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The Appalachian

Voice
August / September 2009

From drinking to agriculture to


bathing to recreation, water is the
most critical element to our existence.
So why arent we treating it that way?

Plus: Dancing for MTR The Summer of Discontent Monarch Migration Operation Medicine Cabinet
Page 2 The Appalachian Voice

The APPALACHIAN VOICE A publication of Its all about


Inside this issue
The New River near its headwaters in Watauga
County, NC. Photo by Christine Arvidson,

APPALACHIAN VOICES the water National Committee for the New River

T
191 Howard Street Boone, NC 28607 hanks to the powerful flow of the
1-877-APP-VOICE earths complex water system, a
www.AppalachianVoices.org rain drop that falls into the New Rivers
Appalachian Voices brings people together to solve the environmental headwaters in North Carolina will
problems having the greatest impact on the central and southern Appalachian eventually flow through Virginia and
Mountains. Our mission is to empower people to defend our regions rich
into West Virginia, combining with the
natural and cultural heritage by providing them with tools and strategies for
Ohio River and on to the mighty Mis-
successful grassroots campaigns. Appalachian Voices sponsors the Upper
Watauga Riverkeeper and is also a Member of the Waterkeeper Alliance.
sissippi, eventually spilling into the Gulf
of Mexico thousands of miles down-

Editor Bill Kovarik stream. All of our water is connected,

Managing Editor Jamie Goodman from stream to river, aquifer to well. It


Associate Editor
Distribution Manager
Sarah Vig
Amanda Lewis
is precious and irreplaceable. But are
we treating it that way? p. 12-18
Appalachian Voices Staff
Executive Director...................................................................Willa Mays Dancing Appalachias Joys and Sorrows
Programs Director................................................................Matt Wasson Eating Appalachia: Selling Out to the Hungry Ghost is a simul-
Campaign Director.................................................................Lenny Kohm taneously heartwrenching and humorous modern dance perfor-
Development Director........................................................... Sandra Diaz mance about mountaintop removal coal mining.
In-House Counsel............................................................. Scott Gollwitzer
Plus: How Country Became Contra p. 6
OPERATIONS
Operations Manager........................................................Susan Congelosi
Administrative Assistant. ......................................................... Shay Boyd The MTR Summer of Discontent
PROGRAMS A summer of discontent is rapidly turning into an autumn of confrontation, as Congres-
Legislative Associate .......................................................... J.W. Randolph p. 8 sional hearings and regional protests increasingly pit environmental activists against
coal industry employees.
VA Campaign Coordinator.................................................. Tom Cormons
VA Field Organizer................................................................Mike McCoy
North Carolina Field Coordinator...................................... Austin Hall
Upper Watauga Riverkeeper ............................................. Donna Lisenby
Technologist...........................................................................Benji Burrell
Behold the Beautiful Butterfly
Monarchs, the fascinating long-distance flutterers that fly from the US
IT Specialist....................................................................................Jeff Deal
to Mexico each year, present unique educational opportunities for
Communications Coordinator. ........................................ Jamie Goodman
school kids and citizen scientists alike.
Americorps Outreach Associate....................................... Amanda Lewis p. 10
INTERNS
Voice Advertising Intern. ..............................................................Zach Ollis
Appalachian Treasures Outreach Team..........................................................
....................................... Diane Adkins, Lauren Essick, Brittany Newsome Every Issue:
Hiking the Highlands: Pilot Mountain.......... p. 4

Across Appalachia............................................ p. 9

AV Book Club.................................................. p. 11
Cover photo:
Appalachian Voices Board of Directors Opinions and Editorials................................. p. 19 The New River rolls through picturesque
rapids at Narrows, Virgina before
Chair ------------------------------------- Christina Howe plunging down the New River Gorge
Vice Chair ----------------------------------- Heidi Binko Naturalists Notebook - Fireflies................... p. 21
in West Virginia. Sport fishing and
Treasurer -------------------------------- Leigh Dunston ecotourism generate income, but that is
Secretary ----------- Matthew Anderson-Stembridge Inside Appalachian Voices............................. p. 22
threatened by a mix of coal flyash dumps,
At Large: Brenda Boozer, Steve Ferguson, Mary Anne Hitt, Brenda legacy industries, erosion and non-point
Huggins, Lamar Marshall, Kathy Selvage, Bunk Spann, Pat Watkins,
Get Involved!................................................... p. 24 pollution. (Photo by Bill Kovarik).
Jim Webb, Dean Whitworth, Sarah Wootton

Appalachian Voice Distribution VOLUNTEERS: Jere Bidwell, Blue Smoke Coffee, Charlie Bowles, Jane Branham, Steve Brooks, Chris Chanlett, Ed Clark, Shay Clayton,
Tom Cook, April Crowe, Lowell Dodge, Dave Gilliam, Gary Greer, Colton Griffin, Susan Hazelwood, Jennifer Honeycutt and Jim Dentinger, Brenda and Larry Huggins, Allen
Johnson, Mark Kidd, Rose Koontz, Frances Lamberts, Loy Lilley, Gail Marney, Keisha and Chad, Kim Greene McClure, Mike McKinney, Linda Milt, Steve Moeller, Dr. Emmanuel
Mornings, Dave and Donna Muhley, Dennis Murphy, Catherine Murray, Dave Patrick, Monica Randolph, Carol Rollman, Gerry and Joe Scardo, Kathy Selvage, Jennifer Stertzer,
Ray Vaughan, Bill Wasserman, Dean Whitworth, Brad Wood, Gabrielle Zeiger, Ray Zimmerman
August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 3

fr o m o u r E x e c u ti v e Director all, venturing


A note Appalachia. I splashed in
shallow pools when very
hing creek in
sm
white
I learned to swim in a rus ich was a necessity in the
I jok e tha t I lea rne d to swim rock to rock, wh
into the rapids as I got old
er. learned to swim in
ut lea der , and I kno w many of his scouts also
dad was a Boy Sco
waters of the gorge. My they hit the icy water.
s, lift ing the ir voi ces in a gleeful chorus when tect
those mountain stre am ility and privilege to pro
of our Ap pal ach ian her itage; it is our responsib
od ding
The rivers are the lifeblo to be so diminished. Accor
tha t we Am eric ans hav e allowed our waterways
me consumption
them. It seems amazing to re are currently 3,080 fish
vir onm ent al Pro tection Agency (EPA), the
to the latest data from the En and 882,963 miles of
t 48 sta tes , cov erin g 14.1 million acres of lakes
ead throughou sh-
advisories for mercury spr fish consumption adviso
ries due to mercury in fre
hav e issu ed sta tew ide
se states waters.
rivers. Twenty-three of the mercury in their coastal
wh ile 12 sta tes hav e sta tewide advisories due to
water lakes, rivers or bot
h, wing nearly
rcury in the country, spe
nts are the sin gle larg est source of airborne me
Coal-fired power pla l studies have shown
and int o our loc al wa tersheds each year. Severa
son into the air
50 tons of this deadly poi up in local waterways and
fish.
per cen t of the se toxic emissions are ending e been
that as much as 70 ams in America and we hav
has som e of the mo st beautiful and vibrant stre
The Appalachian region unbeliev-
e. And, although it seems
wa ter sup pli es. Bu t we are wasting that abundanc
blessed with abundant . Legally.
ied by coal mining waste
hea dw ate r stre ams have been totally bur
able, nearly 1200 mil es of ponds24 of those sites
a list of 44 hig h haz ard coal waste impoundment
d
The EPA recently release e been discharging untre
ated
No rth Ca rol ina alo ne. Although these ponds hav
lie in the Southeast, 12 in prehensive water quality
monitoring
dec ade s, to dat e, there have been no com
coal waste into rivers for se discharges. This
vy me tals in wa ter, sed iment and fish below the
amount of hea
programs to measure the in close proximity to the
tha t the hig hes t con cen tration of these ponds is
sidering
is astounding when con
tion center. and local
Carolinas largest popula rking at the national, state
, a me mb er of the Wa terkeeper Alliance, is wo
Appalachian Voi ces waters. But we cannot
t allo w the con tin ued pollution of Appalachian
policies tha
level every day to change itage. If not us, who?
Let s rai se our voi ces together to protect our her
do it alone.
Appalachian Voices.
for today and tomorrow
Working for clean water
~ Willa Mays Coffey

Join Appalachian Voices Today!


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August/September 2009
Page 4 The Appalachian Voice

Hiking the Highlands


Joe Tennis is the author of Sullivan County, Tennessee: Images
of America (Arcadia Publishing), which explores the history
of the Cherokee National Forest, South Holston Reservoir and
Kingsports Bays Mountain Park.

On Pilot Mountain
Story by Joe Tennis Pilot Mountain State Park
Ask any fan of The Andy Griffith HIKING LENGTH: Jomeokee Trail (1 mile); Grassy Ridge (2 miles); Ledge
Show what mountain they remember Spring (2 miles); Yadkin Islands (5 miles); and Sassafras (half-mile)
hearing about most, and theyll say DURATION: One hour, including time for photographs and wildlife study,
Mount Pilot. and exploration of the must-see Little Pinnacle Overlook
Why, Andy Taylor and Barney Fife TO GET THERE: Pilot Mountain State Park (1792 Pilot Knob Park Rd.,
talked about going to Mount Pilot prac- Pinnacle, N.C.) is located along U.S. 52, about 24 miles north of
Winston-Salem, N.C., and 14 miles south of Mount Airy, N.C.
tically all the time. But where is it?
Well, if we assume that Andy Grif- PARKING: No fee required.

fiths hometown of Mount Airy, N.C., INFO: (336) 325-2355


is actually Mayberry, and that its
businesses such as the real-life Snappy Matt Windsor, park superintendent
Lunch served as inspiration for TV of Pilot Mountain State Park, stands
scripts, then maybe we can also assume at Little Pinnacle Overlook, with the Big
that a nearby peak - Pilot Mountain -
was the source of similar inspiration for North Carolinas 14th state park - after years monadnock - a rugged Pinnacle rising in the background.
TVs Mount Pilot. of being a commercial tourist attraction. mountain rock that has
to reach the Little Pinnacle Overlook: You
It is certainly plausible, said Matt It was saved in the 1960s thanks to survived millions of years while every-
simply follow an easy trail measuring
Windsor, the superintendent at Pilot the Pilot Mountain Preservation and Park thing else around it has withered away.
barely one-tenth of a mile. This short trek
Mountain State Park. Committee, which had proposed turning The Sauratown Mountains are, by
gives you a classic view of Pilot Mountain
Whats more, it makes a good market- the place into a park in order to protect far, not the easternmost peaks of North
plus Hanging Rock State Park, deep in the
ing hook. Businesses in the nearby town it and the surrounding area from further Carolina. Over 150 miles due east you run
distance, looking east.
of Pilot Mountain use such names as Aunt commercial development. Over the years, into Medoc Mountain State Park in Halifax
Another easy outing, starting at the
Beas, Mount Pilot Soda Fountain and several acres have been added, ultimately County. At 325 feet above sea level, Mer-
main parking lot of the parks mountain
Mayberry Shazzam! Go-Karts and Games. bringing the total protected acreage to doc is hardly what you call a mountain,
section, is the half-mile-long Sassafras
Yet other town landmarks include Dr. Flip- more than 3,500. but it is the core of what was once a mighty
Trail.
pins Bed & Breakfast, housed in an 1896 Now this park not only protects a natu- range of mountains east of Raleigh.
Still, the big must-see must be the
mansion overlooking Pilot Mountains ral landmark, it doubles as a monument to Pilot Mountain, located in both Surry
Big Pinnacle. This can be reached by the
Main Street. Here, owners Charlotte and show what people can do when they work and Yadkin counties, consists of two
nearly mile-long Jomeokee Trail, which
Gary York cater to visitors wanting to together to save a place they love. prominent pinnacles. The one you can see
wraps itself in a circle around the base of
explore the wine country of the Yadkin Windsor considers Pilot Mountain from so many other surrounding peaks -
the actual peak still commonly called The
Valley - or simply rest after hiking the among the most recognizable landmarks the Big Pinnacle - is connected to the
Pilot. On this moderate path, hikers can
highlands of Pilot Mountain State Park. of North Carolina. Though only having Little Pinnacle by a narrow saddle.
get an up-close view of the sheer cliffs of
Centuries ago, when the Saura Indi- an elevation of 2,420 feet, Pilot Mountain Trails at Pilot Mountain State Park
Pilot Mountain.
ans inhabited this area, they called Pilot rises about 1,400 feet above the rolling range from the five-mile-long stroll of the
Or you could just relax and sit a spell
Mountain such names as Jomeokee, countryside of the Piedmont plateau. Yadkin Islands, along the Yadkin River, to
on a boulder bluff, studying the bark of a
The Pilot or Great Guide. Like the rocky escarpments of nearby the two-mile Grindstone Trail, ranked as
pine tree.
In 1751, surveyors Joshua Fry and Peter Hanging Rock State Park, Pilot Mountain moderate to strenuous.
One caveat: Climbing on the Big Pin-
Jefferson mapped the mountain. More than is a remnant of the ancient Sauratown Practically anyone could skip and
nacle is not allowed.
two centuries later, Pilot Mountain became Mountains. Specifically, its a quartzite hop among the parks scruffy pitch pines

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August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 5

Saving the Places We Love

Join us on Saturday, September 12th as we celebrate the Blue Ridge Parkway


Foundation, Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Friends of the
Reedy River. A percentage of sales on that day will be donated to these organizations
that are preserving and protecting the places we love.

Proud local sponsor of The National Parks: Americas Best Idea,


a lm series by Ken Burns. Sept. 27 thru Oct. 2 8 pm PBS

Boone Valle Crucis Waynesville Hendersonville Asheville, NC


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August/September 2009
Page 6 The Appalachian Voice

Dancing Appalachias Joys and Sorrows


Story by Bill Kovarik
Dancers cling to each other and spread
their hands in the air, like trees on an Appala-
chian mountainside. Then, explosions rock the
stage, and erupt on a screen in the background.
The dancers collapse, and, in a while -- after
a slow, sad dance of grief -- a grinning man in
a bowler hat, smoking a cigar and grasping at
fistfuls of money, is wheel-barrowed across
the stage.
Its one of most heart-wrenching moments,
followed by one of the funniest insights, to be
enjoyed in a multimedia dance performance
called Eating Appalachia: Selling Out to the
Hungry Ghost that premiered this May at
Radford University.
The 45-minute modern dance perfor-
mance premiered in May and will be going
on tour in the fall of 2009.
Blending strong emotions and envi-
ronmental politics is difficult, says chore-
ographer Deborah McLaughlin. Humor
was the key.
I feel that the humor is important; it
frees us up, says McLaughlin. I didnt Photos by Lora Gordon
want it to be depressing, because I feel that
the media does depress us, as a culture, consumption, she said. Theres a place tended to honor the regions history, and add new dimensions to the social and
and I think thats part of the problem. for technology but for whatever reason our McLaughlin said. At one point, as an old political process, she insists.
The problem of technology and greed society just tends to overdo things. Were coal mining song plays in the background, People who are in the arts think out-
is at the heart of mountaintop removal just so used to luxury. the dancers are in rocking chairs, holding side of the box, and thats what we need, in
mining, McLaughlin says, and it is a major McLaughlins depictions of nature still, almost holding their breath. order to figure out new ways to do things,
theme in the dance. At one point, dancers are also inspiring. The dance performance I was trying to imagine what women McLaughlin said.
are caught in a web of electronics and opens in a deep blue light with dancers would feel like when their sons or husbands I think this economic crisis is going
cables. At another point, dancer Whitney tumbling along a rippling cloth, depicting would go off to work in the mines, and how to be a blessing if we allow ourselves to
Isaacs wanders around the stage, screech- a tumbling brook, embodying the beauty frightening that would be, she said. learn from it, she said. Maybe we dont
ing with greed: That. Ive always wanted of free water. The idea for the dance performance need all this stuff. Thats not what is going
that. Its perfect. And that But, like I was thinking about water as source about mountaintop removal mining to make us happy.
a hungry ghost, the dancer can never be of life, and thats one of the big issues with emerged in the fall of 2008, in conversa- Appalachian musicians Bud Bennett and
satisfied. mountaintop removal is that were killing tions with others who had been engaged Don Hall worked with McLaughlin on the
We can point the finger and blame the springs and the creeks and the rivers, in the environmental struggle. And yet, piece. Readings describing the impacts of
the coal companies, but I finally realized she said. McLaughlins Appalachian childhood mountaintop removal by Theresa Burriss were
Im part of the problem with my own over- Another part of the dance was in- she grew up near Louisville, Ky. had also part of the performance. Paintings by artist
already sparked a lifelong interest in the Suzanne Stryk, projected against the backdrop,
region. helped illustrate some of the themes of hope,
Her first choreographic work, per- life, history and the joyful renewal of life in
formed in the 1970s, was about women the mountains.
who stood up for the unions and against At one point, as the dancers talked about
the coal companies. their connections to Appalachia, McLaughlin
There was something there that realized that Juliana Utz was the great-great
touched my heart, she said. granddaughter of Peter Urban, the only survi-
McLaughlin is an assistant professor vor of the great Monongah mine disaster of
of dance at Radford, and her background 1907. This is destiny, McLaughlin said.
also includes professional credentials as People end up feeling hopeless and
the artistic director of the Movement So- helpless and just go out and shop, said
ciety in New York, performing with the McLaughlin. We entertain ourselves to
Cincinnati Ballet with Lee Nagrin, and as death.
a student with Cecile Heller of the Paris So I was trying to figure out how to do
Opera Ballet. a piece that would be compelling and provide
Arts make an important contribution some hope, she said.
August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 7

How Country Became Contra: The American Social Dance


Story by Sarah Vig such as the Turning Waltz, Photo by Kelly Jordan Society, and priming contra
which came to popularity for large-scale revival in the
To say contra is a dance craze would
starting in the 1870s. 1950s and 60s.
imply that it just came about recently or is
As more metropolitan Renewed interest in
going out of style. Neither of which seems
dancers began to abandon contra was fueled by the
to be true.
Country Dancing, the style incorporation of new dance
Contras origins lie with the early
remained popular in more moves such as the gypsy
American colonists who brought the
secluded communities. Its and the hey by new contra
popular English Country Dances with
sink into semi-obscurity in the choreographers in the 1970s.
them when they hopped the pond to settle
small, rural towns of Appala- The dances dont require any
in the New World.
chia and New England both formal training or set partner
A very social form of dancing, the Eng-
changed and saved the dance (which must feel liberating
lish Country Dances are organized, as is
form, making it dissimilar after decades of couples
contra, in a long line which sets of partners
from English Country Danc- dancing!), and often each
move through, so everyone has the oppor-
ing and more distinctively dance is taught by the caller
tunity to dance with everyone else. This
American Contra. The Ameri- music selection and has been influenced before the music begins.
kind of dancing remained popular until
can form of the dance is freer in meter and by intermingling and coevolution with Today, American contra has spread to
the rise of more couple-centric dances,
traditional square dancing. all 50 states. It remains perhaps most popu-
Unlike some turn-of-the-century lar, however, in the places where it survived
Put Your Dancing Shoes On - Where to Dance Macarena, though, contra didnt remain the cruel whims of fashionable society.
them online at discoveret.org/kcd in obscurity. Folklore historian Cecil So grab a pair of dancing shoes (clean
Georgia
The Chattahoochee Country Dancers Chattanooga Traditional Dance So- Sharp documented the dances of small, and soft-soled, please) and go swing your
in Atlanta have dances weekly on Fridays ciety dances on 2nd and 4th Saturdays. rural communities in the World War I era, partner or your neighbor, depending on
and on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Tuesday. Their They offer a yearly dance pass for $70. founding the Country Song and Dance the dance!
website has a great series of instructional Online at contranooga.org
videos for beginning contra dancers from all Nashville Country Dancers dance
regions. Online at contradance.org. both English Country Dance and Ameri-
can Contra. Contras are held Fridays and
Kentucky English Country Dances are held each
Oh Contraire! based in Berea, Ky., holds 2nd Sunday. Online at nashvillecountry-
a monthly dance every 4th Saturday as well dancers.org
as a pick-up dance on the 3rd Friday,
where live music is performed by a pick- Virginia
up band and calling is open mic. Online at Charlottesville Contra Dance holds
folkcircle.org/contra. a Friday night dance September- June
Lexington Traditional Dance Associa- and also during those months Contra
tion sponsors dances on the 1st Saturday Corners hosts Greenville dances on the
and most 2nd and 4th Fridays. They give 2nd and 4th Sundays. Online at contra-
a discount to first time dancers. Online at corners.com.
ravitz.us/ltda. Blue Ridge Country Dancers holds
contras in Floyd, Va., on 2nd Saturdays
North Carolina September through June. Online at floyd-
Boone Country Dancers hold a con- contradance.org.
tra 2nd Saturdays year-round, though they Two Dog Waltz sponsors contra danc-
move indoors during the chill mountain win- es in Blacksburg once a month on the 3rd
ters. Online at boonecountrydancers.org. Saturday. Online at twodogwaltz.com/
Old Farmers Ball in Asheville, N.C, contra.
holds two weekly dances: Thursday Roanoke Virginia Contra Dances
nights on the campus of Warren Wilson began in February of this year and are
College, and Monday nights at the Grey now being held every 4th Saturday. Online
Eagle. Online at oldfarmersball.com at roanokecontra.org.

Tennessee West Virginia


Historic Jonesborough Dance So- Kanawha Valley FOOTMAD (Friends
ciety holds dances twice monthly on 1st of Old Time Music and Dance) of
and 3rd Saturdays. They also regularly Charleston, W.Va., not only holds dances
sponsor dance weekends, including the every 1st and 3rd Friday October to June,
upcoming Carolina Contrathon in Sep- they also hold concerts, workshops and
tember and Mountain Madness in Oc- festivals! Online at footmad.org!
tober. For information on these events, Morgantown Friends of Old Time
visit their website: historicjonesborough- Music sponsors dances at different times
dancesociety.org throughout the month and dance a mix of
Knoxville Country Dancers dance old time squares, contras, circle dances,
weekly on Monday nights. They offer a deep and waltzes. Online at myweb.wvnet.
discount for student dancers (only $3!). Find edu/~mswim/sqdance.html.

August/September 2009
Page 8 The Appalachian Voice

Across Appalachia Environmental News From Around The Region

Mountaintop Removal Coal Minings Summer of Discontent


Story by Bill Kovarik to immense and irreversible hearing, at a family picnic on Kayford
damage being done to West Mountain, 20 men and women dressed in
A summer of discontent is
Virginia. coal miners outfits crashed a picnic intend-
rapidly turning into an autumn of
Margaret Palmer of the U. ing to intimidate environmental advocates.
confrontation, as Congressional
of Md also testified: There is One particularly disturbed man issued a
hearings and regional protests
no evidence to date that miti- string of direct death threats. A video of the
increasingly pit environmental
gation actions can compensate event (Mountain Madness Invasion of the
activists against coal industry
for the lost natural resources coal thugs) went viral on YouTube in July.
employees.
and ecological functions of In response, the West Virginia Council
In one of over a dozen full
the headwater streams that of Churches issued a statement warning
scale protests this spring and
are buried. that bitter rhetoric and latent violence
summer, scientist James Hansen
and actress Daryl Hannah were The hearing begins a leg- needed to be put aside.
arrested in a protest at Marsh islative process to the Clean We ask leaders to encourage an at-
Fork elementary school in June. Water Act to stop the dumping titude of understanding toward those with
The arrests took place amid a Miners and workers for Massey Energy counter a protest at Marsh Fork of coal overburden into stream whom one disagrees, said the Rev. Dennis
swirl of abusive and threatening Elementary School in West Virgina. One counter-demostrator was arrested beds. Such a prohibition would Sparks, head of the council.
for slapping a local environmentalist. Photo by Jamie Goodman effectively stop mountaintop Meanwhile, on the regulatory side,
commentary from coal miners,
and one counter-demonstrator was removal mining. Some 155 the US EPA will be taking over some water
arrested after she struck Goldman winner Maria Gunnoe, who noted that Congressmen are cosponsoring discharge reviews from West Virginias
environmental prize winner Judy Bonds. MTR contaminated water so badly that HR 1310, the Clean Water Protection Act, state Dept. of Environmental Protection.
it was impossible to live near the mines. on the House side, while eight Senators To highlight the issue, four demonstrators
A few days later, spectators swamped
have thus far signed on to cosponsor a chained themselves to the doors of DEP
the first formal Congressional hearing on Our people were here before the coal was
companion bill. offices in mid-August, saying the agency
mountaintop removal mining. Testifying discovered. Why should we have to leave
now in the name of coal? Others testified A few days after the Congressional was closed for incompetence.
against the practice was Goldman Prize

Music on the Mountaintop Combines Music, Mountains and Sustainability


The Music on the Mountaintop Festival will be held compostable cups and utensils, and the
again at the Old State Fairgrounds in Boone, N.C. on Satur- integration of renewable energy non-profit
day, August 29, 2009. The event will feature headliners Sam organizations. A portion of the proceeds from
Bush, Keller Williams, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Acoustic this years festival will go to the Appalachian
Syndicate, and Yo Mamas Big Fat Booty Band, as well as 15 Institute for Renewable Energy (AIRE) and the
regional and local acts from western North Carolina. Appalachian Energy Center. Camping will be available on site the evening of Au-
The festival, run by Appalachian State University stu- Music on the Mountaintop 2009 will showcase three mu- gust 29. Camping spots are limited but will be announced
dents, returns with a green theme, using a solar-powered sic stages, a Green Village, a 35-foot climbing wall, and many for purchase on the festivals website.
stage, precise recycling and waste disposal programs, local and organic food and craft vendors from the Boone area. The gates will be open to the public at the Old State
This years festival will also feature Fairgrounds on August 29 at 10 a.m. and the music will
a River Cleanup Initiative that will begin at 11 a.m. For tickets or more information on Music
take place the day before the festival on the Mountaintop 2009, visit www.musiconthemoun-
on Friday August 28 from 3 to 6 p.m. taintop.com. For more information about AIRE, visit
at the fairgrounds. www.aire-nc.org.

Prize-Winning Prose to be Performed at NC Stage


Peter Neofotis is an extraordinary story- working as a Contributing Author for the In-
teller. He does more than narrate; he embod- tergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
ies every syllable of his well-crafted prose, Neofotis grew up in the Blue Ridge and
which centers on a small town in the moun- will be returning to the mountains to perform
tains of Virginia. He navigates characters, his stories.
drama and flashbacks with grace and brings Performances will be held August 20-23
life to an entire town through the personali- and 27-29 at 7:30 PM at the North Carolina
ties and personal histories of its people. But, Stage Company in Asheville. Tickets are $12
we dont want him to quit his day job. in advance, $15 at the door. Reach the box
Neofotis wrote his collection of short office at (828) 239-0263 or online at www.
stories, Concord, Virginia, by night while ncstage.org.
August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 9

Across Appalachia Environmental News From Around The Region

Will Harlan Runs 72 New Report Projects 8,000 lower court decision barring the Kensington countrys waterways.
Mine from dumping its tailings from ore pro- For more information about Alaskas
Miles for Mountains Clean Energy Jobs For KY cessing into an Alaskan lake just north of work on H.R. 1310, visit http://www.seacc.
The same day members of the Alliance for A projected 8,750 new jobs in the energy Juneau. The ruling allows the Coer dAlene org/issues/mining/kensington-mine.
Appalachia waited in the halls of Congress efficiency and renewable energy sectors Mines Corporations gold mine to pump over .......................
for the Senate hearing on the could be created in the next three 200,000 gallons per day of toxic wastewater
Appalachia Restoration Act years and spread out through 87 slurrycomposed of water, chemicals, and Berea College Goes Solar
(S 696) to begin, iLoveMoun- Kentucky counties, a new report solid waste from ore processing directly Berea College has joined the ranks of
tains.org supporter Will Har- by the Ochs Center for Metropoli- into a lake in the Tongass National Forest. higher education seeking to diversify their
lan ran 72 miles along the tan Studies claims. The job cre- The dumping will deposit 4.5 million tons of electric generation. As of March 13, the
TN-NC border to raise aware- ation would be possible through solids in the lake over a 10-year period, kill- schools Loyal Jones Appalachian Center
ness about the campaign to investments by the East Kentucky ing nearly all its aquatic life. is now partially powered by a 66-panel,
end mountaintop removal Power Cooperative (EKPC) in H.R. 1310 would amend the Clean Wa- 15,000 watt photovoltaic roof system. The
coal mining. Harlan, editor of clean energy projects, rather than ter Acts definition of fill back to its original installation contributes to the colleges goal
Blue Ridge Outdoors Maga- in its proposed $766 million Smith intent, thereby making it illegal for mining of meeting 10 percent of its energy needs
zine, completed his end-to-end Miles for coal-fired power plant. operationssuch as mountaintop removal through renewable sources by 2010. A
Mountains run of the Great Smoky Moun- Another study released in May by Syn- coal mining prevalent in Southern Appala- monitoring device attached to the PV sys-
tains National Park in just under 17 hours. apse Energy Economy Inc. showed that chiato dispose of mining waste into the tem will feed data to the internet, where the
During the run, his support crew distributed diversification of EKPCs energy sources public can view stats such as
information about iLoveMountains.org and will help protect co-op utility customers from air temperature and electricity
mountaintop removal coal mining at popular higher costs of coal and coal-burning facili- output. Visit www.berea.edu/
trailheads. ties. appalachiancenter/ and click on
Harlans ultimate goal is to enlist hikers, Economic modeling shows enormous Solar Array Status in the right
runners, walkers, and others to dedicate potential for jobs in home weatherization, column.
their mileagewhether it is on a treadmill hydroelectric dams, solar hot water, heat- The center is also working to
or the trailtoward the collective goal of 1 ing, cooling, and more. reduce energy use by exploring
million Miles for Mountains to end moun- Copies of the Ochs Center report and the lighting options, energy controls
taintop removal coal mining. Find out more modeling data source are available at www. and usage habits.
at milesformountains.wordpress.com kyenvironmentalfoundation.org. .......................
....................... .......................

Blair Mountain Historic NC Senate Votes to Ban


Places Status Uncertain Western NC Wind
After less than four months as a protected A North Carolina state Senate vote to ban
historical site, the 1,600-acre Blair Mountain wind turbines in mountain areas but approve
battlefield is facing removal from the Nation- coastal development may not pass the House
al Register of Historic Places, a list that is this year, but it has energized opponents.
maintained by the National Park Service. About 768 to 1000 Megawatts of elec-
In April, the State of West Virginia request- tric power, enough for 300,000 - 400,000
ed the de-listing of Blair Mountain. Federal energy efficient homes, could be produced
rules mandate that an area can be registered along North Carolinas Appalachian ridge
only if a majority of area property owners sup- tops, according to a study by Appalachian
port it. Originally, 22 out of 57 property own- State Universitys Western North Carolina
ers opposed the listing, but that number was Renewable Energy Initiative (WNCREI).
revised to 30 following the request to de-list. Western NC Senator Steve Goss, the only
A signed petition was delivered to Governor state Senator to vote against the bill, tried
Joe Manchin in June urging him to help reach several times to amend the language to in-
a solution to allow both mining and preserva- clude responsible, environmentally sensitive
tion of the historic site, but so far no word. At wind energy development for the mountain
the end of July, the National Trust for Historic region. At the center of the debate is North
Preservation won an extension through mid- Carolinas 1983 Ridge Law, which prohibits
September on the required comment period large structures from protruding more than
for the de-listing. To comment, visit www. 35 feet above the crest of a mountains ridge.
preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/ However, wind energy proponents note that
southern-region/blair-mountain-battlefield.html windmills are explicitly exempted from the
Blair Mountain was the location of a 1983 statute. The bill is expected to remain
1921 battle between 10,000 miners and in committee in the NC House until the end
coal-company sponsored police and fed- of this years legislative session.
eral troops. Since 1980, various organiza- .......................
tions and local residents have tried to obtain
Historical Places status for the site. Alaska Joins H.R. 1310
Opponents of the historic register listing in-
Environmental rights groups in Alaska
clude Massey Energy, a company which plans
recently threw their support behind H.R.
surface mining near the original historic site.
1310, the Clean Water Protection Act, af-
....................... ter the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a
August/September 2009
Page 10 The Appalachian Voice

Behold the Beautiful Butterfly Monarch Migration Offers Teaching Opportunities


Story by Marsha Walton monarch larval development, said Crewe.
University of There is also evidence that some farming
Talk about endurance athletes! Mon- Georgia photo
arch butterflies make human tri-athletes by Pat Davis
practices reduce the amount of milkweed
look like slackers. Millions of these available to monarchs, she said.
beautiful insects (weighing less than two Monarchs must fly south for the win-
ounces as adults) embark on a spectacular ter. They cannot fly in temperatures below
2000+-mile journey from the United States 55 degrees Fahrenheit. And while caterpil-
and Canada to spend winters on a few lars feed exclusively on milkweed, adults
mountaintops in central Mexico. need nectar from other flowers, so they
Tens of millions of the orange and have to go where the food is. In Mexico, it
black butterflies create one of the most is habitat loss from logging that puts them
stunning sights in the natural world, in jeopardy.
during their winter slumber party in the Davis said protection and understand-
oyamel trees in the state of Michoacn. ing of monarchs doesnt take a lot of study.
While there is no clear evidence of a His advice to young people fascinated by
population decline in monarchs (Danaus these iconic butterflies: Ask questions.
plexippus) across this continent, scientists Be curious. Get outside and start looking
are concerned about threats to their habitat at plants and caterpillars. Ask yourself,
and other human-induced pressures. Why is it there? Why this plant, and not
that one? Why is there only one here, and
The mountaintops where they over-
whole system may collapse, he said. monitoring programs. six on another one?
winter are the Achilles heel of North Ameri-
A few weeks ago a butterfly brain Davis and Professor Sonia Altizer of Questions like that, he said, are the
can monarchs, said Andy Davis, a monarch
trust from Canada, U.S. and Mexico met Georgias Odum School of Ecology orga- basis of all good science, and could spark
expert and doctoral student at the Warnell
at the University of Georgia to discuss nized the gathering, designed to get the an interest in contributing important data
School of Forestry and Natural Resources at
ways to improve monarch population three governments on the same track for to monarch research.
the University of Georgia. If they go, the
monarch observation and protection. Crewe suggested participation in
For nearly 30 years scientists have monitoring programs already in place,
been collecting data on monarchs. This including Journey North, Monarch Larvae
new effort aims to coordinate that infor- Monitoring Program, Monarch Health,
mation among governments, universities, and Monarch Watch. MonarchNet.org is
conservation groups, and another group of now in development, and will provide
growing importancecitizen scientists. links to many programs.
Citizen scientists are extremely People can also plant butterfly gar-
important to large-scale monitoring pro- dens at their home or school, with a focus
grams, which, if run only by paid staff, on milkweed and other flowering plants
could rarely, if ever, collect the amount of (for nectar) that are native to their area,
data that volunteers can over the broader said Crewe.Native plants are preferred
landscape, said biologist Tara Crewe of because they are adapted to the climate
Bird Studies Canada. and require less maintenance and water-
Currently, information collected by ing than non-native species, she said.
individuals or even some conservation Native flowering species are a great
groups might be unknown to others with deal of help, said Davis. [The monarchs]
the same missionto protect this elegant migrate through the Appalachians, he
species and its habitat. The Commission said. Migration south takes place from
for Environmental Cooperation, estab- August until mid-November.
lished by Canada, U.S., and Mexico, is a While pandas and polar bears may be
major player in the effort to improve data the most visible stars of the conservation
collection, and, scientists hope, better world, Crewe believes the monarch is also
target research and conservation efforts a great ambassador species.
for the monarch. People are overall very fascinated by
These butterflies face a lot of different the life cycle of this insect, said Crewe.
threats, including the disappearance of The fact that monarchs that developed
habitat. Females must lay their eggs (usu- in northeastern North America can fly
ally 100-400) on the underside of milkweed all the way to Mexico, without parents
leaves. A toxin in that plant protects the to show them the way, is astounding! Its
caterpillar and butterfly from predators. long-distance migration is truly unique to
Unfortunately, milkweed is still con- the insect world, and that alone is reason
sidered a noxious weed in Ontario and some to conserve this species and this phenom-
states, even though this plant is required for enon in particular, she said.
August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 11

Prodigal Summer: Steamy and Smart Summer Reading


Story by Sarah Vig (especially those who make their living complex environment to life. The lessons
off the land, a point that is brought out as in biology, ecology, organic farming and
Appalachian author Barbara King-
ironic by the author), they are brought to entomology woven into the narratives
solvers 2000 novel Prodigal Summer
light by the awareness of the books female are often fascinating, and for the most
reads at times like a steamy romance, a
characters. part flow smoothly with the action of the
natural history, and a family drama, and
Kingsolvers multiple narrators are novel. At times, however, the do-no-harm
it is the best of all these things: sexy, smart,
isolated, yet drawn together by the en- principles Kingsolver clearly holds make
lovely, and at times deeply sad. The un-
vironment they share. Natural events the text feel slightly overwrought.
likely mixture of all these elements makes
become like a recurring character in the In total, the novel holds many rewards:
the book perfect for summer reading.
narratives, giving the reader a reference a blushing romance colored by the fervent
The book gives the reader three nar-
point with which to align the pasts and sexuality of the natural world; a truer un-
rators, all living on the fictitious Zebulon
presents of each. This interconnectivity derstanding of the environment and natural
Mountain in Southern Ap-
serves to accentuate the readers atten- history of the southern Appalachians; an
palachia. Especially for
tion to the common setting and sense of intriguing interwoven narrative that reveals
those who live in the
shared cultural history that pervades small the social history of a small town; and most
southern Appala-
mountain towns as well as bear proof of importantly, a great read!
chian Mountains,
Kingsolvers skill at interweaving complex To view archives of our Book Club,
the setting will
histories and events in unconventional visit appvoices.org/bookclub.
seem familiar,
pressures on the action of the narrative form.
yet fresh. Na-
novel and the evolution of its The novels compelling characters
ture is nothing
characters. Though its forces and rich prose are vivid enough to bring
if not vital in the
are unrecognized by many the town of Egg Fork and its unique and
novel, exerting its

Reading Questions Online


Resources
1 The book contains three
narrative voices; which
narrator do you find yourself
the novel change or challenge
your views on interspecies
relationships?
to be exceptionally in touch
with nature and succeed by
working within natural orders.
On YouTube
The luna moth is a beautiful, fascinating
relating to most? Why do you Why do you think Kingsolver
think Kingsolver chose to give
expression to these three par-
3 The book presents dif-
ferent approaches to
farming; to some it is a con-
made this choice? How do
you think voice in the final
creature that holds special significance
for Lusa in the novel. See its life cycle
from hungry caterpillar to mouthless,
ticular voices?
stant battle to keep nature in
chapter, 31, fits in?
mating moth in this detailed, informative Used,
2 Invasive species are a
recurring motif in the
check, to others the natural
processes are tools to enable 5 Each narrator identifies
with a specific species:
video from Backyard Bugs software: you-
tube.com/watch?v=atOSro3_W7c
Rare & Out
novel (coyote, honeysuckle,
chestnut blight) and the narra-
production. How do you see
characters involvement with
coyote, moth and chestnut. If
you were to have a narrative
of Print Books
Websites and Blogs
tors have an intimate relation- farming shaping their views? in this book, what species of Specializing in
The American Chestnut Foundation
ship with the ecological effects plant or animal do you think Books about Black
of each, though some of their
views are unconventional. Did
4 Deanna, Lusa and Nan-
nie Rawley are all strong
female characters who seem
you would be identified with?
Why?
(acf.org): An Asheville-based non-profit
carrying out the work being done in the
novel by the narrator Garnett. Through
Mountain College

back-crossing and inter-crossing Ameri-


can and Chinese chestnuts, they hope
to restore the chestnut to Appalachian
forests. Their website is a wealth of infor-
mation and resources to help you learn
more and get involved.

Further Reading
The Audubon Magazine article The
Ultimate Survivor by Mike Finkel (May/
June 1999) inspired much of King-
solvers thinking on coyote populations Powered
Jean & Carl Franklin by (PV)
and helped inform the creation of the
103 Cherry Street Solar Cells
characters of Deanna Wolfe and Eddie
Black Mountain, NC 28711
Bondo : audubonmagazine.org/coyote/
index.html (828) 669-8149
Lookbooks@earthlink.net

August/September 2009
Page 12 The Appalachian Voice The Appalachian Voice Page 13

Now more than ever, its a good time to think about


Proposed Water Intake Facility Near New River
Headwaters Concerns Downstream Residents

Matters
the future of water in Appalachia and the Southeast. Experts warn
that we will have to face declining quality and quantity of water due Story by Linda Coutant The New River in Ashe County, downstream
from the proposed facility. Photo by Christine
to expanding population, changing climate, mountaintop removal One communitys demand for
drinking water is causing angst
Arvidson, National Committee for the New River

mining and other issues.The solutions may prove to be elusive, but among residents concerned about
preserving the New Rivers his-
rational planning and conservation top the list. toric, environmental, recreational
and economic future. Its a com-
mon debate across North Caro-
lina and other states as growing
populations demand more from
a little more holisitic with planning, get- limited natural resources.

Drought WATER WARS OF THE SOUTH


Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been in court over the Chattahoochee River and the rivers Lake La-
ting water regulators talking with energy
regulators.
The energy sector adds immense
Watauga
The Town of Boone, located in
County, N.C., proposes

Brings About nier for decades. Water supply for Atlanta is the upstream issue; enough water for fisheries and shellfish, to build a water intake facility that
stress to river systems during the would pull up to four million gal-
particularly in the Apalachicola Bay, is the downstream issue for Florida and Alabama. A federal court ruled
warm months, a recent report by lons a day from a section of the New

Water Wars
in July that Congress would have to get involved in negotiating a deal within three years. Environmental
the Southern Environmental Law Rivers south fork frequented by ca-
attorneys said this was a resounding wake-up call for Georgia.
Center said. noers, kayakers and fly fishermen. The
Georgia and Tennessee have been in court over the state boundary line. Apparently the original line was in
The center, which is involved site is located near the county line. The
Story by Bill Kovarik error by about a mile, and that kept Georgias border away from the Tennessee River. In the unlikely event that
in several lawsuits related to water towns proposal which includes running
When Mark Twain famously the 192-year old error were to be corrected, Georgia would be able to draw water from the Tennessee.
useage, advocates greater plan- the water through its water treatment
said whiskey is for drinking; water North Carolina and South Carolina are in a lawsuit over a 10 million gallon per day transfer of water from also fear untreated waste pharmaceuticals idly approaching maximum
ning and protection for aquatic facility before returning it to the river
is for fighting, he was referring to the Catawba and Yadkin rivers to the Rocky River basin. North Carolina approved the transfer to accom- in the return water a growing concern capacity from its existing water
species. is awaiting review by state and federal
the American West. Today, water is modate development in the area east of Charlotte.
Weve urged states to take in many municipalities across the U.S. sources. The Town of Boone
South Carolina is fending off a suit by the Southern Enviornmental Law Center over re-licensing 13 hydro- agencies before an official 30-day public could cause environmental harm. implemented a voluntary water
also for fighting back East, as drought serious steps to do water planning
electric stations owned by Duke Energy. SELC says Dukes plan would reduce flows in the Catawba and comment period, but neighboring Ashe They also point to the New Rivers conservation program in 2005, an
cycles and increasing population lead on a watershed scale, ensuring
to intense competition for the remain- Wateree rivers to a level insufficient to maintain water quality and habitat for fish and other species. County residents are already organizing American Heritage River designation, effort that Public Utilities Director
flow, quality, and habitat, said Cat
ing supplies of water. The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill creating the Yadkin River Trust, which would in protest. which President Bill Clinton signed in Rick Miller calls successful. It has
McCue of SCLC. We need to get a
With average per capita water use allow the state to acquire and operate the rivers dams and recreational lakes rather than Alcoa Power Who owns the river? It belongs person in a ceremony along the rivers included rain barrel giveaways,
grip on land-use patterns that exacer-
in the South at 1,553 gallons per day Generating Inc. Alcoa has held federal license to control the river for the past 50 years. to everyone, said Mia Hartsook, banks in Ashe County. free home and business water au-
bate these water resource issues, and
and increasing experts are warning a resident of Fleetwood, an Ashe We feel Boone is making decisions dits, and educational sessions in the
NOT get distracted by chasing down
that the region will have to start taking County community just down- that are regional in terms of water rights public schools.
Virginia and Georgia, Holman and Richard Whisnant, a law professor at UNC big, expensive, engineered fixes like
conservation and planning seriously. stream from the proposed facility. and that will clearly affect Ashe County Despite conservation, Boones
but had to be voluntary Chapel Hill, authored a water allocation study last year dams and pipelines that are short-term and cause She and other residents, known
Water use in the rest of the country is 1,168 gallons per water system surpassed 80 percent of
in some others , such as the Carolinas and Alabama, where that recommended a permit system for water withdrawls more eco-problems down the road. as the New River Stewardship Impaired Rivers in
day and decreasing. capacity in 2006, at which point the N.C.
state regulations have been proposed but not passed. that would at least be similar to other states. Committee, have gathered TN, NC, VA, WV, KY
Meanwhile, paleo-climatologists believe that even without MORE INFORMATION Department of Environment and Natural
A more organized approach will be needed in the Many businesses are planning ahead for water re- more than 400 signatures on a
human-influenced climate change, the Southeast is looking at sogweb.sog.unc.edu/Water -- The UNC / Duke Univ- Good Resources recommended expansion. A
future, according to Bill Holman, director of state policy source risks, Holman said, so there are economic as well petition opposing the project,
increasing long-term drought. eristy Water Wiki keeps track of current events and 90 percent capacity is expected some-
at Duke Universitys Nicholas Institute for Environmental as environmental reasons for better science, better coor-
The drought of 2007-08 for example was considered the trends in water science and policy. including the signatures of time in 2009, at which point the state
Policy Solutions. dination of conservation efforts, and more centralized
worst since recordkeeping began in 1895. More than one www.wri.org/stories/2009/05/water-watts-south- Boone, N.C. residents and Impaired could impose a moratorium on new
Were in a transition to thinking about water as a regulations.
quarter of the region was covered by the National Weather east -- World Resources Institute - Water for Watts in out-of-state tourists. Not tested yet
water hookups.
scarce and valuable resource, said Holman. Just like carbon footprinting is a real trend, water the Southeast.
Service exceptional category. The response involved vol- The petitioners ques- A new study shows the towns
Our 20th-century water policy is inadequate for our footprinting is also an important trend for businesses, www.southernenvironment.org -- Keeps track of wa-
untary and mandatory water conservation measures, but tion the methodology used population doubling over the next
21st-century population and economy, said Holman. Holman said. ter resource lawsuits and issues. The report Drought
how effective they were is still not known. for projecting Boones future 50 years. Consultants said the pro-
The water resources that sustained a population of 4 Elliot Metzger, a policy analyst with World Resources in the South: Planning for a Water-Wise Future
Electric utilities which use two out of every three population and water needs, posed site is best from a location and
million in 1960 and barely sustained 9 million during the Institute, said that the East would have to learn to be more makes state drought and policy comparisons.
gallons in the region monitored water supplies closely as well as the scientific validity of Source US EPA Watershed Assessment
economic standpoint. The same firm,
2007-08 drought will have to sustain a population of over like the West when it came to water policy. The real focus snr.unl.edu/niwr -- National Institutes for Water Re-
to see if they would have to cut back production, as hap- data used by the town to determine and others. Were not opposed to growth, W.K. Dickson, was retained for the
12 million in 2030. in western states is on efficiency, on making sure that risk sources provides science based information on
pened in France during the heat wave of 2003. a state-by-state basis. the rivers flow rates. They claim but we feel everybody who is a stake- environmental assessment.
Whether that is possible or not remains to be seen. is mitigated with basic policy, Metzger said. They are
Conservation was mandatory in some states, like theres been little coordination with holder should be involved in the decision We considered reservoirs from
neighboring governments in the making, Hartsook said. Watauga Lake in Tennessee to the
Percentage of Southern counties in drought by year planning process and believe that According to a project description Yadkin River in North Carolina, as
withdrawing and returning water available on the Town of Boone website,
to the river could hurt tourism. They Continued on next page
the town learned in 2004 that it was rap-

August / September 2009 August / September 2009


Page 14 The Appalachian Voice

Excerpt from a new book: were far less adept (than Native Americans) written records of what occurred. during the 1950s, extinguish-
Heart of Dryness / By James G. Workman. at coping with protracted thirst. Queen Eliza- As water dried up, Jamestowns ing many rural economies.
Visit www.heartofdryness.com beths first settlers at Roanoke were last seen former London Gentlemen Over subsequent decades
--------------- on August 22, 1587, hungry and running out degenerated into thirst- wracked, the already arid Southwest
New hard evidence, accumulated from of water, during a dry spell so severe that it scurvy- ridden starving wretches and West grew increasingly
tree ring data and pollen counts, suggests even affected the native subsistence food turning on each other, killing and dry. Starting this century,
that devastating droughts have shattered of indigenous Croatoan tribes upon whom even eating members of their laypersons across America
human settlements, dating back to when the colonists depended. Three years later own family. have been observing every-
people first arrived in North America. they had vanished. Following centuries of Following those first unfor- day weather that seems hotter
Paleoclimatology remains a young and mystery, a recent tree ring reconstruction tunate colonies, the geographi- and drier than normal.
inexact science, and no one could pinpoint from A.D. 1185 to 1984 showed that the Lost cally blessed United States Scientists confirm that in
the precise stages at which high temperatures Colony precariously arrived at the onset of enjoyed an exceptionally cool, fact it is, and will likely worsen
and dryness caused local human extinctions. the regions driest three-year episode of the wet era during which it progressed from in the decades ahead. As we
But the correlation was sobering. last eight centuries. agricultural and mercantile economies humans burned and cleared vast forests,
Some 5,000 ago, flourishing Native Two decades later, 4,800 out of 6,000 through a postindustrial Information Age converted land to irrigation agriculture,
American cultures suffered prolonged ex- Jamestown colonists died in waves upon of 300 million highly urbanized people. and powered industrial growth with fossil
posure to climate only slightly hotter than their arrival. Early historians blamed the Even so, during the wettest century of the fuels, we were unwittingly baking the earth
it is today and nearly went extinct; for more deaths on dumb planning incompetence past millennium a few dry speed bumps in what appeared to be an irreversible pro-
than a millennium the Southwest was little and weak support, but scientists have now have profoundly destabilized Americans, cess. Our carbon emissions had thickened
more than one big ghost town. directly and precisely linked the sudden suggesting the level of risks water scarcity the relatively thin layers of the outer atmo-
A hot era that lasted from 800 to 1300 crash in native subsistence, peak mortal- held. A relatively mild six-year drought in sphere, trapping solar radiation. The effect
boosted medieval European agriculture but ity, domestic livestock deaths, and a rapid the 1930s wreaked agricultural and social resembled leaving our collective car in an
scorched much of pre-Columbian America. decline in drinking water to the driest mayhem throughout the Dust Bowl. exposed parking lot with windows sealed
Despite superior technology, immu- seven- year period in 770 years. Unlike A less acute but more widespread and kids locked inside.
nity, and weaponry, Americas first colonies the colonists at Roanoke, these settlers left drought pressed down across the Midwest

Proposed Water Intake Facility Near New River Concerns Downstream Residents
Continued from previous page in April 2009 that, if passed, would grant were dealing with, said George Santucci, threat, trust me, wed react.
Boone the right to construct and maintain executive director of the non-profit group When it comes to water usage and wa-
well as sites in the Watauga River basin. a water intake system in the waters and the National Committee for the New River. ter rights, Santucci said its easy to point to
These involved interbasin water transfer, submerged land of the South Fork of the His advocacy organization, which has municipalities as the problem while ignor-
a process that creates quite a few environ- New River notwithstanding any public trust fought development of the river in North ing the impact of housing developments
mental issues, Miller said. rights. The bill passed first reading in the Carolina and Virginia in the past, has outside town limits, which rely on wells.
The Town of Boone claims the proposed House and has been referred to the Water been involved with the Town of Boones Everyones actions impact the watershed,
site has sufficient water flow from which Resources and Infrastructure Committee, exploration of the proposed site. It has also and people need to own up to that and act
to withdraw water and still meet state and which Tarleton chairs. conducted its own research. At this point, in accordance. Rain barrels, cisterns, and
environmental requirements, based on Construction of the proposed facility Santucci said he doesnt see cause for an low-flow showerheads and toilets people
calculation methods approved by the N.C. cannot begin, however, until the environ- environmental battle. should have these in their own homes.
Department of Environment and Natural mental assessment is approved by the state The research weve done doesnt show Learn more about this local issue at:
Resources. and federal agencies. It is uncertain when any scientific data that the proposed water townofboone.net
Support for the project is being sought the agencies will be ready to announce their intake facility will have a significant nega- newriverstewards.blogspot.com
in the N.C. General Assembly where Rep. response. tive impact, Santucci said. If there were a smartnewspost.blogspot.com
Cullie Tarleton (D-93), who serves both Ashe Until the environmental assessment
and Watauga counties, introduced a bill report is made public, we dont know what

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August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 15

By George Santucci, Executive Director with a retired U.S. Navy vessel and heavy
National Committee for the New River conveyor equipment to move tons of trash
from Claytor Lake. Like the rest of the New
We started talking last year about a
River, Claytor Lakes biggest problem is
complete trip down the New, from Wa-
the ever-present development pressure.
tauga County, N.C., all the way to the
The Expedition also floated the river
confluence in West Virginia, to celebrate
in the Radford Army Arsenal section with
the rivers 10 years with the American
Lt. Col. Andy Munera and son Justin. The
Heritage designation.
Arsenals contribution to the pollution
At times we feared wed bit off more
of the New River is a major concern for
than we could chew; the logistics are daunt-
NCNR, as it is for officials at the Arsenal.
ing for such a trip and in these economic
Our float emphasized the importance of
times, all non-profits are keeping a close
continuing dialogue.
eye on expenses and bottom lines. But the
As we put in one morning, local fisher-
river called and volunteers came and our
man said Claytor Lake dam had released
members and supporters encouraged us .
water during the night; they thought the
We launched just outside Boone, N.C.,
water was up a full foot and a half. With
where the river is narrow but spectacular.
so many rapids due for the day, we hoped
Volunteer Tony Patchett , board president
the novices in our group would spend less
Henry Doss, Chris Rasmussen, and others Non-point source pollution from agricultural runoff presents a major problem along many Appalachian
time swimming and more time paddling
joined us. rivers, but is an issue that can be fixed with farm conservation measures. Photo by Bill Kovarik
as we continued our expedition.
During the first week, in Watauga
and Ashe counties, we passed many of Lake. Where homes are close to the river the New shifted from Christmas trees to
NCNR began their New River Expedition
our restoration projects. Over the last few banks, or where the banks are mowed to cattle. A little further long, Ronnie Pow-
on July 20 and will conclude in August. Visit
years weve planted or restored more than the edge, a great deal of erosion can be ers, president of the Friends of Claytor
www.ncnr.org and click through to their Face-
69 miles of New River and tributary banks, observed. Lake, took the expedition crew out on his
book Causes page and Twitter account (www.
creating riparian buffers and correcting If only property owners understood pontoon boat. He and volunteers run a
twitter.com/ncnewriver).
erosion problems. Overdevelopment, the that grooming the banks of their property sophisticated cleanup operation complete
result of poor or non-existent land plan- is a guarantee theyll be sending their own
ning, is the New Rivers greatest threat land downstream. The runoff carries nutri-
these days.
Further along, we passed sections of
ents from fertilizers and other pollution
elements which healthy riparian buffers
Western North Carolina
the river where very large new homes are naturally filter. The river was often muddy Renewable Energy Initiative
being built, often in posh developments (in when hard rains preceded us, especially in
spite of the housing downturn). The pres- areas of Ashe County, N.C..
2009 Renewable Energy Workshops
sure is only increasing as available land There are also places on the river that
appropriate for development disappears have been traditionally used as dumps -
particularly for tires. The efforts of NCNR
August 22 - Solar Thermal with Brian Raichle
and land which would normally remain
vacant becomes valuable as riverfront Clean Ups in North Carolina and excellent
property. and very active groups like ReNew the August 26 - PV and the National Electric Code
This is especially true in areas of what New in Giles County, Va., are helping to with John Wiles - CEU credits available
could be called suburbia; on golf courses improve the trash situation overall.
like the one on the outskirts of Radford in As we ventured from North Carolina September 12 - Small Wind with Brent Summerville
Virginia, or along the shores of Claytor into the heart of Virginia, farms along

September 26 - 27 - Solar Thermal with Chuck Marken


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& October 2 - 3 - 4
- Weekend NABCEP Entry Level PV Course

Register at Bachelors and Masters degree programs available


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828-262-2744

August/September 2009
Page 16 The Appalachian Voice

Story by Sarah Vig tal and public health ramifications of coal slurry
injection.
In a partial victory for citizens and environmen-
Once the DEP released its report, a moratorium
tal groups opposed to the process, the West Virginia
was declared on new injection permits, although
Department of Environmental Protection declared a
13 currently operating slurry injection sites will be
two-year moratorium on new permits for disposing
allowed to continue.
of coal slurry by injecting it into abandoned mines.
Coal slurry is a byproduct of coal preparation, Though SSP sees the study itself and the tempo-
a mixture of fine coal particles and water, as well rary moratorium as a step in the right direction, the
as the chemicals used to remove impurities from group doesnt feel the DEP has gone far enough.
the coal before it is sold. The solution the DEP has come up with is
Three citizen groups in West Virginia, the inadequate, said Maria Lambert, a representative
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River for SSP. People are going to be left with the same
Mountain Watch and Concerned Citizens in Mingo health issues for as long as companies are allowed
County, formed the Sludge Safety Project (SSP) to to inject slurry under existing permits.
spread awareness about what they see as insuf- There is one solution to fixing the problem
ficient regulation. of coal slurry contamination in West Virginia,
Members of the Sludge Safety Project successfully argued for a reconsideration
After many hours of citizen lobbying, the state Lambert stated in response to the DEPs announced of slurry injection and, so far, have partially stopped the practice. Photo by
legislature asked the DEP to evaluate environmen- plans, a ban on all slurry. Vivian Stockman

primary water source.


That was heartbreaking for
me, Lloyd says. He had built
Stories by Sierra Murdoch the pond for his grandchildren to
camp and fish like he had done
Maria Lambert in the mountains, decades before
Sand Lick, W. Va. when the peaks were still intact.
Regional inspectors fined Nal-
Maria Lambert was born in the coal camps at the
ly & Hamilton and gave the com-
head of Prenter Hollow. When she moved down the road
pany 30 days to remove Lloyds
to Sand Lick in 2000, her father drilled a well. He tested
pond. But Lloyds grievance ad-
the water and found it safe to drink.
dressed one of many company
In 2003, Massey Energy began blasting the ridge
violations, and his was evaded
over Prenter Hollow. The first time her house shook,
like the rest.
Lambert says, boards fell from the ceiling. The next day,
A year after the incident, Ken-
she noticed orange slime and blackened water coming
Maria Lambert of Prenter Hollow in Sand Lick, W.Va., shows a sample of her tap water tuckians for the Commonwealth
through her homes waterline. contaminated by nearby miningand the countless jugs of water she must now carry to her found and publicized Lloyds story,
Many months later, Lamberts mother gathered a home every day for cooking, drinking, etc. Photo by Paul Corbit Brown
connecting him with the Kentucky
meeting of neighbors who had polluted wells. Lambert
then, Lambert says, Im waiting on our governor to say, Im Resources Council. After two years,
discovered that in Sand Lick and neighboring commu-
sorry, Im not going to let this happen to anyone else. Nally & Hamilton has agreed to compensate Lloyd and
nities Hopkins Fork, Prenter, Laurel Creek an abnor-
rebuild his pond, a process that could take 10 years.
mally high proportion of citizens had gallbladder and
kidney disease, intestinal disorders, and cancer. These Elmer Lloyd But for Lloyd, this isnt just about his fishpond. Its
about protecting his neighbors from poisoned water
ailments affected residents of all ages. Benham, Ky. when they wont speak out themselves: I dont believe
Lambert suspected that a possible cause of the poor
Elmer Lloyd calls himself a lost-and-found man. Hes in giving up on something I know is right.
water quality and health was a slurry injection, located
52, back bent from 15 years in the mines. If his property
three miles from her house, adjacent to the blasting site.
Slurry the wastewater produced when coal is washed with
hadnt flooded three years ago when Nally & Hamilton Erica Urius
began blasting the mountain above his home, he wouldnt
chemicals to prepare it for use had been pumped back into Phyllis, Ky.
have thought twice about strip mining. Now Lloyds seen
an abandoned underground mine. In addition to chemicals, Erica Urius worried about strip mining long before
whats happened to his water as a result of it, and hes
slurry contains high amounts of the heavy metals found in her water smelled like rotten eggs. TECO Coal began
spoken out.
coal, including arsenic, mercury, and selenium. blasting above her hollow in the mid-nineties. Heavy
In 1993, Lloyd built a pond behind his home and
With Coal River Mountain Watch, the Ohio Valley truck traffic rutted the roads.
stocked it with fish. Thirteen years later, his fish died due
Environmental Coalition and her neighbors, Lambert cre- With help from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
to sediment run-off from the strip mine above his home.
ated the Prenter Water Fund (prenterwaterfund.org), which (KFTC), Urius organized community meetings and pro-
When the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Service tested the
supplies clean water to polluted communities in the area. By
pond, they told Lloyd that it was dead and he should Continued on page 18
next April, the communities expect to have city water. Until
have it removed. The pond drained into Cumberlands
August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 17

Story by Sarah Vig A 2009 study by the USGS for private well owners in Central Ap-
found that more than 20 palachia. According to the USDA Natural
You would think for small,
percent of domestic drinking Resources Conservation Service, over
rural communities in central water wells had one or more
50 percent of the private drinking water
Appalachia, water from a contaminants above a human-
health benchmark. Sampling sites wells in the Appalachian area of Kentucky
private wellavailable at the
with contamination issues are marked are contaminated with disease-carrying
fairly low cost of maintaining
in red, sample sites that were unaffected pathogens as a result.
a well and without the hassle
in white. Image courtesy of USGS. The EPA recommends that well own-
of a monthly billwould be a
ers get their water tested annually, after
blessing.
Other regional concerns arise from floods, or if otherwise suspicious of con-
And if it werent for mining
high concentrations of agricultural or tamination. Annual tests are important
operations, slurry injections, ra-
industrial activity in certain areas. High for both ensuring the safety of private
don-rich aquifers, and an often drinking water supplies and establishing
levels of agricultural activity can lead
poorly managed private sewage documentation of contamination issues.
to higher concentrations of nitrates in
system, you might be right. Though home test kits are available,
the water; mining may increase heavy
Whereas public water sources are The results of this study are important
metal contamination. well owners should contact their local
tested for contaminants regularly (several because they show that a large number of
In a 2005 study published by Water, health departments for information on
times a day in some cases) and are regu- people may be unknowingly affected, said well testing. Often, county health depart-
Air, and Soil Pollution nearly half of the
lated by EPA-set standards, water from Matt Larsen, USGS Associate Director for Wa- ments will help perform basic tests for
179 tested wells from across the Appala-
private wells have no such insurance. ter. Greater attention to the quality of drink- bacteria and nitrates. If not, or if more tests
chian region (eastern Kentucky, western
Private wells, the source of drinking ing water from private wells and continued are required, they should be able to pro-
West Virginia, southern Ohio, and northern
water for 15 percent of U.S. residents, are public education are important steps toward vide contact information for state-certified
Tennessee) had detectable levels of arsenic.
not regulated; their monitoring and safety the goal of protecting public health. Six percent of these had levels exceeding the labs. These labs provide testing kits and
is the sole responsibility of the owner. The study also showed trends in con- EPA MCL of 10 parts per billion. conduct sample analysis.
Though well-maintained, regularly tamination based on geologic characteris- Poor sewage management, including You can find one in your area by call-
tested wells are generally safe to drink tics of aquifers. Radon, for example, a ra- large numbers of straight pipes which ing the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at
from, recent studies indicate that contami- dioactive gas that can dissolve in water was send untreated sewage directly into surface 800-426-4791 or visiting www.epa.gov/
nant levels in domestic wells may be an found at relatively high concentrations in water supplies, is also an area of concern safewater/labs.
area of concern for public health. crystalline-rock aquifers in the Northeast,
In a March 2009 study, the United in the central and southern Appalachians,
States Geological Survey (USGS) found and in central Colorado. According to the
that more than 20 percent of sampled study, about 30 percent of wells in these
domestic wells contained one or more regions had radon levels above the EPA-
contaminants at a concentration greater recommended human-health benchmark,
than an EPA Maximum Contaminant compared to 4.4 percent nationally. Radon
Limit (MCL) or other human-health exposure has been linked to the develop-
benchmark. ment of lung cancer.

Well Contamination Checklist


Conditions or Nearby Activities: Test for:
Recurring gastro-intestinal illness Coliform bacteria
Household plumbing contains lead pH, lead, copper
Radon in indoor air or region is radon rich Radon
Corrosion of pipes, plumbing Corrosion, pH, lead
Nearby areas of intensive agriculture Nitrate, pesticides, coliform bacteria
Coal or other mining operations nearby Metals, pH, corrosion
Gas drilling operations nearby Chloride, sodium, barium, strontium
Dump, junkyard, landfill, factory, gas Volatile organic compounds, total dissolved
station, or dry-cleaning operation nearby solids, pH, sulfate, chloride, metals
Odor of gasoline or fuel oil, and near gas Volatile organic compounds
station or buried fuel tanks
Objectionable taste or smell Hydrogen sulfide, corrosion, metals
Stained plumbing fixtures, laundry Iron, copper, manganese
Salty taste and seawater, or a heavily salted Chloride, total dissolved solids, sodium
roadway nearby
Scaly residues, soaps dont lather Hardness
Rapid wear of water treatment equipment pH, corrosion
Water softener needed to treat hardness Manganese, iron
Water appears cloudy, frothy, or colored Color, detergents
August/September 2009
Page 18 The Appalachian Voice

running orange, and now the mountains


are stripped to gravel and grass. The pool
Continued from page 16 their pump and found it coated with a Urius. With KFTCs support, she contacted
where the Exeter Methodist Church once
black, oily sheen. Researchers from Eastern TECO Coal, and the company began deliv-
baptized its congregation has filled with
tests, and filed grievances against TECO Kentucky University tested the water it ering water from city taps to her home.
silt. Just across the road from town, the
Coal. She and her neighbors slowly earned contained over 100 times the safe levels of Urius has requested direct access to
slope is clear-cut in preparation for moun-
the companys wary attention. arsenic, in addition to high levels of iron, city water, but she lives remotely, and
taintop removal mining.
In 2004, TECO began blasting the mercury, and manganese. digging a waterline would be expensive.
Bush has asked the Virginia Depart-
ridge above Uriuss home. Not long after, At the time, Uriuss daughter was TECO Coal tried drilling the family an-
ment of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) to
Urius and her husband noticed something three years old, and the orange stains in the other well, but the water still ran orange.
test the water around Exeter for toxins and
different about their water. They checked bathtub, sinks, and toilet deeply concerned I think TECO thought wed just get
heavy metals. The VDEQ has mostly denied
quiet after a while, says Urius. But my
his requests.
daughter will be six this month, and I still
But Bush has seen the orange water
cant let her play in the tub. So we still
before in other mountain-stripped regions
believe in what were fighting for.
the color could indicate heavy metals and
a highly acidic pH.
Larry Bush After repeated calls, Bush convinced
Exeter, Va. two biologists from the VDEQ to observe
Larry Bush is quick to say that coal has the stream behind his house. They as-
been good to him his father was a miner, sessed the streams biological diversity,
as was he. He recalls picking blackberries and concluded that it was critically low
down by the streambed near Exeter and the stream was essentially dead.
hunting with his father in the mountains With Southern Appalachian Mountain
above the coal camp. Wed wash the Stewards, Bush is working to gather commu-
squirrels in the water and drink right out nity support against the Exeter mine. Ive
of the stream, says Bush. got three grandkids, he says, and I dont
But in 1999, the streambed started want them living in a desolate wasteland.

August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 19

Editorials
Unequal Justice in the Coalfields
In the long and troubled history of Appalachias coal fields, violence
between the industry and its critics in the labor and the environmental
movements is not unusual. What needs to be understood now, however,
is that the cycle of violence is escalating with the strong encouragement
of the coal industry.
Just this summer, events caught on video include:
Coal industry thugs openly threatening to cut childrens throats at a
picnic on Kayford Mountain;
Judy Bonds, a Goldman Prize winner, getting socked in the face by
an angry counter-demonstrator;
Coal miners screaming threats of violence at demonstrators, includ-
ing NASA scientist James Hanson, movie star Daryll Hannah and
former WV Congressman Ken Heckler;
Someone named superhippieslayer on YouTube urging people to
shoot and hang environmental activists;
Events have taken such a serious turn that the West Virginia Council
of Churches issued a statement this July and asked the governor to step
in. Gov. Joe Manchin did make a weak and perfunctory statement that
violence would not be tolerated, but no one has been charged for making
public death threats, and the counter-demonstrator who attacked Judy
Bonds in plain view was given the lightest possible charge. When police
protection is needed for demonstrators, it is frequently unavailable.
Letters to the editor
In contrast, activists arrested in protests are facing criminal conspiracy Appalachian Voice welcomes letters to the editor and comments on our website. Letters are subject to editing
charges and heavy fines. Journalists who trespass while covering protests due to space limitations (letters can be read in full on our website). The views expressed in these letters, and in
are having their cameras and equipment confiscated. Instant police pres- personal editor responses, are the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily the views of the organization
ence at demonstrations is a given. Appalachian Voices. Write to editor@appvoices.org.
In short, the West Virginia state government is performing as a sub-
ordinate branch of the coal industry, administering unequal justice in an
escalating climate of violence. More News, Less Fluff numerous journals, magazines, and on the
Dear Editor, internet. I dont expect to find in this kind
of newsletter articles about kayaking, trail
Dirty Coal Forgeries A number of years ago while visiting
the Southern Appalachians for birding building, and gardening. This information
Just when we thought the debate over clean coal couldnt get and botanizing, I picked up a copy of your can easily be found elsewhere.
any dirtier, the news breaks that pro-coal lobbying groups have been newsletter and I have been an avid reader But the remainder of the June/July 2009
caught forging letters to Congress. They have opposed carbon trading of it ever since. It has encouraged me to issue is VERY interesting and appropriate.
in the name of civil rights groups, university women and the aging, take many trips to the area since, which, of It contains much information about events
appropriating their logos and making up names of staff members. course, helps the local economy in many and issues that concern the Appalachian
The harder investigators look at the American Coalition for Clean ways. Being a conservationist and preserva- region that I cannot find elsewhere.
Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and its subcontractors, the more forgeries tionist, I look forward to every issue in order I would hope that in the future you
they are finding. Its nothing less than an Anti-American Corrupt and to keep abreast of things that are going on will stress the environmental issues in your
Corrosive Conspiracy Effort. in one of the critical natural environments newsletter and leave the peopleactivity
Even with all the heated rhetoric this summer, such as the nonsense
on our planet. articles to other publications where they are
about the elderly facing death committees under reformed health more appropriate. Of course, I realize that in
However, in some of the recent issues I
care, the ACCCE forgeries have registered a new low on the American order to make a publication viable and not
feel that you are seriously straying from the
political barometer. lose money, one has to occasionally publish
original intent of the newsletter and from
ACCCE has done our country, our communities, and our very items that are attractive to the masses who
the kinds of news that those of us working
democracy a great disservice. This is a time of unprecedented change will make monetary contributions. How-
in the environmental field crave to read and
in Appalachia, and as our coal supplies decline and our economy di- ever, in my opinion you went overboard in
become familiar with. The June/July 2009
versifies, we need to shareideas on how best to shape the future of our the [June/July] issue.
[issue] is a case in point. Other than some
region.
We all need to do so in the spirit of honest public debate and vigor- interesting, appropriate, and necessary
advertisements, the first nine pages contain Sincerely yours,
ous collaboration with fellow citizens. Our future is too important to be
the types of articles that one can find in Richard C. Rosche
decided by fraud and forgeries.

August/September 2009
Page 20 The Appalachian Voice

G RANDFATHER M OUNTAIN
Nature on aWhole Different Level
Call 800-468-7325 for a detailed Backcountry Map 800-468-7325
US 221, one mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305 Linville, NC

August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 21

Naturalists Notebook
can find no evidence of fireflies the size of

The Firefly Phenomena bumblebees or hummingbirds. They can


be up to an inch long, but even the largest
firefly wouldnt produce a light the size
Story by Alison Singer their lights as entrapment. Fe- of what I witnessed. Maybe I found a new
For me, the mystique of fireflies be- males of the Photuris genus use species. Maybe my eyes played tricks on
gan in childhood. We went outside with their flash patterns to attract me, maybe I had had a little too much
our mason jars, captured the beckoning males of other firefly species, wine; but my friend was there toogiving
lights with open palms. We held them who they then devour. While me a valuable witness.
under our blankets, or sleeping bags, and this may sound familiar to some Now the thing I find most fascinat-
Photo ABdesigns
watched their flickering lights as we faded of you (in a metaphorical sense, ing about fireflies is their ability to bring
into sleep. of course), scientists are unsure fers slightly in its synchrony, though ap- wonder to even the most grown up of
I used to name all the fireflies I caught of the females motivations. One reason proximately six-second intervals are com- grown-ups. You can know the facts: their
Pete. Whether this was a result of lack of could be that, by targeting species that mon. The purpose for this synchronization light is created from a bioluminescent reac-
creativity or some uncanny affinity for generate bad-tasting chemicals within their is unclear, though scientists hypothesize it tion; they communicate with other fireflies
the name, I cant remember, but I at least bodies, they can absorb the chemicals for has to do with mating. with their flickers; they can be violent and
had the gender right; female fireflies often themselves, thus becoming more distaste- For a time, I thought my own fas- deceitful; they arent flies at all, but beetles;
dont fly at all. ful to predators. cination with fireflies had ended along they are actually very small. We can know
All through the summer their lights Another unexplained flashing phe- with my childhood. I grew up, and I did all that, but the sight of one flash in the
begin at dusk, soaring and swooping, nomenon is the synchronization that oc- more important things than hang out in darkening sky is still enough to become
flashing and flickering. Males perform curs among some species, particularly in backyards and chase bugs. Then, I saw a that child again, wanting only to capture
intricate flying and blinking patterns; Southeast Asia. In the mid-nineties, locals giant firefly. that source of light.
the stationary females give their own in Elkmont, Tenn., contacted scientists I was sitting on my porch in the evening Tonight, if its still warm, I encourage
patterned flash responses. The flashing about the synchronized fireflies that be- when I spotted it. It was flitting around you step outside, listen to the crickets and
patterns are species-specific, a useful trait gin each June. Since then, synchrony has behind some trees, maybe 50 feet in the air. frogs and the whisper of bat wings, watch the
since there are more than 2,000 species of also been discovered at high elevations of Glowing intermittently. It looked to be a last pink light sink behind the trees, and look
fireflies in the world. the southern Appalachians, in Congaree firefly the size of a hummingbird, or perhaps for blinking lights. And, if you catch one, tell
Swamp in South Carolina, and along the it was an enormous glowing bumblebee. him to say hello to my friend Pete.
Some devious she-flies actually use
Georgia coast. Each firefly population dif- I dont know what I saw that night. I

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August/September 2009
Page 22 The Appalachian Voice

INSIDE APPALACHIAN VOICES


Appalachian Coalfield Delegation Travels to Colombian Coal Region
Part 1 of a 3 part series that, the coal companies had destroyed an important
economic center and shut the remaining communities
Story by Sandra Diaz out of the land they have traditionally used for hunting
This June, I was fortunate enough to visit the and fishing, forcing them to ask for relocation.
Colombian coalfields with a delegation of people The negotiation process has been going on for sev-
from across the U.S., including citizens from the Ken- eral years, with little progress until recently.
tucky coalfields. The trip was organized by Witness El Cerrejon has hired a new Manager of Social Re-
for Peace, a group which sends delegations to bear sponsibility, Paul Warner, who has specialized in com-
witness and support communities working against munity engagement in other land relocation scenarios.
corporate and government abuses. We were able to meet with Mr. Warner and go on a tour
The delegation spent time seeing the areas natural of the mine.
beauty and the unnatural destruction caused by min- It seems that Cerrejon has been paying strict atten-
ing. We also spent several days visiting communities tion to things like reclamation and wildlife services, but
directly impacted by the two biggest coal mining com- Sandra Diaz of Appalachian Voices, far right, stands with the not as much to the rights of the indigenous and Afro-
plexes in Colombia, El Cerrejon, owned by a consortium Witness for Peace delegation at the El Cerrojon mine complex. Colombian communities. Hopefully, Paul Warner will
of multinationals, and El Descanso, owned by Drum- change that, but it is still too early to tell.
mond, an Alabama-based company. Witness for Peace Appalachian communities are fighting to stay on their The connections between Colombian and Central
has been working with the communities affected by El Cer- land. This is because of the different way mineral rights Appalachian coal-impacted communities was striking.
rejon for a while, and have recently started to do outreach are governed. One McRoberts, Ky. resident on the tour was particularly
in La Loma, the community affected by Drummond. In Colombia, mineral rights are government-owned, affected. I went fully expecting to see all these differ-
Listening to the community members in the Colom- no matter who owns the land. In an action called expro- ences between my coal community and the Colombian
bian coalfields tell their stories, I sensed a similar tie to priation, the government can forcibly take land away for coal communities, said Willa Johnson, instead I found
the land as there is in communities in the Appalachian corporate interest. The town of Tabaco, a trading hub for more similarities then I ever expected. Coming back home
coalfields. However, the communities located near the surrounding villages, was forcibly and violently razed I realized how much of a human rights issue this is, and
Colombian coal mines are fighting to be relocated, while in August 2001 for the Cerrejon mine expansion. With that we need to act now to protect our people.

Virginia Office Helps The Town of Dendron


Are you a To speed the approval process of a from Appalachian Voices and the Wise Energy

Steward?
proposed 1500-megawatt coal-fired power Coalition, citizens have led the fight for a
plant in the small town of Dendron, Va., locally-based planning commission, knocking
the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative on virtually every door in Dendron to ensure
(ODEC) and the pro-coal Surry County residents were aware of tthe decision.
Board of Supervisors presented an ordi- When the ordinance came up for a
Chances are, your piece of the Appalachian Forest didnt nance to the Dendron Town Council to vote, it was standing room only. By a 3-2
come with an owners manual. Your forest is an investment have the Surry County Board of Supervi- margin, ODECs ordinance was rejected.
for you and your family. It also comes with a responsibility sors serve as a planning commission to Instead, the town council vested itself
for good stewardship. Thats why we made a handbook help the town with various studies, with the legal power to make a decision
that gives you the knowledge and resources you need assist in expertise, and make the ultimate on the plant.
to make smart decisions about your forest. decision on the plants approval. The fight is not over, but Dendron has
But residents who learned of this prop- kept the ultimate decision in their hands.
2nd
nd edition
osition were hesitant to surrender their Visit wiseenergyforvirginia.org for

Managing sovereignty to the Board of Supervisors.


With the help of community organizers
details on Appalachian Voices coalition-
based work on this and other issues.
Your
Woodlands k you for Dining O
A Guide for Southern
hanThanks for Dining Out! ut!
Produced
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by: Appalachian Landowners T Appalachian Voices would like to
thank the following restaurants for participating
in our Annual Dine Out for the Mountains by donating
AppAlAchiAn Voices Now with a FREE DVD: a portion of their Earth Day proceeds to our cause!
To
To get
get your
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copy: Landowners Guide to
Sustainable Forestry - from the Boone Bagelry Dos Amigos Our Daily Bread
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or
or contact:
contact: 1-877-APP-VOICE
1-877-APP-VOICE Model Forest Policy Program Canyons Restaurant Joes Italian Kitchen Reids Cafe
forestry@appvoices.org
forestry@appvoices.org CiCis Pizza Makotos The Gamekeeper

August/September 2009
The Appalachian Voice Page 23

INSIDE APPALACHIAN VOICES


Operation Medicine Cabinet: Saving the River and Kids from Drugs
Donna Lisenby, our Upper Watauga substances will also be taken with no ques- use over the past several years has been Prozac, and antibiotics and estrogen.
Riverkeeper, has teamed up with organi- tions asked. in prescription drug use, most commonly Partners in Operation Medicine Cabi-
zations in Watauga County, NC to offer Takeback locations will be available obtained by raiding a family members or net include The Upper
the first ever prescription drug take-back at three Food Lion stores in Watauga friends medicine cabinet. Watauga Rivereeper,
day on Saturday, October 3 from 9 a.m. County: the Hwy 321 store in Boone, the As well, because local Boone Drug, The Wa-
to noon. Hwy 421 Deep Gap store, and the Blow- water treatment facili- tauga River Conserva-
Dubbed Operation Medicine Cabinet, ing Rock store. The event will be held ties are not set up to fil- tion Partners, Watauga
the event is designed to safely dispose of in conjunction with the countys annual ter prescription drugs, County Sheriffs Depart-
drugs and keep them out of the hands of Hazardous Household Waste day from 9 an emerging threat to ment, Boone,Police Dept,
children and out of our water. a.m. to 2 p.m. our waterways is the NC Cooperative Extension
Anyone with outdated or unused pre- The disposal of prescription drugs increasing evidence of Service, Town of Boone Utili-
scription drugs, syringes or other medical has long been a dilemma, and many home prescription drug resi- ties Department, the DEA, North
supplies are invited to drop these off at medicine cabinets contain unused or due in the rivers. Tests Carolina SBI, Mountainkeepers, and
the take-back centers. The event has been outdated medications. Among teenagers, have found blood pressure Watauga County Solid Waste/Recycling
declared as an amnesty day, so controlled one of the highest increases in illegal drug medicine, mood-enhancement drugs like Department.

Voices from the Field: Citizen activists speak about what inspires them to stand up and take action
Lorelei Scarbro is no strang- living in the area where AV: With difficulties, including threats what you have done. Many of us would
er to the economic support they mine. But I say, we and anger from your neighbors, why not have had the courage to do what we
coal mining has brought to dont live where they have you not just given up? do without what [Larry] has done.
West Virginia. Her grand- mine coal, they mine coal LS: I have a five-year-old granddaugh-
AV: What is the worst experience you
father, father, and husband where we live. ter and it pains me to think of the quality
have had during this time?
of water she will have to drink and the
were all underground min- AV: If your husband LS: I cannot think of any one incident
air she will have to breathe when she is
ers. She is also no stranger were alive, what do but the hardest thing is watching people
you think he would say of child-bearing age if we dont stop this.
to its downsides. Black lung suffer adverse health effects due to coal.
about mountaintop re- It is not about me. I have a responsibility
made her a widow before I watched my husband struggle for
moval coal mining? to do all I can to leave this world a bet-
she turned 50, and now every breath until his last with black
LS: My husband ter place than I found it for her and the
the threat of mountaintop lung, I have friends who live in com-
was a very proud under- generations to come after me. That being
removal mining, slurry im- munities where large numbers of them
ground union coal miner said, I cant stop.
poundments, coal dust, and have terminal illnesses, and I fear for my
and he was also very con- AV: What is the best experience you have
tainted water loom heavy on own longevity because of water and air
nected to and protective of had during your time as an activist?
her community of Rock Creek, W. Va. Now 54, contamination.
Lorelei is one of the most dedicated coalfield
this place. He loved the land and grew up LS: Standing with Larry Gibson [a
living off it. He quit school when he was 16 AV: Who would you say is your hero or
activists in the fight to end mountaintop re- fellow coalfield activist] in D.C. on March heroine, and why?
years old to work in the mines to help his 2, 2009...we turned and looked down the
moval. She travels monthly to Washington to LS: The people who risk their lives
parents feed and clothe his brothers and street to see 2,500 people coming toward us
meet with legislators about critical legislation expecting nothing in return to stop moun-
his sister. He harvested coal because it was standing in solidarity against the evils that
that would put a federal ban on valley fills, part taintop removal. There are a lot of them
the only way to make a living, but he never are inflicted upon us by the coal industry.
of the process of mountaintop removal where but Larry Gibson in particular is my hero
did anything to harm the land. He would Because of his 20+ years in this battle and
literally tons of exploded mountain are depos- and the biggest man I have ever met.
ited in mountain valleys as a crude, destructive
be outraged [about mountaintop removal] all that he has sacrificed I told him, Look
form of waste disposal. Lorelei spoke with
and very proud of me for the stand I have
taken to protect the land he loved.

APPALACHIAN VOICES
The Voice about mountaintop removal, activ-
ism, and what inspires her to fight. AV: How long have you been an activ-
ist?
AV: Why did you first decide to go to
Washington to advocate for an end to LS: I started as a community activist
mountaintop removal? on another issue in early 2001. The local New and Renewing Business League Members
LS: I believe what is happening here Board of Education decided to implement
a planned closure for our local high school. June 2009-July 2009
[in central Appalachia] is a social justice
issue and a crime against nature. I know Some of my closest friends and I decided
Gaines Kiker Silversmith ..... Blowing Rock NC Capones Pizza ..... Boone NC
the people in Washington, D.C., have the that was not a good idea and we engaged
Dancing Moon Bookstore ..... Boone NC Red Onion Cafe ..... Boone NC
power to stop this. Unless we are there in a two and a half year battle to stop it.
Gladiola Girls ..... Boone NC The Bead Box ..... Boone NC
telling them how [mountaintop removal] We won the battle and lost the war. Today,
The Mustard Seed Market ..... Blowing Rock Rexel of Boone ..... Boone NC
impacts the lives of real living, breathing the coal company is removing the top of
the mountain behind where the school The Looking Glass Gallery ..... Boone NC
human beings, they dont know. The coal
industry tells them there are no people used to sit. We encourage you to patronize members of the Business League.
To become a business member visit www.AppalachianVoices.org or call us toll free at 877-APP-VOICE
August/September 2009
Page 24 The Appalachian Voice

Non-Profit
APPALACHIAN VOICE Organization
191 Howard Street US Postage Paid
Boone, NC 28607 Permit No. 294
www.appalachianvoices.org Boone, NC

WATER CONSERVATION is all well and good, but there are certain essentials, such
as a cool shower during the dog days of August. Bonnie, a golden retriever, enjoys
a charity dog wash at the Radford, Va. city farmers market sponsored by Grace
Church. Low-flow nozzles and a conscientious approach to saving water will make
sure that there is enough for future dog washes. (Photo by Bill Kovarik)

GET INVOLVED environmental & cultural events in the region

WNCREI trainings Rangers, Acoustic Syndicate and Yo Mamas ................................ include: Patty Loveless, The Dan Tyminski
Appalachian State University and the Big Fat Booty Band will join 15 regional west- Band, Dr. Dog, Gene Watson, Tim OBrien,
ern NC acts on three stages. The student-run Daniel Boone Days Darrell Scott, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band,
Western North Carolina Renewable Energy
green event festival boasts a solar-powered Friday Sept 4th, 2009 and Saturday Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Scythian, Sierra
Initiative invite you to attend their upcoming
stage, precise recycling and waste disposal Sept 5th, 2009: Join Boone, NC for the 2nd Hull & Highway 111, Larry Keel & Natural
2009 renewable energy workshops: Satur-
programs. A portion of the proceeds from Annual Daniel Boone Days Music & Culture Bridge, and many, MANY more! Visit www.
day August 22nd - Solar Thermal with Brian
this years festival will go to the Appalachian Festival. Performances by Larry Keel and bristolrhythm.com for more information.
Raichle, Wednesday August 26th - PV and
Institute for Renewable Energy (AIRE) and the Natural Bridge, Donna the Buffalo, Upright ................................
the National Electric Code with John Wiles,
Appalachian Energy Center. Limited camping & Breathin, The Forget-Me-Nots & Randell
Saturday September 12th - Small Wind with
is available. Cisit www.musiconthemountain- Jones, and more! Also featuring: The Wa- LEAF
Brent Summerville, September 18th-20th and
top.com. For more information about AIRE, tauga Arts Council 2nd Annual Fiddlers Oct 15th - 18th, 2009: The Lake Eden
October 2nd-4th (Friday evening through
visit www.aire-nc.org. Competition, kid activities, games, AirWalk, Arts Festival fall lineup is red hot! Exceptional
Sunday evening) - NABCEP Entry Level PV
................................ storytelling, living history, a Daniel Boone headliners include (DRUM ROLL!): Arrested
Course (NOTE: the full workshop includes
Look-Alike Contest, a World Record At- Development, Zap Mama, Cowboy Junkies,
both weekends), Saturday September 26th &
The Gathering of the tempt, and other fine merriments. Visit www. Alex Torres and His Latin Orchestra (Mexico),
Sunday September 27th - Solar Thermal with
Chuck Marken. Visit www.wind.appstate.edu/
Peacemakers danielboonedays.com for more information The Squirrel Nut Zippers, Los Amigos In-
Aug. 30-Sept.5: Join us for days of and news. visibles, Los De Abajo (Mexico), Battlefield
workshops/workshops.php for more informa-
conscious instruction and nights of conscious ................................ Band, Wild Asparagus & Notorious, Red Stick
tion and registration.
music. Workshops include: solar, wind, per- Ramblers, and more. Other activities include
................................ Bristol Rhythm and a Special Kids Village, performers including
maculture, organic gardening, holistic health,
Music on the meditation, yoga, creating loving unions, Roots Red Herring Puppets - a special Latin-themed
Sept 18th - 20th, 2009: Bristol, TNs puppet show, Jam Tent, a Poetry SLAM, Yoga
Mountaintop finding peace within chaos, expressing love
9th Annual Rhthym and Roots Reunion
in your worklife, and much more. At night & Healing Arts, workshops and more. For ad-
August 29: Held at the Old State Fair-
party w/ Inner Visions, Chalwa and Satta hosts some of the best artists in bluegrass, ditional information visit www.theleaf.com.
grounds in Boone, Music on the Mountaintop
Lion. Held at Camp Rockmont in Asheville/ Americana, jamgrass, traditional country, ................................
features stellar headliners and a green theme.
Blk. Mtn, NC. Info at www.onelovepress.com Celtic, Old-time, singer/songwriter, Piedmont
Sam Bush, Keller Williams, The Steep Canyon
or (828) 295-4610. Blues, and other music genres. Performers

August/September 2009