Coal Mine Cleanup Settlement in Wise County, VA, Climate Champions–Helping Us Help You Reforest the Planet, Climate Change Crop Adaptation in the UK!

by | Jan 23, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Coal Mine Cleanup Settlement in Wise County, VA, Climate Champions–Helping Us Help You Reforest the Planet, Climate Change Crop Adaptation in the UK!

 

CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVISTS FORCE WVA GOVERNOR JOE JUSTICE’S COAL MINING CO. TO PAY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGES

Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Appalachian Voices and the Sierra Club announced last week they had reached a settlement with A&G Coal Corporation, a business owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s family, over the cleanup of three coal mines in Virginia’s Wise County. The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia by Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Appalachian Voices and the Sierra Club over A&G’s failure to clean up the Looney Ridge Surface Mine #1, Sawmill Hollow #3 Mine and Canepatch Surface Mine.

The mines were first permitted in 2004 and disturbed more than 3,300 acres of land over nearly two decades, a news release on the settlement states. The three mines produced about 1.5 million tons of coal per year on average in their first decade, but production then declined steeply, and none have produced any coal since 2017. State and federal law require that cleanup, generally known as reclamation, be done in conjunction with mining operations to ensure coal companies do not leave environmental problems behind once coal production ends. But data from the Virginia Department of Energy collected between March and July show that only just over 900 of the 3,300 acres disturbed have been regraded and revegetated, with most of the work being completed nearly a decade ago.

After being notified of several violations by the Virginia Department of Energy, A&G Coal entered into a compliance agreement with the state in 2014 requiring cleanup of the sites. The deadlines were pushed back several times, but to date the sites have not been fully reclaimed, or environmentally restored.

DEEPER DIVE: Lawsuit, News from the States, VA Mercury

 

CLIMATE CHAMPIONS–HELPING US HELP YOU REFOREST THE PLANET

Hey, everybody! Jeffrey and I are super excited about this—in honor of our second anniversary of podcasting The Climate Daily, and from input from some of our faithful listeners who kept asking us, “What else can we do to take positive action to combat climate change, aside from listening to The Climate Daily?”, we are launching The Climate Champions project! What’s a climate champion, you ask? A climate champion proves that a small group of people can make a massive impact on the planet in a short amount of time. How? Our company, The Climate, is partnering with over 30 international tree-planting organizations–ALONG WITH our climate champions– to re-plant, and regrow forests all over the world, by planting ten thousand trees at a time. 

Why? Because science says the best way to combat climate change is to restore nature. And the fastest way to restore nature is to plant and grow a trillion trees, and the fastest way to plant and grow a trillion trees is to replant and regrow forests. The fastest way to do that is to plant ten thousand trees at a time, And the fastest and most fun way to plant ten thousand trees at a time is to fundraise with friends, climate champions. When just 33 people commit to just $3/ day for four months, we can plant and grow 10K trees…a 20-acre forest! Which our tree planting partners will do. They’re the tree-planting professionals.  

Surf on over to theclimate.org/change hyphen  champions. Click on the donate button and join our team of climate champions today. $3/day? That’s less than the price of coffee, or a slice of pizza or to pay for parking to grab that coffee or that pizza. And when you do it, you’ll get a social media shout out, a receipt for your taxes, and your whole family will be proud of you.  

Again, Surf on over to theclimate.org/change-champions. Click on the donate button and join our team of climate champions today. And if you want to start your own team of climate champions, reach out to us at info@theclimate.org. Well help you put together your own small group of change champions to make a massive impact on the planet in a short amount of time, planting 10 thousand trees–a 20-acre forest! Wouldn’t it be great to be the change you want to see in the world? Go to theclimate.org/change-champions and become part of something special. Become a climate champion.  Thank you!!

 DEEPER DIVE:Climate Champions

 

CLIMATE CHANGE CROP ADAPTATION IN THE UK

It’s a well-established fact that Climate change is drastically impacting agriculture. Rising temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns and longer dry spells are altering what crops Europe can grow and where it can grow them. According to EuroNews, Guy Singh-Watson, a farmer in England, a country famed for its wet, dreary landscapes, recently switched to food more suited for rising temperatures: nuts. He was inspired by a trip to Sub-Saharan Africa, where he saw some interesting “agro-ecological combinations.” In 2020, he planted 50 sprawling acres of walnut and hazelnut trees on his Riverford Organic farm in Devon county, in southwest England.

Speaking to Euronews, Singh-Watson said, “the idea behind the project was to try and produce food with essentially a lower impact on the environment and soil life while trying to enhance biodiversity.” Compared to warmer parts of the world, relatively few edible nuts grow in England because of its cold, rainy climate. But this is no longer the case because of climate change, which baked the country in unprecedented temperatures over 100 degrees F. last year.

According to Singh-Watson, Devon County is on the northern fringe of viability, but if the predictions go right we are going to be pretty much in the optimal conditions. He planted about 5,000 trees experimentally into pastures where cattle and sheep are currently grazing, though the potential is much, much larger. “Perennial crops like walnuts are much better suited for dealing with unpredictable variations in the weather than ones planted annually.”

According arborists, these are big trees with deep roots that are going to be able to withstand periods of intense rainfall or drought much better than a crop of lettuce. Nuts are also a rich source of protein that can be used as a substitute for more carbon-intensive alternatives such as beef and lamb. Why does what one farmer is doing in the UK to adapt to climate change matter to us? Because planning now seems like a good thing to do.

DEEPER DIVE: EuroNews, EPA, Riverford Organic Farmers