together around a shared vision of Virginia 15 years in the future that is less reliant on fossil fuels, a vision that the EPA plan can help bring to life. Others voiced concern at the rally that the two large natural gas pipelines proposed for Virginia are not the way to go, given the dangers to clean air and water and the impacts of carbon dioxide and methane on the climate.

Our movement spanning Virginia is strong in its diversity and united by a desire for a clean energy future. Until the EPA’s rule is made final in June of 2015 and far beyond it, we’re fighting for clean power. As we chanted Wednesday at the Capitol, “There’s no stopping us until we’ve won.”

Be cool and keep fighting

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 - posted by thom
After the tumultuous midterm elections, not that much has changed and our job in Washington, D.C., remains much the same.

After the tumultuous midterm elections, not that much has changed and our job in Washington, D.C., remains much the same.

For the next couple of weeks, you’ll have a hard time turning on the TV or going online without seeing reactions to the midterm elections. Most pundits will analyze what happened, and some will try to tell you what it means.

Here’s what it really means: maybe not that much.

To put things in historical perspective, let’s take a moment to look back at some very recent elections and their outcomes.

2008: Democrats take the White House and a supermajority in both the House and Senate! They proceed to pass climate legislation, stop mountaintop removal coal mining, usher in a new age of clean energy take a few moderate steps toward reducing the amount of permits issued for mountaintop removal coal mining.

2010: Republican wave! The GOP takes the House by a wide margin and nearly takes the Senate. They proceed to remove EPA’s ability to regulate carbon pollution and then expedite all mountaintop removal permits create a fuss while federal agencies continue to take moderate steps towards limiting coal pollution.

2012: Democrats keep the White House, and improve their numbers in both the House and Senate! They proceed to make permanent changes to coal mining and coal ash regulations while stopping global warming in its tracks make no headway on coal mining regulations, allow mountaintop removal mines to be permitted, and take only moderate steps on coal ash regulation and carbon emissions.

We don’t know what the future holds, but considering what happened yesterday there are a few things that we can be pretty sure of moving forward.

The politics of Virginia and Tennessee are not much different today than they were yesterday. No major incumbent lost their race, and the election’s outcomes gives us no reason to believe federal office holders from either state will change their behavior going forward. Appalachian Voices, for one, is happy to continue to work with members from both states and both parties.

West Virginia and Kentucky are still in Big Coal’s stranglehold. But like coal itself, the industry’s power is finite. We can’t say how soon the politics of coal will change in Central Appalachia, but we will continue to work with our allies in those states to change the conversation. For now, members of the two states’ delegations will continue to vote the way they have for years.

After 30 years as an advocate for coal miners and the coal industry alike, Rep. Nick Rahall lost to his Republican challenger, Evan Jenkins, in the race for West Virginia’s 3rd district. Rahall was the senior Democratic member and had a firm grasp on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Clean Water Act. His replacement in that role will likely be someone who opposes mountaintop removal coal mining. For that, we can be all be happy.

North Carolina’s Senate election was a bit of a surprise. Though, aside from Democrat Kay Hagan being replaced by Thom Tillis, the rest of delegation is unchanged.

Appalachian Voices has worked hard to build relationships with members of Congress and their staffs in both the House and the Senate. But we have known for a long time that getting comprehensive legislation through Congress is not a good short-term goal.

The White House, on the other hand, is armed with the science and has the legal authority and moral obligation to take on mountaintop removal, coal ash pollution, climate change and other threats. President Obama was never going to be able to rely on Congress to act on those issues. So from that perspective, nothing has changed.

It’s okay to be excited about a candidate you like winning an election. It’s okay to be bummed when a candidate you like loses. But it’s not okay to get so caught up in it all that you forget the big picture.

As we see it, the job before us has not changed. Our responsibilities to Appalachia, and yours, are the same today as they were yesterday and will be tomorrow.

We will keep fighting for a better future for Appalachia, and push every decision-maker, regardless of their political leanings, to stand with us. We will fight to end to mountaintop removal and for a just economic transition away from fossil fuels. We will fight because no one else is going to do it for us, and we will need you there by our side.

Appalachian Power’s solar customers rise and shine for clean energy

Friday, October 24th, 2014 - posted by hannah
Customers of Appalachian Power gather in Lynchburg to learn about their utility's resistance to expanding energy efficiency and investing in solar.

Customers of Appalachian Power gather in Lynchburg to learn about their utility’s resistance to expanding energy efficiency and investing in solar.

Appalachian Power Company must bring large-scale clean energy to our area; that’s the message this week from hundreds of APCo’s Virginia customers.

The company goes before state utility regulators next Tuesday with its long-term plan to meet electricity demand, which includes only the most modest investments in renewable energy sources despite a new rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency intended to spur clean energy development and cut carbon emissions.

No one is more vocal about the need for APCo to invest in solar than those who already have: customers with their own solar arrays. Residents concerned by the utility’s recent proposal to levy a new fee on customers with solar are just part of a larger group of APCo customers demanding their utility stop limiting its proposals for energy efficiency programs and take advantage of the same opportunities to expand residential solar that utilities such as Georgia Power have taken advantage of lately.

At a program co-led by Appalachian Voices in Lynchburg on Thursday, APCo customers examined the utility’s proposed efficiency and clean energy investments and saw just how minimal they are. The risks of dirty energy are clear to Lynchburg residents who saw a train carrying crude oil derail and explode in the heart of the downtown district this past summer, polluting the James River and threatening historic properties.

The large, diverse area of Virginia served by Appalachian Power also is home to several thriving solar companies, and many successful community Solarize initiatives have encouraged more homeowners to go solar. So, increasingly, area residents see purchasing solar as a way get reliable, affordable and pollution-free energy. In other words, it’s money well spent.

Thirty-two solar homeowners sent a collective comment to the State Corporation Commission this week calling for Appalachian Power to build clean energy at the same scale they have built fossil fuel power plants. Those homeowners and other citizens who are following the EPA’s proposed carbon rule believe that their utility is acting unreasonably by not addressing the new limits in its long-term planning.

Following the hottest September on record worldwide and an historic demonstration in New York City, the need for Virginia utilities to shift to energy efficiency and carbon-free sources is now clear, and APCo customers are telling their utility it can make a start, while lowering bills and creating jobs at the same time.

Ecotourism Rises Along with Hope for a Region’s Future

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - posted by Barbara Musumarra

By Dan Radmacher

After enduring generations of the booms and busts of an economy almost entirely dependent on the coal industry, the residents of far southwest Virginia are beginning to take their economic future into their own hands by capitalizing on the mountainous region’s incredible natural beauty to promote ecotourism.

The movement may have begun, oddly enough, with an act of arson.

Built in the 1930s, the High Knob Tower provided spectacular, 360-degree views of five states from the top of a 4,000-foot ridge in Wise County. The High Knob Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest not only includes the tower, but also a four-acre lake, a 50-acre campground and plenty of hiking and biking trails.

Shayne Fields pauses at an overlook above Norton, Va.

During a ride along a new mountain bike trail, Shayne Fields pauses at an overlook above Norton, Va. An avid mountain biker, he sees the creation of new trails as an investment in the city’s future. Photo by Erin Savage.

The tower, rebuilt in the 1970s, was ingrained in the hearts and history of the region’s residents, according to Steve Brooks, former executive director of the Clinch Coalition and a volunteer distributor for The Appalachian Voice.

“Men share stories about proposing to their wives there,” Brooks says. “Families went there for Sunday picnics. It’s just been a place people go.”

After the tower was burned down seven years ago by arsonists, a coalition came together to rebuild the iconic structure. U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher — who would go on to lose his 2010 re-election bid — helped organize the group, which included environmentalists and conservationists as well as coal and utility industry representatives.

Much of that coalition came together to form the High Knob Enhancement Corporation, which worked to raise the money to rebuild the tower and to promote the enhancement and use of High Knob and surrounding areas.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen such a diverse group of people that worked so closely and so well together,” says Rita McReynolds, a former town council member from St. Paul, Va. “What an effort. Everyone pitched in. School kids donated quarters.”

A ribbon-cutting for the $600,000 project was held on Aug. 22. McReynolds says the energy at the event was exhilarating.

“I was amazed at all the people who were asking, ‘What’s next?’ And that’s the question,” McReynolds says. “What can we do to tie in the tower to other things near it and around it? It’s going to be a catalyst for things to come.”

And other things are coming. Norton is developing a series of trails in and around the city, including nearly 20 miles of mountain bike trails at the Flag Rock Recreational Area, a 1,000-acre parcel of land owned by the city.

A rider bikes along the Sugar Maple Trail

A rider balances her bike on a log feature during her first visit to the new Sugar Maple Trail. Photo by Shayne Fields.

“We’re working with the U.S. Forest Service to build a trail from the Norton reservoir and Flag Rock area to the High Knob Tower,” Mark Caruso, a Norton city council member, said in an email.

“From there, hikers, bikers and equestrians can travel from Dungannon to High Knob to Norton or Big Cherry Reservoir and the Devil’s Bathtub Area,” he says. “The Lost Creek Trail will link the city to the Jefferson National Forest.”

Shayne Fields, a member of the Lonesome Pines Bike Club, has been working for the city to design the mountain bike trail system for the Flag Rock Recreation Area.

“I see this as an economic engine for my city,” Fields says. “We’re in the middle of coal country, and we’ve struggled over the years looking for alternatives. We haven’t had much luck with new industries.”

Work on the trails has been boosted in the last year or so by volunteers from local nonprofit organizations Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and Mountain Justice, as well as Job Corps volunteers and even people working off community service sentences. The first trail segment, a 1.82-mile-long novice trail, was dedicated earlier this summer.

The Sugar Maple Trail is three-feet wide and not too steep for beginners. More experienced mountain bikers won’t be left out, though. The system will include both intermediate and expert loops when it is completed.

Fields, a longtime mountain biker, also views the project with an artist’s eye. “Designing a trail that will last is all about water management — getting the water down the hill in ways that won’t erode the trail. This results in very organic shapes,” he says.

“This is a giant step forward for this area,” Fields says. “We’re not known for activism or ecotourism. This is one of our first efforts to use the land for something that’s sustainable.”

Norton council member Mark Caruso agrees about the importance of ecotourism.

“Energy resources will no longer be the go-to industry to bail out communities in economic distress,” he commented. “City council understands that with the proper public resources applied to our natural assets, we can become a destination that will provide tourists with a wide range of activities they will be willing to spend money on.”

The region is spectacular. High Knob is home not just to astonishing views but an incredible array of plants and animals, including the exceptionally rare green salamander and Kirtland’s warbler. The Nature Conservancy calls the region the most biodiverse in the continental United States.

Visitors gather at High Knob Tower

Visitors gather on opening day at the newly rebuilt High Knob Tower. Restoring the southwest Virginia landmark was a collaborative community effort. Photo by Bill Harris, billharr@comcast.net.

Caruso and his wife Carol have so much faith in what the development of High Knob and other tourist resources can do for the local economy, they opened up Pathfinders Outfitters. The shop caters to people coming to enjoy High Knob, seven nearby mountain lakes, two rivers and the many other outdoor attractions.

Caruso said he and his wife want to promote the area’s assets while working to preserve them for future generations.

“I’m looking forward to the day when we have developed an economic balance in our mountains that is diverse, sustainable, smartly maintained, culturally compatible, and provides job opportunities for all who are willing to work,” Caruso says.

The couple has been encouraged by the level of business so far. They are planning to buy more rental boats, expand their shooting sports programs, and introduce wilderness survival and orientation courses.

According to Rita McReynolds, even smaller St. Paul is witnessing an influx of visitors.

“We’re seeing a lot of buzz with people coming into the area from Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama,” she says. “A small lodge, Mountain View Lodge, opened up right here in town, which is something I never thought I’d see.”

McReynolds thinks news reports about the reopening of the High Knob Tower will help even more.

“We’re going to see an explosion of more people coming in,” she says. “That news of the tower was huge. We have wonderful mountains, and we’re becoming a destination.”

Steve Brooks, when director of the Clinch Coalition, helped launch the annual High Knob Naturalist Rally, a daylong event with guided hikes and other activities, now in its eighth year. According to Brooks, there is growing recognition from local politicians and the U.S. Forest Service that tourism has more potential than mining or timbering to improve the local economy.

“Politicians want to bring jobs,” he says. “Tourism seems to be the way to do that now. There’s a lot of public support for a more sustainable approach.”

For a region that has seen more than its share of economic turbulence, hope for a better future seems to have risen from the ashes of High Knob Tower.

“Managed responsibly, we can literally have it all here in our mountains,” Caruso added. “We need to be positive about that possibility.”

Petition Focuses on Va. Regulatory Failures

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - posted by Barbara Musumarra

Appalachian Voices recently joined the Sierra Club, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and Appalachian Mountain Advocates to file a formal petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleging that a Virginia agency had failed to comply with requirements of the Clean Water Act since 2011. The petition focused on the failure of the state’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to properly regulate mountaintop removal coal mining under the law.

Citizens groups in West Virginia and Kentucky filed similar petitions with the EPA regarding lack of enforcement by their state agencies.

“Coal companies have been polluting the communities where they operate for decades,” said Erin Savage, Central Appalachian Campaign Coordinator for Appalachian Voices. “Mining laws meant to protect citizens don’t work unless they are enforced by the states. We need EPA to step in to ensure environmental laws are being enforced in southwest Virginia.”

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Proposal Advances

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - posted by Barbara Musumarra

By Brian Sewell

Duke Energy, Dominion Resources and other partners are teaming up to build a 550-mile pipeline to better access natural gas produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, where fracking has proliferated in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which the companies hope will be in service by 2019, would begin in north-central West Virginia, snake through 10 Virginia Piedmont counties and bisect North Carolina before terminating near the South Carolina border. A lateral extension near the Virginia-North Carolina border would stretch to the coast.

Image Courtesy of Dominion Resources

Image Courtesy of Dominion Resources

If the pipeline is built, Duke’s gas-burning power plants would be the primary customers and capture nearly half of the projected 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas pumped through the pipeline each day.

Dominion Resources shares the majority ownership stake in the pipeline with Duke and will also serve as the lead builder. Dominion began preliminary survey work in May, which created a stir along the proposed route and spawned a movement of concerned landowners and communities months before the plan was officially announced.

In September, a coalition of 22 groups, including the Southern Environmental Law Center and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, emerged as the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance with the sole purpose of raising the alarm about the proposed pipeline. The groups say the planned route puts some of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the eastern U.S. at risk, such as portions of the George Washington and Monongahela national forests.

The companies claim building the pipeline will create construction jobs and spur industrial development. Governors Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, and Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia have all heralded the pipeline’s economic potential.

McAuliffe, who has been outspoken in his support for the pipeline while opposing fracking in Virginia, found himself in an awkward spot at the first meeting of the state’s climate change commission on Sept. 10. Claiming the pipeline has “nothing to do with fracking,” McAuliffe later added, “I do not support fracking as governor of the Commonwealth.”

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline must gain approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and state utility commissions, and there are several opportunities for public input during the process.

Virginia Restoration Reroutes Troubled Water

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - posted by Barbara Musumarra

By Kimber Ray

In Rockbridge County, Va., construction vehicles this August began carving out nearly half a mile of new streambed for the Maury River. Tree plantings to stabilize the soil are scheduled to begin this fall. This will be the largest stream restoration project completed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, which received funding from a federal grant program and a local family farm.

For more than three decades, the Maury River has shifted from its once and future location in reaction to a 1973 dam project. Along the way, the river has claimed more than 15 acres of Echols Farm, depositing massive amounts of sediment into the water and smothering riverbed life. The restored river is expected to improve fish habitat and reduce flooding for miles downstream.

Serving Virginia Parks

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - posted by Barbara Musumarra

By Kimber Ray

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is launching the inaugural year of its Virginia Service and Conservation Corps program. Participants will maintain trails and improve natural habitats at Pocahontas, Leesylvania or Hungry Mother State Park.

Grant funding was provided by AmeriCorps, a national service program with more than 80,000 paid positions. Applications for Virginia’s newest state program will be accepted until Nov. 17 from high school graduates over 17 years old.

To apply to this position or search additional AmeriCorps positions visit americorps.gov

Updates: Stopping the “Tax on the Sun” in Virginia

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - posted by hannah

solar on house

As the comment period concludes on Appalachian Power Company’s proposed solar “stand-by” charge and next week’s formal regulatory hearing nears, we’re at full swing in a major push for solar freedom in Virginia.

Concerned ratepayers from Abingdon to Amherst, Botetourt to Blacksburg, Lynchburg and Floyd and all across the state have called for their power company to work with customer-generators and not to interfere with the free market for residential clean energy. Solar installation professionals, local elected officials, and solar homeowners have lent their voices in hope of denying an unfair and punitive new policy.

In local news sources — print and public radio – and in the blogosphere, the word is out: Virginia’s second-largest utility seeks to impose an unfair new fee on customers with solar arrays on their property over 10 kilowatts. Hundreds of Appalachian Power customers have already told the SCC that this fee punishes those who benefit their communities in so many ways by choosing to invest in clean energy for their homes, and it’s clear how this move by the company threatens to turn good candidates for new installations away from going solar.

To protect affordable clean energy options for customers, there is still time to take action and take this effort through the last mile. Come out and be in the room at the public hearing in Richmond at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 16 at the State Corporation Commission when citizen comments are heard on the utility’s proposal.

Contact me, your local campaigner Hannah Wiegard, at hannah[at]appvoices.org if you’re an ApCo customer and have questions, need a hand crafting testimony, or would like help arranging transportation to the hearing in downtown Richmond on Tuesday, September 16. See you there!