In October 2022, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced a goal of building a new nuclear reactor in Southwest Virginia within the next 10 years, setting off a flurry of excitement among local economic development officials and outrage among local residents who are concerned about the health and safety risks of nuclear power.
Leaders from coal-impacted communities are strongly backing the call from members of Congress for a federal investigation into the full extent of the damage caused by the coal industry’s failure to adequately clean up its mines.
The decline of the coal industry is exacerbating failures of the current federal system to ensure that mines are cleaned up.
Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee released its proposed FY 2024 budget for the Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency. The proposal includes a 10% budget cut to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s operational budget, while also providing a $1 million increase to the budget for the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program.
The federal surface mining agency has proposed a new rule that, if finalized, will restore community members’ ability to ensure coal companies follow the law.
On May 11, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee enacted a significant law that temporarily halts the state’s pursuit of primacy. Primacy refers to a state’s right to petition the federal government to become the primary authority in issuing surface mine permits and implementing associated regulations.
Today, President Joe Biden released his Fiscal Year 2024 budget to fund government programs through September 2024. The budget proposal includes crucial investments in programs to boost economic growth in the coalfields, ensure coal mine reclamation and protect miners from black lung disease.
Explosives and heavy equipment: the perfect combination for mine owners to extract coal from a pristine Appalachian landscape. Too bad this process, known as mountaintop removal mining, is terrible if you live near the mined mountain, or in a watershed downstream, or on a planet faced with the imminent threat of ever-increasing temperatures brought about by greenhouse-gas emissions.
Imagine a landscape that, 10 years ago, was a moonscape mountaintop removal coal mine and is now carefully managed as a large-scale working forest growing trees to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and combat climate change. Appalachian Voices is exploring making this vision a reality in the years to come through a reforestation project that engages with the emerging carbon offset market.
Today, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Appalachian Voices and the Sierra Club announced a settlement with A&G Coal Corporation, owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, to help ensure the reclamation of three large surface coal mines in Wise County, Virginia.