Issue 4: August 2006

Duke's Bad Energy Idea

This month the Charlotte metro area saw its first Code Red ozone alert of the year. On Code Red days, the simple act of breathing outside puts even healthy adults at risk of damaging their lungs. This red alert presents an opportunity to reflect on how our quality of life depends on decisions made by […]

Huge Energy Resource from Existing Hydro Dams is Untapped

In the 1930s, FDR proposed a New Deal, part of which was the creation of a new South, which harnessed the power of its rivers to usher an era of prosperity along the lines of a power grid expanding at breakneck speed. Yet, in the following world war, it was Appalachia’s coal, not its water, […]

Could wind power replace MTR coal ?

Massey Energy and other coal-based energy companies could increase profits and preserve the Appalachians by choosing not to engage in mountaintop removal (MTR). Instead of flattening a projected 1 million acres over the next decade, energy companies like Massey could instead use the land to develop a local mountain based economy integrating mountain sited wind […]

Marching to Washington for the Kids at Marsh Fork

Ed Wiley is one determined man. On August 2nd, he embarked on a 455 mile walk from Charleston, WV to Washington D.C. to dramatize concerns about the safety of a school located next to a major coal mine. The school, Marsh Fork Elementary, is about 400 yards from a 2.8 billion gallon coal slurry […]

Appalachia's Ten Best Bike Trails

Not so long ago, when the region’s first “rails to trails” projects began, state park rangers were often confronted by angry landowners who feared their property would become worthless. Today, bike trails have become a hallmark of progressive communities like Knoxville, TN, Asheville and Boone NC, and the New River Valley of Virginia. They greatly […]

Virginia program helps land owners restore degraded streams

The health of our nation’s streams is in jeopardy, and the culprits are things we may not even consider detrimental at first. Activities like mowing stream banks and letting cattle walk in a creek can turn these small waterways into little more than drainage ditches. Sedimentation and erosion affect the water quality of the streams […]

The Answer is Blowin' in the Wind

A famous British politician once said that Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing – that is, after we’ve tried everything else. So how many roads do we have to go down before we start to do the right thing? The strongest possible wind power, solar and biomass energy programs are needed. […]

Why I am for Wind Power

We can dismantle wind turbines when better technology comes along, but we can never put back the tops of our mountains, or uncover the streams that have been covered, or unpoison our babies. As far as I know, wind turbines don’t poison unborn children with mercury the way coal does. The air that comes out […]

Tilting at the Appalachian Windmills

With the rising demand for renewable, domestic energy sources and the recent passage of federal tax breaks for renewable energy, windpower has resurfaced as a promising solution to America’s energy problems. The Department of Energy’s goal is that windpower generate 5% of American energy by 2020. In the Western US, windpower is firmly entrenched. […]

Voices on the Wind

Why Not Now? In Kentucky, we trumpet our low-cost electricity, cheapest in the nation, but hardly ever mention that we’re also a leader in wasting electricity. And we sure can’t brag about the quality of our air or the mercury in our lakes. Any sensible energy policy will emphasize conservation and energy alternatives, such as […]

Restoring the Brook Trout

At the dawn of American Civilization, the brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) could be found virtually anywhere in the Appalachians where cold water flowed. The brook trout is the most fragile of the East’s gamefish and it serves as an indicator species for a watershed. Deforestation caused by logging and chestnut blight in the late […]

Former Park Ranger's Book Brings Nature to Life for all Ages

Jennifer Bauer sees the Appalachian Mountains as one of the world’s last true havens of a diverse environment. But the longtime naturalist tags her view with a warning: “The Appalachian Mountains are under great attack as far as atmospheric pollution, such as acid rain.” Growing up in Baltimore, Bauer moved to the southern Appalachians in […]