Big Polluter Politics at Their Worst in Virginia

Sierra Club Compass

Virginia Attorney General and Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli. There are plenty of examples of politicians across the country doing or saying anything to push the agenda of their big polluting buddies, but rarely has the evidence been so clear and so outrageous as with what is happening in Virginia. In Virginia, the Gas and Oil Act lets natural gas companies extract methane gas without landowners’ permission as long as they pay for what they take.

A Haunting at Virginia Coast Reserve?

Conservancy Talk

The Nature Conservancy’s Brownsville Farm is situated about two miles east of the whistle-stop town of Nassawadox, Virginia, on a finger of high ground surrounded by miles of salt marsh. Bowdoin “Bo” Lusk, a Conservancy coastal scientist who would be my guide for the next few days as I reported on the Virginia Coast Reserve for Nature Conservancy , was waiting for me in his work truck.


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The News Just Keeps Getting Worse for West Virginia (and It Doesn't Stop There)

Sierra Club Compass

Earlier this week, my West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said the following about whether people should be drinking the water in Charleston and downstream: "It's your decision.I'm And it gets worse -- how about this article featuring a former WV coal miner, Joe Stanley, who says : "I watched the coal industry poison our water for years. Beyond West Virginia, need another example of how close to home this contamination can be?

Strong Grassroots Activism Helps Defeat Mountaintop Removal Scheme in Virginia

Sierra Club Compass

Last week, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) upheld an earlier decision to deny a permit for a mountaintop-removal mine on Ison Rock Ridge in Wise County in southwest Virginia after an appeal by the A&G Coal Corporation. During the permitting process, the company was asked to resolve at least four outstanding mine permit violations in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. "Coal

Dominion, Dump ALEC! Sierra Club Virginia Leads Rally for Climate and Democracy

Sierra Club Compass

Oceana volunteer Priscilla Lin and Sierra Club Virginia Chapter director Glen Besa in front of ALEC headquarters. On a sunny, hot September afternoon, 80 protesters turned out alongside a busy highway at the Arlington, Virginia headquarters of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Richmond-based Dominion, a Fortune-300 company, owns Virginia’s largest electric utility, as well as a huge multi-state natural gas storage and pipeline business.

One Volunteer's Story of the West Virginia Elk River Chemical Spill

Sierra Club Compass

Running alongside the Little Coal River in Boone County, West Virginia is the sleepy town of Van. While state and federal agencies have focused on getting water to the big towns in the region, like Charleston, only dedicated volunteers have made the journey to Van, and innumerable other places like it in the sparsely populated valleys and hollows that make up much of the region left without running water by the Freedom Industries chemical spill.

A cow truck overturned in Virginia, and folks were concerned about traffic


Tuesday, in Frederick County, Virginia, a tractor trailer carrying livestock overturned on the highway , killing six cattle. Corinne Geller of the Virginia State Police told CBS affiliate WTVR, “The truck was loaded with cattle, which have broken free of the trailer and are wandering around the interstate. In Virginia, cow, chicken, and pig trucks are common road-mates on any trip.

I assume that Representative David Brat (R-7th Virginia) will now recuse himself from all discussions of economic policy seeing as he holds a PhD in economics and therefore is unqualified to comment on his own work*

Environmental Economics

1422 , which passed 229-191 , would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations. Michael Burgess, R-Texas,  argued that the board’s current structure is problematic because it  “excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups.”

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Marine Restoration Week: The Future of Sea Grass & Shellfish Restoration Science

Nature Conservancy - Science

Bo Lusk collects eelgrass shoots during a seagrass restoration project in the South Bay of the Virginia Coast Reserve. Eelgrass and excess nitrogen : We’re fortunate in how much science we do have that’s allowed us here in the Virginia Coast Reserve to make this the largest sea grass-restoration project in the world. Eelgrass is tremendously beneficial for not just commercial fishing industries, for our blue crab harvest, but also for our recreational fishing industry.

BREAKING NEWS: Oil Train Derails, Catches Fire in Virginia

Sightline Daily

Word is that a crude oil-bearing train derailed in downtown Lynchberg, Virginia and caught fire. Things to remember: The industry has no plans to remove any of the unsafe tank cars from service. Photos and preliminary coverage here. Additional coverage here. There’s particularly good coverage on Huffington Post , here. Watch local TV news coverage live here. The accident occurred very near downtown, but so far there are no official reports of injuries or death.

Oil Trains: The Industry Speaks for Itself

Sightline Daily

A year and a half after an oil train inferno ended 47 lives in Lac-Megantic, Quebec , the crude-by-rail industry rolls on, virtually unimpeded. It’s hard not to feel horrified when, one after another, we register the place names of oil train explosions— Aliceville, Alabama ; Casselton, View Post North Dakota; Lynchburg, Virginia —as grim warnings of what could happen in so many other North American communities.

Research: Can Restoring Oyster Reefs Combat Nitrogen Pollution?

Nature Conservancy - Science

This question is being answered by research conducted at the Conservancy’s Virginia Coast Reserve. A team of scientists is investigating those questions at the Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Coast Reserve — fittingly, just offshore from Oyster, Virginia — developing crucial data on just how much nitrogen oyster reefs can take out of the water. When people say a town is built on some industry or resource, they almost always mean it figuratively.

New Poll, Rally Show WV, NC and Beyond are Fed Up With Coal Industry's Pollution

Sierra Club Compass

West Virginians hold the coal industry responsible for air and water contamination in the state, and they are tired of the stranglehold they believe the industry''s lobbyists have on state politics. That''s just one of many powerful findings of a new poll out today about the aftermath of the January coal chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia. 3) Two out of every three West Virginians support political candidates who are independent of the coal industry.

Hell on rails: West Virginia burning after crude oil train derailment

Green Blog

The fires from Monday''s derailment of a train carrying crude oil in Fayette County, West Virginia, continued to burn Tuesday morning, and emergency shelters for hundreds of people who had to evacuate after the derailment remain open. "A A CSX train, hauling 107 tank car loads of Bakken Shale crude oil from North Dakota to a transportation terminal in Yorktown, Virginia, derailed in Adena Village near Mount Carbon and Deepwater West Virginia about 1:30 p.m.

State Of Virginia Looking To Be First In U.S. Offshore Wind Energy

Eco Friendly Daily

However, the state of Virginia is looking to claim the title of first to install an offshore wind turbine in general. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission recently approved the building of a single turbine in Chesapeake Bay. Bull, stated: “Virginia has made this a very streamlined, very favorable permitting process to get things proposed built. If all goes as planned, this one turbine could be a harbinger for a whole new clean-energy industry in Virginia.”.

Health-conscious travelers near half of U.S. market

Green Traveler Guides

Already a $439 billion market, the wellness travel industry is expected to grow another 50 percent through 2017, according to the Global Wellness Tourism Congress. | Green Travel News | Health-conscious travelers now make up more than 40 percent of the U.S. travel marketplace and that number is trending upward—fast. Meanwhile, hotels and resorts are […] Health-conscious travelers near half of U.S. market is a post from: Green Traveler Guides.

CHART: Which Kills More Birds, Cats or Turbines? | Mother Jones

Mother Jones

29, 2013 2:34 PM PST Tweet Malingering/Flickr; vaxomatic/Flickr Last month Fox News reported on the "grizzly deaths" of 500 songbirds in West Virginia. has not prosecuted a single case against the wind industry," the Fox reporter laments. An attorney that is straightforward and dedicated with 34 years of experience in the industry. Skip to Navigation. Skip to Content. Mother Jones. Politics. Environment. Culture. Photo Essays. Blogs Political MoJo. Kevin Drum.

Google Invests in $5 Billion East Coast Wind Project

Wind Power Ninja

million homes across Virginia, New York and New Jersey. Government / Industry google east coast wind google windGoogle is planning to invest in a transmission network project that will be able to harvest electricity from wind farms off the Mid-Atlantic coast and power 1.9 Google will buy a 37.5% stake in the development stage of the Atlantic Wind Connection project, said Rick Needham, director of green business operations Google.

2010 100

Coal Chemical Spill Contaminates Water for 300,000 West Virginians

Sierra Club Compass

On Thursday night, a chemical spill on the Elk River in West Virginia, just two miles above the Elk River water treatment plant near Charleston, contaminated drinking water for more than 300,000 residents in central and southern West Virginia. The spill, which occurred at a Freedom Industries storage facility, involved a 48,000 gallon tank of a chemical used to treat coal before it's sent off to be burned at coal-fired power plants.

Obama’s First Offshore Wind Energy Strategy

Wind Power Ninja

The National Offshore Wind Strategy: Creating an Offshore Wind Industry in the United States (pdf) unveiled by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu today in a joint press conference in Norfolk, Virginia, focuses on overcoming three key challenges: the relatively high cost of offshore wind energy; technical challenges surrounding installation, operations, and grid interconnection; and the lack of site data and experience with project permitting.

Where is the congressional outcry over price suppression (or whatever the opposite of price gouging is)?

Environmental Economics

Another ten states -- Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia -- also have gas for less than $2. After all, low prices hurt renewable energy industries. Or do we not care about those industries Data from price tracker shows that three states -- Oklahoma, Louisiana and Ohio -- have at least one station each selling regular gas for less than $1.90 a gallon.

A triumph of the notion of passive use values (and jobs in the Atlantic?)

Environmental Economics

The Obama administration moved Tuesday to open up a vast stretch of East Coast waters to oil and gas drilling, a decision that could have a profound impact on the economic and environmental future of states from Virginia to Georgia. The plan would open up one lease sale area off the southeast stretch of the Atlantic Seaboard, an area the oil industry has long hungered to exploit. Why else would the government try to stop mining in Alaska?

2015 160

An example of why environmental valuation is needed

Environmental Economics

Luckily, the article actually gives an idea of the magnitude: In West Virginia’s Appalachian mountains, fish are vanishing. The people opposed to the coal industry are trying to pile on with more studies,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “It 57 percent higher than the average for industrial jobs,” according to the National Mining Association.

Round-Up of WV Coal Chemical Spill News

Sierra Club Compass

"Saying this chemical spill has nothing to do with coal is like saying the tobacco industry has nothing to do with lung cancer." Mary Anne was on to discuss last week''s Freedom Industries coal chemical spill in West Virginia, which has left more than 300,000 people without water. Even Erin Brockovich was in West Virginia for a meeting with affected residents Monday night. In fact, the Freedom Industries site hadn''t been inspected since 1991.

Massive Crowds Turning Out to Oppose Coal Exports - Compass

Sierra Club Compass

"It's not our job in the Northwest to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dying fossil fuel industry." Crowds have turned out by the thousands -- literally overflowing halls and waiting in line in the rain for hours, to speak in opposition to the coal industry's grand plans to export millions of tons of western US coal to Asia. "We moved to the beautiful Northwest to get away from the devastation the coal industry inflicts on anyone in its path.

2012 59

Will Your Tax Dollars Fund a Highway that's a Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine in Disguise?

Sierra Club Compass

to protest a Virginia coal boondoggle that has set its sights on $2 billion of your federal tax dollars. Well then you get the planned Coalfields Expressway in Southwest Virginia. The project is a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and coal mining companies, including Alpha Natural Resources. There are better ways to improve transportation options in southwest Virginia. Today, Appalachian community leaders are in Washington, D.C.,

Enough is Enough: Coal Pollution Spills Reveal a Water Safety Crisis

Sierra Club Compass

Hundreds of thousands of people have learned that the hard way over recent weeks, after a dangerous coal chemical spilled into the Elk River in West Virginia's capitol city, and then toxic coal ash from a retired Duke Energy power plant spilled into North Carolina's Dan River ( and now there's another coal slurry spill in WV ). "They dominate in West Virginia's life.

Recovery from WV Coal Chemical Spill Continues - What Next?

Sierra Club Compass

  As I described on the Diane Rehm Show, this tragedy is a direct product of a regulatory system held hostage by the coal industry for decades. " In the immediate wake of the disaster, the governor has repeatedly asserted that the coal industry had nothing to do with this spill - which is like saying the tobacco industry has nothing to do with lung cancer.

"Research Questions for the Midterm CAFE Review"

Environmental Economics

Alan Krupnick, Joshua Linn and Virginia McConnell: The next several years will be a key time for research that can enhance this evaluation and inform future policies to reduce GHG emissions and oil use from the light duty fleet.    Major questions remain about consumer and manufacturer responses to the regulations and about how the costs and benefits of the rule should be estimated.

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Volunteer Profile: Getting Water to WV Residents - Fighting to Keep WV Water Clean

Sierra Club Compass

In 1998, seven years after the last inspection of the Freedom Industries chemical storage site on the Elk River, Jen-Osha Buysee founded Aurora Lights. Jen-Osha, her staff and a band of volunteers spend their time raising awareness about the dangers of mountaintop removal coal mining, promoting local arts and engaging in educational programs for youth in West Virginia. But right now, across West Virginia people are showing just how strong our communities truly are. 

"A Curious Plan to Fight Climate Change"

Environmental Economics

Patriot sold not only the troubled Federal mine to Mr. Clarke, but also several other mines that were no longer in operation, including a sprawling surface mine carved from the top of a mountain in southern West Virginia. As improbable as it may seem, Mr. Clarke said the Patriot deal had played to his advantage — helping start his grand plan to remake coal mining into a greener industry.

Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather–A Book Review

10,000 Birds

Their populations, plus those of other species that ‘wore’ the coveted long, colorful feathers used for women’s fashionable hats, were being dangerously depleted by hunters intent on feeding the millinery industry. Boase uses Alice’s story as the entryway into the global feather industry, built on the labor of women engaged in occupations with names like feather washer, purifier, dyer, beater, curler, willower, and shaper. A feather is a magical thing.

2019 127

Falling demand and higher prices?

Environmental Economics

Williams (assistant professor of physics at the University of Virginia) lamenting educational technology in the Chronicle : Textbooks are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The economics textbook industry is somewhere in between. Is it possible for prices to rise with demand falling in an oligopolistic industry? Keith A.

2012 122

Water Pollution from Fracking in Four US States.


The fossil fuel industry may say that fracking does not cause pollution in our water ways, that it is an urban myth, but hundreds of complaints have been made in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas, according to the Associated Press. Fracking has reduced the United States'' dependency on imported fuel and has led to a boom in the industry.

Oil Train Explosions: A Timeline in Pictures

Sightline Daily

The regulations also substantially reduce public oversight of train movements and industry behavior. Galena, Illinois: March 6, 2015 Mount Carbon, West Virginia: February 16, 2015. Kanawha River, West Virginia, Crude Oil Derailment by Paul Corbit Brown (Used with permission.) Lynchburg, Virginia: April 30, 2014 James River oil train derailment by Waterkeeper Alliance Inc.

West Virginians and North Carolinians Agree - It's Time for Serious Environmental Protections

Sierra Club Compass

In the wake of dangerous coal chemical and coal ash spills in their states already this year, West Virginia and North Carolina voters have gotten a wake-up call on the need for environmental and public health protections - and they know it. You can throw the coal industry''s conventional wisdom out the window," says Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club''s Beyond Coal Campaign.

"Diamondbacks Try To Squeeze More Money From Taxpayers"

Environmental Economics

When he delivered it, he apparently told team owner Ken Kendrick to go back to “[effing] West Virginia.”. the most heavily subsidized industry in the U.S. And the voters will get to have their say ( again ): The Diamondbacks have been playing in their current ballpark since 1998. Their stadium cost $364 million to build, and Maricopa County picked up $238 million of the tab.

2016 116

Another tribute to Jim Kirkley

Environmental Economics

More generally, he is known for his introduction of rigorous empirical analysis of fisheries, for emphasizing fisher behavior, and for introducing the viewpoint that fisheries can be analyzed as an industrial sector exploiting a natural resource.   After finishing his dissertation, Jim left Woods Hole and moved to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where he was the only economist among numerous natural scientists.

2012 148

International trade

Environmental Economics

A textbook example: Crabs from the sounds and intracoastal waterway are North Carolina’s largest seafood industry with an overall value last year of $22.8 While statistics aren’t easily available for the handpicked fresh crabmeat that Mattamuskeet produces, 99 percent of the 66 million pounds of canned crabmeat sold in the United States in 2011 was imported, according to numbers shared by the National Fisheries Institute, a trade association based in Virginia.

It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife

Environmental Economics

The industry has already found ways to make sure that oil exploration and production can be done in a very safe manner.”. Bev Perdue to enter into a pact with the governors of Virginia and South Carolina to urge the president to open the East Coast to explore for natural gas 40 miles offshore. They couldn't have waited a day? A single day?

2011 126

North Carolinians Want Coal Ash Safeguards Now

Sierra Club Compass

  These results are strikingly similar to the poll we recently conducted in West Virginia. Taken together, the two polls demonstrate a clear finding that turns conventional wisdom on its head - people in states where the coal industry is still powerful want protections against coal pollution , and they want to support independent leaders who will stand up for clean air and water safeguards.

Who says climate policy doesn't create jobs?

Environmental Economics

  The wood pellet industry is enjoying a speedy, zero-to-60 growth surge across the southeastern United States. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in factories – some of them converted from old lumber mills – in coastal plain forests from Virginia to Louisiana.   The pellet industry is founded on a climate-friendly, carbon-neutral rationale.   Conservationists are attacking the pellet industry’s green-energy luster on two fronts.

2013 125

Our Last Coal Ash Spill: No More Delays for Coal Water Pollution Protections

Sierra Club Compass

The bad news is that the coal industry - including big coal burning utilities like Duke - is putting the screws to the EPA and the White House to try and make the final standards toothless. Meanwhile, in my home state of West Virginia, people are still afraid to drink their water, almost two months after a coal chemical spilled into the drinking water supply for over 300,000 people.