McAuliffe can pave the way for a cleaner future for Virginia

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 | Posted by Cat McCue | No Comments

Terry_McAuliffe_on_June_4,_2011In almost every campaign speech, Terry McAuliffe told the story of how he started a driveway-paving business in his neighborhood when he was 14 to earn money to help pay for his college education. Now Virginia’s 47th governor, McAuliffe should apply these values to his gubernatorial agenda and there’s no better place to start than by investing in a strong clean energy sector for the commonwealth. [ More ]

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on the “Sequel to Citizens United”

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

Us_supreme_court_sealIf you weren’t recently rescued from a deserted island, you’re probably aware that money in politics holds sway over every issue imaginable. So anyone passionate about, well, anything really, should take note of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today on McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case that’s being called “the sequel to Citizens United.” [ More ]

Heroes and Hyperbole: U.S. House Passes Pro-Mountaintop Removal Bill

Monday, March 31st, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments

bS4k69iLast week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to roll back stream protections in an effort to make it easier to dump waste from mountaintop removal mines into Appalachian streams. Given the makeup of the House right now, this comes as no surprise. But there is a silver lining. [ More ]

Pro-Mountaintop Removal Bill Headed to House Floor

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments

congress It’s hard to get a good bill all the way through the legislative process to receive a vote on the House floor. Apparently it’s much easier to get a bad bill that far. H.R. 2824 — pro-mountaintop removal legislation that would weaken protections for Appalachian streams — is expected to head to the House floor for a full vote sometime next week. [ More ]

Virginia Legislature Ends with Modest Progress on Solar

Monday, March 10th, 2014 | Posted by Guest Contributor | No Comments

photo 5Guest post by Virginia writer and lawyer Ivy Main: Advocates of enlightened energy policy march into session every January bright-eyed and optimistic, only to become mired in the slough of despond. We watch the best bills die, while bills we thought too backward to survive the light of day flourish like an invasive species. Yet even in Virginia, the past few years have produced glimmers of hope that suggest a slowly shifting mindset among legislators. [ More ]

The West Virginia Chemical Spill: A Warning for North Carolina

Monday, January 20th, 2014 | Posted by Amy Adams | 1 Comment

WVclosedshop There is a lesson in West Virginia’s water crisis for North Carolina policymakers and regulatory agencies akin to the saying that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If you look at the changes to and by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2013 and the path ahead in 2014, the General Assembly seems resolved to run headlong down a shortsighted path that will lead to the same inevitable consequences. [ More ]

Former Coal Regulator Shows How Little He Knows About Coal Regulation

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 2 Comments

Cramer More than 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams have been buried or poisoned by the valley fills associated with mountaintop removal mining. Yet, despite touting his credentials as a former coal regulator, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) believes that current stream protections are sufficient and dumping mining waste into streams is illegal. [ More ]

McAuliffe Lauds Carbon Capture Technology, But Coal’s Impacts Go Beyond CO2 Pollution

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 | Posted by Hannah Wiegard | 3 Comments

TerryMcblog Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe claims that “we need to build on the assets we have” by using carbon capture technology. But carbon pollution isn’t the only measure of coal’s impact on Virginia. Continuing to mine and burn coal will still cause serious problems: more destructive mountaintop removal, toxic mining waste, air and water pollution from power plants, all while southwestern Virginia continues to feel the worst effects of deferring a cleaner energy future. [ More ]

The Gap Between Environmental Protection and DENR’s Skewed Self-perception

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

Vacant responses to public criticism do nothing to lessen the disappointment of a vocal public demanding a safe environment With the management of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources' penchant for self-praise, the future must seem pretty bright. But beyond the narrative contrived in media releases, public criticism and displays of distrust in the agency’s direction have become commonplace in North Carolina’s largest newspapers and media outlets. And it’s making North Carolina’s environmental community stronger. [ More ]

Tenn. Tuesday – Compromise is Not a Condition

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 | Posted by Brian Sewell | No Comments

The Tea Party measures Senator Lamar Alexander's congressional competence. Or is he being fitted for a hat?

The Tea Party measures Senator Lamar Alexander’s congressional competence. Or is he being fitted for a hat?

We’ll kick off this Tennessee Tuesday post with what seemed like a small story in the big world of Tennessee politics. Last week, the New York Times editorial page blog offered some extra thoughts on a Tea Party letter to Tenn. Senator Lamar Alexander, in which the Tea Party compelled Alexander to retire from office because “our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous.”

Here’s what the NYT had to say in response:

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Tenn Tuesday: More Sun! Less Surface Mining! TVA, Obama Agree on Climate Plan!

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 | Posted by JW Randolph | No Comments

TVA says they are in line with the president’s plan on climate change! National Coal is packing their bags and leaving Tennessee! More solar is on the way! Cleaner air, healthier kids, fewer coal plants? It sure does make sense for Tennessee.

We’re having our Tuesday with a dash of Wednesday today over here at Appalachian Voices’ Tennessee HQ. It’s been a big week in the energy world, with President Obama delivering a much bally-hooed speech about his administration’s plans to address climate change through the remainder of his term, and the U.S. Senate Shaheen-Portman (S 761).

Let’s drive straight over to President Obama’s supposedly historic speech on his administration’s plans to address climate change. You can watch the full speech on, see the nifty infographic they put together here, and read Appalachian Voices’ statement here.

Appalachian Voices Executive Director Tom Cormons said (and I agree, not only ’cause he’s my boss):

President Obama must stop industry from pushing the costs of doing business off on communities and our environment, while doing more to invest in energy efficiency and renewable sources, particularly in Appalachia and other regions that have borne the brunt of a fossil-fuel economy. For example, the administration’s plan to provide up to $250 million in loan guarantees to rural utilities to finance job-creating energy efficiency and renewable energy investments is a great start. Compare this to the $8 billion in the president’s plan for loan guarantees supporting fossil fuel projects, and its clear that we need to see a much stronger commitment.

Two of the key points of criticism from many environmental, health and public interest groups was that the president’s plan — while taking some important steps on emissions from coal-fired power plants — was essentially a green light for natural gas fracking, and didn’t mention mountaintop removal coal mining at all.

In fact, due to the looming speech, and a slowing Chinese economy, coal shares took a giant nosedive at the beginning of the week. Perhaps that’s another reason that we’ve just learned that National Coal — once Tennessee’s largest coal company — will no longer be doing surface mining in Tennessee. Congratulations to our friends at Sierra Club, SOCM, Tennessee Clean Water Network, and Appalachian Mountain Advocates. We will have more on that case on this blog soon.

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June is “Solar Energy Month” in North Carolina

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 | Posted by Chelsey Fisher | No Comments

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory recently deemed June "Solar Energy Month," despite attempts by the General Assembly to repeal the state's renewable portfolio standard.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory recently deemed June “Solar Energy Month,” despite attempts by the General Assembly to repeal the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

On the heels of Republican-led legislative threats to environmental protection and renewable energy in North Carolina, Republican Governor Pat McCrory deemed June “Solar Energy Month” at a solar farm in Wake County on June 4.

This acknowledgment is definitely deserved, considering North Carolina ranked fourth in the nation for new clean energy projects and jobs during the beginning months of 2013. Clean energy has grown tremendously in the state over the past five years and has saved 8.2 million megawatt-hours, according to a study by Research Triangle Institute.

“We think the energy business, alongside with agriculture, will help North Carolina get out of this recession,” McCrory said at the declaration, according to the News & Observer.

Strata Solar CEO Markus Wilhelm, who owns one of the largest solar companies in the country, said to the News & Observer that he considered McCrory to be a “friend” of the solar industry.

Wilhelm also said that the growth in solar power usage in North Carolina is due to the state’s support of renewable energy.

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