March 23, 2019
For the past three years, Congress has funded several pilot projects for repurposing old coal sites, but the wild variation in quality shows that a strong law is needed to ensure future reclamation projects help community members and not just politicians or powerful lobby interests.
The first coal-mine-to-solar project in Virginia got a boost this month with a federal grant of $500,000 to build a solar energy installation that will power the Mineral Gap Data Center in Wise County. Other projects include a multi-use trail and water infrastructure improvements for families affected by former mining.
A federal bankruptcy judge ruled that Westmoreland Coal Company can back out of its collective bargaining agreements with current workers and retirees, putting pensions and health benefits for thousands of people at risk.
Residents along the paths of major new and proposed interstate fracked-gas pipelines share their stories of legal disputes, safety concerns and damaged property in the current issue of The Appalachian Voice.
Donation-based cafés that offer delicious, healthy food to diners and volunteers regardless of their ability to pay are springing up in towns like Wytheville, Va., and Johnson City, Tenn. “These cafes are what community is supposed to be about,” says Michelle Watts of Open Door Café in Johnson City, Tenn.
Before unsustainable logging in the early 1900s, the red spruce was a dominant tree on most peaks above 4,500 feet in Central and Southern Appalachia. After a dramatic decline, red spruce are now returning to the highlands due to the efforts of some dedicated conservationists.