Greetings from the DNC!
We had an absolutely fantastic evening at our “Bourbon, Bluegrass and a Better Future for Appalachia” reception in the heart of the convention area in uptown Charlotte yesterday. A full house joined us to celebrate our work protecting the environment and communities of Appalachia.
Van Jones speaks to a crowd of attendees at the App Voices reception Monday night
Van Jones delivered a powerful testimonial on the theme of “America the beautiful” in calling for an end to mountaintop removal coal mining and preserving the region’s outstanding scenic beauty. Van, a renowned environmental activist and former advisor to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, applauded Appalachian Voices as strong defenders of the basic patriotic principles of ensuring clean air, clean water and justice for all.
We were also delighted to welcome Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), who spoke passionately about the issue: “Mountaintop removal is obscene. It should have no place in America. And it doesn’t make sense economically. We’ve got to end this practice once and for all … and I’m just proud to be associated with all of you.” Cardin is a lead sponsor of the Appalachia Restoration Act, along with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
And our good friend North Carolina Representative Pricey Harrison, (57th District), stopped by and spoke to the hard work of Appalachian Voices defending her home state. Harrison is the first state lawmaker in the country to introduce a bill banning the import of mountaintop removal coal into their state.
Other notables who dropped in for a sip of Southern bourbon and good conversation were former South Carolina Governor Dick Riley and Sierra Club President Allison Chin. Our co-host for the event was Greenpeace; Robert Gardner, a coal campaigner for Greenpeace, introduced Ann League of Tennessee, who related her personal experience with strip mining in that state – the orange-brown water that ran from her faucet and clearcut forests around her home. Ann is here with us as part of App Voices’ DNC team.
Executive Director Willa Mays welcomes Sierra Club President Allison Chin to the App Voices reception
Today, we are covering many exciting panels and events, including the Women’s Caucus and Progress Action Summit (both inside the convention center), as well as a panel on “Building the Future of Energy Efficiency” featuring General (Ret.) Wesley Clark and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and a Charlotte sustainability symposium.
And tonight, our own Matt Wasson, along with Ann League, will be on a panel addressing the various waste issues in America. Matt will talk about the tremendous threat to water quality and public health from dumping coal ash in largely unregulated slurry ponds.