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June 27, 2014

"Clean Power Plan" Not So Much
We need you to hop on the bus to come on out to a July 31 hearing in Pittsburgh, PA, or join hearings in other states on other dates or comment online. First, the details:

At the beginning of June, the Obama administration released its "Clean Power Plan," a proposed rule that will require reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.

The rule falls short of the action needed to protect Americans from the dangerous impacts and risks presented by our current business-as-usual energy path. It takes an extremely narrow view of the problem with our current energy policy, in that it addresses only pollution from the coal plants' smokestacks. As Vernon Haltom of Coal River Mountain Watch rightly pointed out in an e-mail update to CRMW supporters, this rule does not mean the end of mountaintop removal coal mining:

If the rules are implemented, they will eventually reduce demand for coal burning in U.S. power plants. But they don't address coal exports. They don't address coal used for steelmaking, such as much of the coal in Coal River Mountain. They don't address the health impacts of mountaintop removal. And they leave the specifics of compliance up to the states, many years from now.

We heartily concur with CRMW that we certainly can't rely on coal-beholden West Virginia politicians and regulators to comply with the rule. After all, we sue coal operators that ignore regulations after DEP fails to do its job of making them obey those regulations.

The rule also fails to address methane (a potent greenhouse gas) emissions associated with the production of natural gas. The rules would likely boost fracking for natural gas, as well as nuclear power, both of which have severe ecological and human health risks.

This "Clean Power Plan" does not move us quickly enough toward truly cleaner power. The Obama administration must focus on advancing efficiency and renewable energy as the real, viable solutions to our energy crisis and climate change.

This factsheet on the proposed rule, "Proposed EPA Climate Rule Too Little, Too Late: US Needs New Energy Strategy," lays out the concerns of the American Clean Energy Agenda groups. OVEC is part of ACEA.

Above: AEP's John Amos coal-fired power plant near Charelston, WV. Photo by V.S. Flyover courtesy SouthWings.

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EPA Needs to Hear From You at Climate Hearing
EPA has set up public hearings on the "Clean Power Plan" rule for Denver and Atlanta on July 29, Washington, D.C. on July 30 and Pittsburgh, PA on July 31. Details for each 12-hour hearing are here.

The last day to pre-register for speaking at the hearings is July 25, but slots are filling up fast, so please register as soon as possible. The contact person for registration is Pamela Garrett at 919-541-7966 or

You can also sign up online here.

If you plan to join the bus ride to the Pittsburgh hearing (details below), be sure to sign up for a time slot between noon and 4 p.m.

Sierra Club is sending a bus from WV to the Pittsburgh hearing. OVEC is helping to fill the bus. Although details are still being finalized, the bus should leave Beckley around 5 a.m. on July 31 and will make stops in Charleston, Weston, Clarksburg and Morgantown. It will arrive in Pittsburgh in time for a noon Climate Action Now rally and will depart for home around 4 or 5 p.m.

You do not have to speak at the hearing to take the bus. You can be a part of the rally and listen to some of the hearing or even go on a fun side-trip Sierra Club is planning to a nearby museum.

There's also a bus coming from Columbus that will make a stop in Wheeling.

To sign up to hop on the bus, complete this form. This does not register you to speak. To register, see the information above.

Every single one of us deserves to have our voices heard on this issue. You are impacted whether you live near a mountaintop removal site, a fracking operation, a nuclear power plant or a coal-fired power plant. You are impacted if you want a habitable earth for your children and grandchildren.

You can also comment online, by fax, or by snail mail. Details here.

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Tonight Triple Divide An Enemy of the People
Tonight! WV Citizen Action Group, WV Rivers Coalition and OVEC invite you to a free screening of Triple Divide with filmmakers Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman. Join us at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, June 27, at the Universalist Unitarian Congregation at 520 Kanawha Blvd West, Charleston, WV.

The 90-minute documentary examines shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Triple Divide is built on evidence from cradle-to-grave investigations that attempt to answer the question, “How are state regulations and industry handling impacts from fracking?” The film puts a human face on the devastation caused by fracking.

The filmmakers are touring the U.S. in a Tesla electric vehicle to attend screenings nationwide. They've already screened the film in Buckhannon, where kids made up a large part of the audience.

There's also a screening of Triple Divide in Wheeling on June 29 at 2 p.m. at the Ohio County Public Library.

Maybe you folks out beyond West Virginia can help set up a screening in your area.

Also tonight, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in Charleston, the New Brooklyn Theater concludes its run of an adaptation of An Enemy of the People, Henrik Ibsen's classic play about poisoned water and poisoned politics.Sound familiar? Well, the play is in response to the January 2014 MCHM coal-prep-plant chemical disaster here in central WV.

The play is performed on a specially-built stage right on the Kanawha River, at the Porters Hollow Public Access Dock,1500 MacCorkle Ave., SE, next to the Frontier Building.

Each performance includes a post-performance talkback discussion between the audience, cast, and special invited guests, including elected officials, scientists, activists, and community leaders. Last week, OVEC's Robin Blakeman was one of the featured speakers. Below, in a photo by Connie Mayle, Robin is seated, at right.

Tickets to all performances are free to the public, but must be booked online here.

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Upcoming Events
July 1: 6 p.m. Water Quality Standards Public Hearing at DEP Headquarters, Coopers Rock Room, 601 57th Street SE, Charleston WV, 25304

This public hearing is the opportunity for citizens to offer oral comments on a proposed rule affecting the Kanawha River. Written comments may be submitted to DEP through July 21.

The proposal would redesignate a 70-mile stretch of the Kanawha River for potential drinking-water. That's good news! Read the Charleston Gazette article on the rule here.

Please do plan to attend the hearing or submit written comments. Reply to this e-mail if you'd like to receive some helpful information for your comments, information compiled by the WV Rivers Coalition.

July 3: 7 – 11 p.m. Artists Working in Alliance to Restore the Environment (AWARE) is hosting an art sale and concert at the Woman’s Club in Charleston. Suggested minimum donation is $25. There will be snacks and a cash bar.

Enjoy music by Qiet, the Carpenter Ants, Colleen Anderson and George Castelle, Trish Anslet, Jeff Ellis, Paul Epstein, Mike Pushkin, and Andy Park. The event features the artwork of Mark Blumenstein, Stephanie Danz, Ginger Danz, Al Peery and more. Funds go to support local environmental groups.

July 4 - 6: The Keeper of the Mountains Foundation invites you to the annual Fourth of July Music Festival on Kayford Mountain. The theme this year is Our Community Protecting Our Water.

Stop Gas Exports

July 13: Stop Gas Exports Rally in Washington D.C.

August 8: We sure hope to see you at OVEC's annual member and invited guest picnic at Coonskin Park in Charleston, WV. We gather at 5 p.m. and share food and fun until about 7:30 p.m. Our featured speaker is Dr. Tom Pauley, an amphibian expert from Marshall University. At the picnic, we'll hand out our annual awards. Last year's picnic-goers, below, can verify that we had fun. Please contact the OVEC office at 304-522-0246 for details or watch for our mailer.

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In This Alert

"Clean Power Plan" Not So Much

EPA Needs to Hear From You
at Climate Hearings

Tonight Triple Divide
An Enemy of the People

Upcoming Events

Mountaintop removal coal mining
is extremely unhealthy for kids
and other living beings.
Please support the ACHE Act
by filling out this form.

Above, a dragline kicks up huge plumes of dust at a mountaintop removal coal mine in Lincoln County, WV.
Below: Speak up, speak out.
Two public hearings/comment periods noted in this action alert.


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