Blog Archives

A Deluge of Dam Removals

A torrent of dam removals have occurred across the country in the past decade, and Appalachia is no exception. We take a look at why some dams stand tall, and others are ready to fall.

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Cooling off in the Devil’s Bathtub

A resident of Big Island, Va., wades into the swimming hole on the Devil’s Fork Trail, which hikers encounter before reaching the Devil’s Bathtub. Photo by Joe Tennis

Hikers flock to the cool swimming spots along the Devil’s Bathtub Trail in southwest Virginia, though the trail can be challenging.

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Train Fire Sparks Evacuations, Water Concerns

A train carrying a carcinogenic chemical derailed near Maryville, Tenn., leading to the evacuation of 5,000 citizens and fish deaths that might be linked to the spill.

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Tennessee Rivers at Risk

By Cody Burchett According to a report released this May by the nonprofit Tennessee Clean Water Network, surface water enforcement actions issued by Tennessee state regulators have dropped 75 percent since 2008. Of the 53 enforcement orders issued last year

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Keep the Clean Water Act going strong

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ended a decade of confusion with the release of a long-awaited Clean Water Rule, which clarifies the scope of waters that are protected under the Clean Water Act. As the EPA pursues updates to the “effluent limitation guidelines,” we hope the Obama administration ready to continue the trend of strengthening and modernizing the Clean Water Act.

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Silas House: A Remembrance of Jean Ritchie

Jean in dulcimer shop “Kindness always lit up the face of Jean Ritchie,” begins this remembrance by author Silas House of the Appalachian folk icon who died yesterday at 92. “She was a source of incredible pride for my people. Everyone I knew loved Jean Ritchie, and they especially loved the way she represented Appalachian people: with generosity and sweetness, yes. But also with defiance and strength.”

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Appalachian Crayfish: Canaries in a Coal Mine

16382866013_a4cd6916dd_zTwo species of crayfish native to Appalachia are in danger of becoming extinct after years of suffering habitat loss and water quality impacts attributable to mountaintop removal coal mining and other industrial activity. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agency is proposing the species be listed as endangered under federal law. Whether or not they are pushed past the point of no return depends largely on the outcome of a recent proposal by the agency to add them to the federal list of endangered species.

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Don’t drink the water

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As part of coal ash law enacted in North Carolina last year, Duke Energy is required to test the well water of residents living within 1000 feet of the massive coal ash ponds that dot the state. Now, the first round of water testing results are coming back, giving residents and regulators a clear picture of just how widespread the problem is.

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Criminal charges filed against Duke Energy

12311876586_dd088acae8_zThe U.S. Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against Duke Energy for violating the federal Clean Water Act at coal ash sites across North Carolina. The company announced today that it has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors to resolve the charges that includes $102.2 million for fines and mitigation.

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Nothing to see here

KY_Cabinet_cartoonThe Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s dismissive attitude toward the severity of mining pollution in the state is unsurprising after citizen cases against one coal company exposed the agency’s utter failure to enforce the Clean Water Act. But the jig is up. The Cabinet should stop trying to cover up its incompetence and actually do its job.

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