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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kennedy/Blakenship Debate

I was able to secure a ticket to the Kennedy/Blakenship debate that is occurring tomorrow!  Anyone who has been following mountain top removal will understand the importance of this debate.  In the Fayetteville area this is a big buzz and a continued topic of controversy in Appalachian coal country.  From the plateau region you can hear and sometimes feel the mine blasting from mountain top removal.  It is a sad state of affairs for the "Mountain State" which is be labeled as the "Extractive State" by many environmentalist groups.  Here are some of the details of the debate:

The University of Charleston will present a public conversation between Waterkeeper Alliance President and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Massey Energy Chairman and CEO Don Blankenship titled the Forum on the Future of Energy. The event will advance the national discussion about U.S. energy policy and its impact on jobs, the environment, the economy, and national security.

Watch the "Forum on the Future of Energy" live on WOWK, WBOY, WTRF, AND WVNS, or on these websites: www.wowktv.comwww.wboy.com,www.wtrf.comwww.wvnstv.com, and www.wsaz.com.  Listen live on West Virginia Public Radio.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Study on Mountain Top Removal to be published in Science Magazine

 Bombshell study: MTR impacts ‘pervasive and irreversible’

“Mining permits are being issued despite the preponderance of scientific evidence that impacts are pervasive and irreversible and that mitigation cannot compensate for the losses.”

 Photo by Paul Corbit Brown
That quote above is the conclusion of a blockbuster study being published tomorrow by a group of the nation’s top scientists, detailing the incredibly damaging environmental impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining and the failed efforts at reclaiming mined land or mitigating the effects.
Based on a comprehensive analysis of the latest scientific findings, the paper calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Army Corps of Engineers to stay all new mountaintop removal mining permits unless new mining and reclamation techniques “can be subjected to rigorous peer review and shown to remedy these problems.”
According to the paper:
.. Clearly, current attempts to regulate MTM/VF practices are inadequate … Regulators should no longer ignore rigorous science.
A press release explained that:
In their paper, the authors outline severe environmental degradation taking place at mining sites and downstream. The practice destroys extensive tracts of deciduous forests and buries small streams that play essential roles in the overall health of entire watersheds. Waterborne contaminants enter streams that remain below valley fills and can be transported great distances into larger bodies of water.

Read More

Thursday, January 7, 2010

TED and Google

Lately I have been getting excited about renewable energy, and I wanted to share two new resources to track energy consumption: TED (The Energy Detective) and Google PowerMeter.

Google PowerMeter is a free electricity usage monitoring tool that provides you with information on how much energy your home is consuming. Google PowerMeter receives information from utility smart meters (like TED) and in-home energy management devices and visualizes this information for you on iGoogle (your personalized Google homepage). And, Google PowerMeter is free.

TED (The Energy Detective) is a simple, yet extremely accurate, home energy monitor that allows you to see electricity usage in real-time. TED quantifies electricity and displays the results on its easy-to-read LCD screen, and with its two-second reaction time, TED provides immediate feedback on energy usage.

Regardless if you are considering renewable energy options in the future, both of these tools can be very useful for tracking and hopefully changing your energy consumption habits.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Center for Watershed Protection

It continues to snow here in Fayetteville, WV and in the east a low pressure system has stalled out, allowing for cool, Canadian air to flow in.  Much of the east is under a frost advisory/warning until the end of the week.  With all of this weather I have not had the opportunity to capture any new photos, but I have been finding interesting sources of information.  A new website I have found useful in my line of work, is The Center for Watershed Protection.  I have found the Resource section to be extremely useful, not just for protecting water quality, but also for building development.  Under Resource check out the "Better Site Design" section and the wealth of information contained within. Here you will find alternatives to conventional development. Like Low-Impact Development, Environmentally-sensitive design, and Green Infrastructure, the Better Site Design techniques seek to minimize the negative impacts of new development on water resources. You can also find resources related to BSD techniques, development code recommendations, and local incentives to adopt BSD. Recent materials related to the design of redevelopment and infill sites are also available.