Front Porch Blog

Updates from Appalachia


Don Blankenship sentence “historic,” but not enough

The coverage of Blankenship’s sentence should shift the public’s focus to the leniency and lacking enforcement of our mine safety laws. Since few observers outside of Blankenship’s defense team and the “Dark Lord of Coal Country” himself would argue the punishment fits his crime, the question then becomes: what punishment would?

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From inside Appalachia, a look at WGN’s “Outsiders”

Exclusive to the Front Porch: WGN’s television series “Outsiders” doesn’t leave a single stereotype of Appalachia unturned. In this essay exclusive to the Front Porch Blog, award-winning author Ron Rash reflects on how stereotypes cloak harms much more profound than cultural misperceptions: “The region is diverse, and many areas are doing well, but for those that are not, might a show focused on “retard hillbilly animals” make it easier for America to ignore the region’s needs?”

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Sleeping giants: TVA and Georgia Power stuck in second gear on energy efficiency

While even the region’s top achievers have room for improvement, some of the largest utilities in the Southeast are seriously falling behind on energy efficiency. In particular, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Georgia Power are two enormously capable utilities that appear to be stuck in second gear.

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Renewing the promise of Appalachia

There’s more than wildflowers budding in Appalachia as spring comes to the mountains this year. We are witnessing the proliferation of efforts big and small to stabilize and revitalize local economies as the coal industry declines. And the conversations continue expanding outward, bringing together an increasingly broad cross-section of residents and stakeholders.

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Dominion open houses bring communities together

A pattern emerged during the recent trio of open house meetings hosted by Dominion on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Churchville, Hot Springs and Snowshoe, Va. Unfortunately, it was a pattern of misleading materials, unhelpful spokespeople and dubious facts.

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