This note came from Dave Cooper, whose Mountaintop Removal Road Show made its way to Iowa along the way. There is no stauncher ally in advocating against mountaintop removal coal mining. Dave will be missed, but the work will go on.
Friends of the Appalachian Mountains,
After 9 years of traveling across America on the Mountaintop Removal Road Show, and after giving over 875 slide show presentations in 26 states to student, church and community groups about the destruction of the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia caused by mountaintop removal coal mining, I have decided to stop.
I was able to speak to tens of thousands of people over the past nine years – mostly college students – and I distributed nearly 4,000 free copies of my mountaintop removal DVD to students, teachers, public libraries and elected officials. I tabled at countless fairs and festivals, and distributed thousands of pamphlets and brochures about mountaintop removal. I mailed a monthly newsletter to over 25,000 people to keep them informed about important news and upcoming events. On the Mountain Justice You Tube channel that I created, I have gotten over 600,000 views. And images from my website have been featured in dozens of books, including several textbooks for school children.
I was fortunate to have many wonderful traveling companions with me on the road, but I will always remember fondly the time that I spent traveling with the late Larry Gibson and Judy Bonds. To all of the other folks who ever traveled with me, or helped set up speaking engagements, or hosted me in your home or fed me over the past nine years, I offer my sincere gratitude. It’s been a blast.
Doing the road show for nine years as an unpaid volunteer has had many rewards and I have made so many good friends, but it has also been mentally, physically and financially taxing. I have slept in cars, tents, parking lots, spare bedrooms, and way too many cheap motels. There have also been a few bedbugs. But your kindness and generosity over the years has kept me going.
I believe that we have successfully made mountaintop removal coal mining a well-known national issue. There have been countless books, magazine articles and films – and a really cool poster – made about the topic, and the state of the campaign against mountaintop removal is healthy. National environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Rainforest Action Network have pumped major energy, resources, legal expertise and funding into the campaign. The use of direct action that was the hallmark of Mountain Justice in the early days has now spread to the anti-fracking and the tar sands campaigns. And students across America continue to organize and pressure their administrations to shut down their coal plants and switch to clean energy on their campuses.
We haven’t stopped MTR yet, but the tide has turned: The percentage of America’s electricity generated by burning coal has now dropped from 50 percent to well below 40 percent. We have gone from a time when Vice President Cheney proposed building “one new power plant per week, every week, for the next twenty years” to a time when coal fired power plants are shutting down all over America. I hope it isn’t too late.
Other folks are still traveling and speaking – most notably Eric Blevins and the good folks at Mountain Keepers. If you would like to have a speaker from Appalachia come and speak to your student group, on your campus or at your church or community group, contact the Keepers of the Mountains by going to their website. This is Larry Gibson’s organization and I encourage you to support it with a donation. Eric Blevins was my stalwart travel partner for many years and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am still staying involved with the mountaintop removal issue by hosting students on Alternative Spring Breaks in eastern Kentucky. We have put together a great program that teaches students about coal and mountaintop removal, respect for the music, history, people and culture of Appalachia, and appreciation for the beauty of the mountains. We also do community service projects – planting trees on an abandoned strip mine site and weatherizing the homes of low-income residents to help reduce their electricity consumption.
In March we hosted three weeks of student groups from Northeastern University, St’ John Fisher College, Nazareth College, Drew University, University of Connecticut, University of Baltimore, UNC-Greensboro, and Harvard. We were fortunate to have some really great students this year. In May we will host Xavier University, then later in the year we will host the Gap Semester program for incoming students at Elon University, and also a group from Brandeis University.
You can read more and see some pics from our alternative spring break program here. We provide safe, clean indoor lodging, with all meals and a full week of activities. Trips are available year-round.
Right now I am planning the third annual Whippoorwill Festival – Skills for Earth-Friendly Living. This is a four day outdoor festival (Thursday – Sunday July 11-14) near Berea KY, that offers over 75 earth-friendly workshops, plus music and dancing in the evenings. You are invited!
Registration is now live for the 2013 festival, so I hope to see you there!
The Mountaintop Removal Road Show
Action Alert by Iowa PIRG.org, Iowa Public Interest Research Group:
Stand up for farmers who produce wind power in Iowa!
Iowa’s big utilities are cheating farmers who produce their own wind power in Iowa. Right now, farmers earn five times less for wind energy they generate than our utilities sell it for on the market. If we want to see Iowa move forward with smart energy solutions, farmers and all Iowans producing their own renewable energy deserve a fair price that should be set by the Iowa Utilities Board – not the utilities themselves.
Tell Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal to support farmers in Iowa who are doing the right thing, by making sure they can’t be taken advantage of by large utilities.
Show support for SF 372
Dear Senator Gronstal,
Please take advantage of this opportunity to support local ownership of energy generation by Iowa’s farmers by supporting SF 372 and bringing it to a vote before the full Senate.
This bi-partisan bill will help secure a fair and standard price for small-scale wind energy produced by farmers, and lowers hurdles that make it difficult for Iowa farmers to invest in wind. In turn – this necessary bill will also help grow our wind industry, support local rural economies, and increase our energy security by distributing electric generation.
It’s time to make smart energy choices for Iowa. Please make the right choice by supporting SF 372, and supporting farmers who produce their own wind energy.
Nuclear Power Plant in Muscatine County???
Wilton Community Center, 1215 Cypress Street Wilton, IA
Check out Say ‘NO’ to nuclear power in Muscatine County Iowa Facebook page:
*This issue will affect every community in Muscatine, Cedar, Scott, and Rock Island Counties*
In November of last year, MidAmerican Energy held a private meeting with owners of land adjacent to a proposed site for a new nuclear or natural gas power plant southeast of Wilton. It was closed to the public and the news media. As people who live in the community whithin the evacuation zone of this plant, we distributed a petition asking for the same courtesy to have an opportunity to see MidAmerican’s presentation and ask our questions. The petition was sent to MidAmerican with 275 signatures from Wilton, Muscatine, Durant and surrounding communities. MidAmerican has agreed to send a representative to our meeting.
MidAmerican will give a presentation on the proposed plant, and audience members will be able to ask questions and make comments. Representatives from the Muscatine, Cedar, and Scott County Board of Supervisors will be present.
Elected officials will share their comments.
Seating is limited, we recommend that you arrive early. Doors open at 6:00pm
For those unable to attend, the meeting will be recorded by MCC for rebroadcast on Muscatine Power & Water Digital TV Channel 9. Check their schedule for date and time.
This meeting is hosted by S.A.F.E (Saving America’s Farm Ground and Environment)
The location of the proposed new nuke is:
150th St & Sweetland Rd
Muscatine IA 52761
For more information, visit: Say ‘NO’ to nuclear power in Muscatine County Iowa Facebook page
And Still, in Iowa, just up the Road, and over the Hill, conveniently kept outta our moral sight, sits the Halo at Palo still glowing, still Glowing, still GLOWING…
SHUT DOWN the nuclear reactor at Palo!
March 11, 2013
“WE CAN AND MUST BAN NUCLEAR ARMS AND POWER….
AND MEDICINE?” Corinne Carey
…As health researcher Joe Mangano puts it: “Reports of rising numbers of West Coast infants with under-active thyroid glands after Fukushima suggest that Americans may have been harmed by Fukushima fallout. Studies, especially of the youngest, must proceed immediately.” …
Published on Monday, March 11, 2013 by Common Dreams: Fukushima’s Fallout Is Already Harming Our Children
by Harvey Wasserman
Thyroid abnormalities have now been confirmed among tens of thousands of children downwind from Fukushima. They are the first clear sign of an unfolding radioactive tragedy that demands this industry be buried forever.
Two years after Fukushima exploded, three still-smoldering reactors remind us that the nuclear power industry epeatedly told the world this could never happen.
And 72 years after the nuclear weapons industry began creating them, untold quantities of deadly wastes still leak at Hanford and at commercial reactor sites around the world, with no solution in sight.
Radiation can be slow to cause cancer, taking decades to kill.
But children can suffer quickly. Their cells grow faster than adults’. Their smaller bodies are more vulnerable. With the embryo and fetus, there can never be a “safe” dose of radiation. NO dose of radiation is too small to have a human impact.
Last month the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey acknowledged a horrifying plague of thyroid abnormalities, thus far afflicting more than forty percent of the children studied.
The survey sample was 94,975. So some 38,000 children are already cursed with likely health problems…that we know of.
A thyroid abnormality can severely impact a wide range of developmental realities, including physical and mental growth. Cancer is a likely outcome.
This is the tenth such study conducted by the prefecture. As would be expected downwind from a disaster like Fukushima, the spread of abnormalities has been increasing over time. So has the proportion of children with nodules that are equal to or larger than 5.1 mm. The number of cysts has also been increasing.
And the government has revealed that three cases of thyroid cancer have already been diagnosed in the area. All have been subjected to surgery.
Fukushima’s airborne fallout came to our west coast within a week of the catastrophe. It’s a virtual certainty American children are being affected. As health researcher Joe Mangano puts it: “Reports of rising numbers of West Coast infants with under-active thyroid glands after Fukushima suggest that Americans may have been harmed by Fukushima fallout. Studies, especially of the youngest, must proceed immediately.”
Untold billions of gallons of unmonitored liquid poisons have poured into the Pacific. Contaminated trash has carried across the ocean (yet the US has ceased monitoring wild-caught Pacific fish for radiation).
Worldwide, atomic energy is in rapid decline for obvious economic reasons. In Germany and elsewhere, Solartopian technologies—wind, solar, bio-fuels, efficiency—are outstripping nukes and fossil fuels in price, speed to install, job creation, environmental impact, reliability and safety.
No one has yet measured the global warming impacts of the massive explosions and heat releases at Fukushima (or at Chernobyl, where the human death toll has been estimated in excess of a million).
The nuclear fuel cycle—from mining to milling to enrichment to transportation to waste management—creates substantial greenhouse gases. The reactors themselves convert ore to gargantuan quantities of heat that warm the planet directly, wrecking our weather patterns in ways that have never been fully assessed.
Even in the shadow of Fukushima, the industry peddles a “new generation” of magical reactors to somehow avoid all previous disasters. Though they don’t yet exist, they will be “too cheap to meter,” will “never explode” and will generate “radiation that is good for you.”
But atomic energy is human history’s most expensive technological failure, defined by what seems to be a terminal reverse learning curve. After more than a half-century to get it right, the industry has most recently poked holes in the head of a reactor in Florida, and installed $700 million steam generators it knew to be faulty in two more in California. It now wants to open San Onofre Unit Two at a 70% level, essentially to see what happens. Some 8 million people live within a 50-mile radius.
This from an increasingly dangerous industry that has brought us four “impossible” explosions—one at Chernobyl, three at Fukushima—clearly with more yet to come. Its radiation has spewed for decades. Its wastes have no place on this planet.
The ultimate death toll among Fukushima’s victims may be inescapable. But the industry that’s harming them is not.
Those thyroid-damaged children bring us yet another tragic warning: There’s just one atomic reactor from which our energy can safely come.
Two years after Fukushima, it is still 93 million miles away—but more ready than ever to safely, cleanly and cheaply power our planet.
Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he
edits www.nukefree.org. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the US and Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth are
at www.harveywasserman.com along with Passions of the PotSmoking Patriots by “Thomas Paine.” He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election, at www.freepress.org.
A friend from the fight against the coal-fired power plants in Waterloo and Marshalltown sent a note about mining companies wanting to move into Iowa to extract silica sand for hydraulic fracturing. There is a lot of silica sand laying in the Driftless Area of Iowa, and the growing presence of hydraulic fracturing in the country has created a significant demand for the product. Mining companies want into Iowa to extract what is being called “frac sand.”
The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors declared an 18 month moratorium on frac sand mining to study the matter. The exploration and mining is ongoing in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota, although this week, a bill declaring a one-year moratorium on new frac sand mines passed the Minnesota state senate. It seems, at least for the moment, there will be no new coal plants in Iowa, and no new nuclear power plants, so is the fight against silica sand mining the next environmental challenge?
The Allamakee County Protectors is a group of concerned Iowans leading the fight against frac sand mining in the state of Iowa. Check out their web site www.allamakeecountyprotectors.com to learn more about the group and their concerns. They scheduled a lobby day at the Iowa State House on Thursday, March 14.
The Iowa discussion about hydraulic fracturing is inevitable. There are limited regulations in Iowa for exploration and development of natural gas using this method, and the early debate over frac sand is a part of it. Stay tuned.
DES MOINES, Iowa– On Jan. 22, the Sierra Club and Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Company announced a landmark settlement that requires the Iowa utility to phase out coal burning at seven coal-fired boilers, clean up another two coal-fired boilers and build a large solar installation at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. The announcement also pushes the total amount of coal generation retired or announced to retire since 2010 to over 50,000 megawatts, almost one-sixth of the nation’s coal fleet.
In 2012, the Sierra Club notified MidAmerican that it was violating the federal Clean Air Act at its Walter Scott, Riverside and George Neal coal plants, by emitting more pollution than allowed by its permits. Today’s settlement filed in federal court in Iowa resolves those allegations. According to the Clean Air Task Force air pollution from these three plants contributes to 45 deaths and 760 asthma attacks annually.
“Clean air, clean water and a booming clean energy economy are part of an Iowa legacy that I am proud to leave for my children and grandchildren,” said Pam Mackey Taylor, Chapter Energy Chair of the Sierra Club in Iowa. “Coal’s days are numbered here in Iowa. Pollution from MidAmerican’s coal-fired power plants causes major health problems in communities across Iowa. Retiring units at these coal plants and installing vital pollution controls at the remaining units will help Iowans breathe easier.”
Germany is RIGHT NOW switching from nuclear to RENEWABLES!!! YEAH!!!
click on this link and then click on pdf file on bottom of page,
A REAL DEAL Q and A that answers all the naysayers questions, in REAL TIME
And the switch is being done RIGHT NOW as we speak,
check this out and pass along the GOOD NEWS! to kindred folks in your ecircle
remember, click on pdf file at bottom of page
in Parlance of Summer Solstice Speak,
click on this:
I wanted to provide you with an update on my continued advocacy on behalf of Iowa’s renewable energy industry and in particular for the wind energy industry. Wind energy manufacturers in our state provide good paying jobs for thousands of Iowans and have made significant contributions to our state being the second largest producer of wind energy in the country.
This is why I was so pleased to recently be named a USA Wind Jobs Champion by the 2,400 member companies of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The award recognizes work to create and sustain U.S. jobs in the wind energy industry and its manufacturing supply chain. I was pleased to accept this award instead for the hard-working employees of the wind energy manufacturing companies in Iowa.
To highlight the need to reauthorize the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy, I used the award as an opportunity to visit Siemens Wind in Fort Madison and Acciona Turbines in West Branch to talk about the importance of wind energy to Iowa with the employees there. I’ve been working to bring attention to the PTC and push the Majority in the House to bring up legislation to reauthorize it and a variety of other renewable energy support like for biodiesel. Unfortunately many wind manufacturers are already seeing orders drop off as a result of inaction on the PTC.
Support for the wind energy industry is going to be critical for our continued move away from imported fossil fuels and energy independence for the US. I’m happy Iowa is playing such a critical role in this new beginning for renewable energy which is continuing to provide more homegrown power for Iowa homes and businesses every day. I will continue to work to highlight the importance of wind energy for Iowa’s economy and jobs.
Iowa’s Second District
DES MOINES — AARP leaders are taking on MidAmerican Energy false portrayal of the Association’s position on nuclear power and attempts to shift away the focus from what HF 561 really does in their ads. AARP doesn’t oppose nuclear power, but does oppose changing Iowa law to favor utility company and shareholder interests over Iowa’s ratepaying consumers.
“MidAmerican’s ironically titled ‘Straight Talk’ ads misrepresented AARP’s position on HF 561 and hid the truth about what HF 561 actually does”, said Anthony Carroll, AARP Iowa Associate State Director for Advocacy. “The ads stated that AARP is an opponent of nuclear power. That is an outright lie, just the beginning a new campaign by MidAmerican to fool Iowans into favoring HF 561. Iowans deserve better than to be fooled.”
Carroll explained that AARP has consistently stated in testimony before House and Senate Commerce Committees, in AARP mail and e-mail correspondence with lawmakers, AARP members and Iowans, and in AARP editorials and paid ads, AARP is NOT opposed to nuclear power.
“The question of whether to build a new nuclear power plant is in MidAmerican’s hands,” said Carroll. “It is critical to note, they can build a plant without HF 561. The question for lawmakers is whether to shift nearly all the one-billion to several billions in costs and risks associated with new plants from the company to its customers. That is what AARP opposes. That is what HF 561 does, according to the Iowa Utility Board staff memo. ”
AARP Iowa Executive Council Member Sharon Treinen of Ackley and a shareholder of MidAmerican’s parent company Berkshire Hathaway said, “I take no comfort in knowing HF 561 guarantees a profit for me as shareholder. As a utility customer in Iowa, I oppose HF 561. I’d rather not pay on the front end as a ratepayer, just so I can benefit as a shareholder. I feel very fortunate that my husband and I were able to save so that we have some stock investments, but, I’m even more concerned about the many elderly and other Iowans on fixed incomes.
According to recent reports, Treinen said nearly a quarter million Iowa households, about 224,000, are behind on their utility bills and therefore face potential shut offs as of April 1, the day Iowa’s winter utility shut-off moratorium ends.
State President Tony Vola, also a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder, said HF 561 violates the common sense rule. “I live by the common sense rule. HF 561 shifts the billon-plus costs and profit-making aspects of building a new power plant from the company and shareholders to customers. I choose to spend my money to be a shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway, but under HF 561, I and other Iowa utility customers would have no choice but to pay advance costs – which have always ballooned in other states – and a profit, for a long, expensive investment, even if this project goes bust.”
“AARP is fighting for a better deal for Iowa utility customers who bear the upfront costs and risk, and MidAmerican is fighting for their shareholders, for the great deal that HF 561 provides to them,” said Carroll. “We hope lawmakers side with customers, not with big business and company shareholders.”