Matt Wasson, Appalachian Voices/Creative Commons

Burning coal to make electricity isn’t its only impact on the environment. The mining process has also been shown to pollute nearby waterways.

New rules proposed by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to protect that water, will be debated over the next several months. Some see them as a potential threat to dwindling coal jobs and others, as not strong enough to protect the environment.


The ultimate routes of natural gas pipelines that would run through Virginia have yet to be determined.  Among the concerns that raises, is; what effect could pipeline construction have on people’s well water? 

File Photo

For years the use of hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—has been exclusive to Southwest Virginia, but some organizations and communities are vehemently opposed to it. Now, as companies are exploring more energy sources throughout the state, such as natural gas and shale, officials are feeling more pressure to amend regulations that govern the practice. 

State Water Commission Chair and Delegate Thomas Wright says he's in favor of offshore drilling and whatever the state can do to produce more energy—but he also advocates environmental stewardship.

When Dominion Virginia Power won the right to lease land offshore for a wind farm, proponents of green energy cheered. 

But when Dominion put that job out for bids, just one firm submitted a qualified offer, and it was well over what the utility wanted to spend. Executives put the project on hold, but the company insists it’s not giving up on offshore wind.

Rallying for Rail Safety & Reform

Jul 10, 2015

It’s been two years since several petroleum tank cars derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, claiming 47 lives and almost destroying the small Canadian town in eastern Quebec. Activists in Richmond are using the anniversary to not only commemorate the victims, but also draw attention to rail safety and reform.  

Dozens gathered in Richmond to honor the lives lost in Lac Megantic with a vigil and to discuss the impacts of a similar disaster – as well as what policy measures are needed to avoid one. Kendall King with the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition was in attendance: