The Appalachian Advocate - Appalachian Voices' Newsletter

Electricity costs tied to poverty in the South
America has made much progress in the 50 years since President Johnson declared a "war on poverty." But too many Appalachian counties remain among the poorest in the U.S. The reasons are many and complex, but the ravages of coal mining and a higher burden of electricity costs in the region are part of the problem. A "war on wasted energy" would go far to address the issue.

[ Read about our new report and Google map launch ]

Erin Savage sampling water for testing at the Fields Creek slurry spillPatriot Co.'s Slurry Spill in WV Violated the Law

Results from water samples we took from the Patriot Coal Co. slurry spill last month reveal violations of the company's water pollution permit, as well as arsenic and lead above drinking water standards. We also found MCHM, the notorious licorice-smelling chemical that poisoned the tap water of 300,000 West Virginians earlier this year. Joined by Coal River Mountain Watch, we sent a letter to the state Dept. of Environmental Protection calling on the agency to take strong action.

[ Press release and letter to DEP ]
[ Water pollution spill in your community? ]

Citizens deliver 9000 petition signatures asking Duke to clean up the coal ash spillThe Duke and DENR Coal Ash Debacle
in North Carolina Deepens

A federal judge ruled that the state Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources does, in fact, have the authority to compel Duke Energy to clean up its coal ash pits in North Carolina. Internal emails obtained by The Associated Press suggest collusion between DENR and Duke. Meanwhile, Appalachian Voices and other groups keep the pressure on both company and agency to clean up the Dan River spill and all other coal ash sites.

[ Visit our Dan River page for the latest news ]

EPA Leverages Historic Fine Against Alpha Coal Company

An Alpha Coal mountaintop removal coal mineAfter dozens of citizen lawsuits over the years aimed at the water pollution from  mountaintop removal mining company Alpha Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined the company $27.5 million for violations of the Clean Water Act, and another $200 million to clean up water pollution. That's all well and good, but the EPA needs to do much more to stop this type of pollution from happening in the first place.

[ Read the details ]
[ Take Action: Demand stronger stream protections against mountaintop removal ]

Volunteers Build Energy Efficient Habitat for Humanity Homes in the Blue Ridge

Aware that high energy costs burden struggling families, a North Carolina Habitat for Humanity chapter is building a community of energy-efficient homes, relying on locally sourced materials and spirited volunteers and residents. New homeowner Melissa Finger's teen sons enjoy volunteering at the site. "We have a single wide trailer that's freezing cold and our power bills are outrageous, so we're super excited," she said before moving in.

[ Read Melissa's story in the latest issue of The Voice ]



Support our water watch teamDue to the unprecedented coal-related spills this year, we have used up our entire annual water-testing budget in only two months. Please help us raise at least $10,000 to continue our testing in West Virginia and North Carolina and protect citizens' rights to clean drinking water and clean rivers.

[ Donate today ]

Meet Pat Holmes
A love of mountain creeks helped inspire Dr. Pat Holmes to join AV's board of directors.
[ Read more about Pat ]



Moral Monday Town Hall Event: Dan River
March 17, 6-7:30 pm: NAACP, App Voices and partners host a Town Hall event to hear your concerns about coal ash pollution and environmental justice. Eden, N.C. Email Kara for more info:
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Community Picnic
on the Dan River

March 22, 1:30 p.m.: Join App Voices and partners to discuss Dan River clean-up and keeping your water safe. Island Ford Landing on the Smith Greenway, Meadow Road, Eden N.C. Email Kara for details:
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Think Spring Benefit for Appalachian Voices
March 29, 7-11 pm: Coalition for Justice hosts a dance with music, appetizers, desserts and cash bar. Guest RYZ plays Americana tunes. $5. Blacksburg, Va. Email Kara to register:
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Bring Clean Energy to the Commonwealth
Learn more about how you can join the new campaign to bring clean energy to Virginia! Free.
April 2: Blacksburg, Va.
April 8: Front Royal, Va.
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25th Annual River Rescue
April 5, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Attend Ijams Nature Center's river and creek cleanup covering more than 50 miles of local waterways. Free. Knoxville, Tenn. Contact Sarah at

Environmental Calendar of Events
Check out our full calendar of environmental goings-on!

March 15, 2014 ~ Vol. 6, No. 3


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