The Appalachian Advocate - Appalachian Voices' Newsletter

January 26, 2019

Anatomy of a coal company bankruptcy

Chapter 11 proceedings by one of the oldest coal companies in the United States jeopardizes health benefits for 500 miners and pensions for more than 7,000 former miners in Virginia alone, and sheds light on the continued negative effects of the industry on Appalachia even as a bill moves through Congress that could help.

[ Bracing for fallout from Westmoreland bankruptcy ]
[ Read the history of the Westmoreland Coal Co. ]

Misguided approval of compressor station won't stop residents of Union Hill

In a frustrating move after months of delays, the State Air Pollution Control Board unanimously approved a massive fracked gas compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. But residents in the historic African-American community of Union Hill threatened by the facility have vowed to continue the fight.

[ Learn more about Union Hill's resolve ]
[ Statement about the decision ]

Energy democracy in action

In Appalachia and across the country, people are starting to take charge of their electricity systems by shaking up their electric co-op boards and walking out of power-purchase contracts, effectively demanding more clean energy, affordability, choice and transparency.

[ Read how some communities are creating change ]

Cuts to funding for black lung benefits

Despite significant grassroots pressure, an excise tax that pays into a healthcare and disability fund for miners with black lung was slashed in half. The lack of action by Congress amounts to a tax break for coal companies while putting benefits for former miners and their families at risk.

[ Read more ]

Lichen: The story of a soil-maker

Wander any ridge in Appalachia and you’re sure to come across some of the world’s 20,000 species of lichen. A symbiotic combination of fungi and algae, lichen plays a key role in creating soil and can also serve as an indicator of air quality.

[ Read more in The Appalachian Voice ]
[ Subscribe to The Appalachian Voice ]

Broken promises along the Mountain Valley Pipeline

A field in Wayside, W.Va., that serves as a grazing pasture for rescued horses is being bisected by the Mountain Valley Pipeline. According to horse rescuer Arietta Ann DuPre, one by one the promises the company made to protect the land and animals during construction are being destroyed just as surely as the property.

[ Read Arietta's guest blog ]


Join us this year as we work to bring energy democracy to all communities and residents in our region.

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Virginia Forest Health Conference
Jan. 28: Network with professionals and learn about forest ecology of the mid-Atlantic. Blacksburg, Va.

Final N.C. Coal Ash Public Meeting
Jan. 29: Tell the NCDEQ that cap-in-place is not an option for impacted communities! Belmont, N.C.

Virginia Conservation Lobby Day
Jan. 30: Join 100-plus environmental organizations to make sure lawmakers support strong conservation policy! Richmond, Va.

Wintergreen Hike
Feb. 2: Learn about evergreen plants along the Hemlock Nature Trail in South Mountains State Park. Connelly Springs, N.C.

Info session on Duke’s Coal Ash Closure Plans
Feb. 2: Hosted by Residents for Coal Ash Cleanup, groups including Appalachian Voices present on the closure plans and answer questions from the community. Walnut Cove, N.C.

Repower REC Community Forum
Feb. 2: Member-owners of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative can learn how to bring transparency to your co-op! Madison, Va.

Winter Wildlands Backcountry Film Festival
Feb. 7: View some of 2018’s most exciting winter sports films and bid on items from local businesses. Davis, W.Va.

12th Annual Winter Roan Naturalists’ Rally
Feb. 9: Celebrate the winter beauty of the Roan Highlands. Roan Mountain, Tenn.

Sequatchie Cave Winter Cleanup
Feb. 16: Join volunteers to clean up trash and look for endangered species. Sequatchie, Tenn.

Full Moon Hike
Feb. 18: Hike in Greenbrier River Trail State Park and enjoy the beauty of the moon. Cass, W.Va.

Day of Advocacy for Environmental Educators
Feb. 20: Reiterate the importance of environmental education to Congress! Washington, D.C.

Seed Swap
Feb. 23: Visit the Pine Mountain Settlement School for its annual seed swap. Bledsoe, Ky.

Kentucky Solar Lobby Day
Feb. 28: Meet at the state capitol to tell legislators to make solar a priority! Frankfort, Ky.

Environmental Calendar of Events
[ Full calendar ]

Vol. 11, No. 1


Boone, N.C. • Charlottesville, Va. Appalachian Voices Raleigh, N.C. • Knoxville, Tenn.