2013-05-09 MN WR
ACP foresters making inventories of forest land // photo from the ACP website (http://appalachiancarbonpartnership.org)
In this edition of Mountain News & World Report, we’ll hear about how bluegrass music respects its heritage, and we’ll meet a couple of young musicians who are experimenting with that heritage. But we begin our program with a report on an innovative program encouraging us to take a fresh look at our natural resources.
Central Appalachia loses more than 130 acres of forest land every day. 90% of this forest land is privately owned, but less than 5% of that land is under sustainable management, and the Appalachian Carbon Partnership (ACP) seeks to reverse that trend by encouraging Appalachian residents to sustainably manage their forest land. A program of the Mountain Association for Communiy Economic Development, in partnership with Appalachian Sustainable Development and Rural Action, ACP directly compensates landowners for the carbon sequestered in their trees each year. WMMT’s Sylvia Ryerson & Mimi Pickering visited a family participating in the ACP program in Estill County, Ky.
Coal Report 05-15-13 5m 58sec
graphic from "The Continuing Decline in Demand for Central Appalachian Coal : Market and Regulatory Influences" from Downstream Strategies; view it here: http://downstreamstrategies.com/documents/reports_publication/the-continuing-decline-in-demand-for-capp-coal.pdf
According to the Charleston Gazette, a comprehensive new report says that central Appalachian coal production will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The report (which you can read here), released by the West Virgnia consulting group Downstream Strategies, says that by the year 2040, our region’s coal production will have declined by 53% from 2011 levels. And the vast bulk of this huge decline is expected to hit much sooner—by the year 2020. Interestingly, though, the report says that coal employment will not necessarily decline at the same rate as production, and that coal jobs over this period may actually increase due to a decline in labor productivity—meaning the coal here is harder to reach and will take more people to mine. So while overall employment figures may not lag, especially at the huge rate that production will, the report suggests that coal employment will start to become concentrated in fewer and fewer central Appalachian counties. So the report Continue reading Coal Report for May 15, 2013
In this week’s edition of Letcher County’s ongoing epic poem written to and about itself: Dissatisfaction with county leaders! Dissatisfaction with the local McDonald’s! Wake up, parents! The Old Man in the Blue Truck Returns! And to the hot-looking man: meet me at the laundromat on Thursday!
Coal Report 05-08-13 5m 59sec
the interior of the Kentucky Darby Mine in Harlan County, Ky., the site of a fatal explosion in 2006. the mine's operators never paid safety fines issued after the accident, and now owe $1.6 million in unpaid fines from violations at a different Harlan County mine // photo from MSHA
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, an east Kentucky coal company has now “essentially disappeared” after being fined over $800,000 last year. K&D Mining was fined that amount for 43 different citations at the No. 17 mine in Harlan County, Ky, and these citations were issued for what inspectors called “reckless disgregard” for safety at the mine, including excessive coal dust buildup, ventilation problems, damaged conveyor belts, improper roof controls, and dangerous wiring. But despite these citations and the fact that K&D hadn’t paid any of its fines, the mine was allowed to keep operating until the company abruptly dissolved last year. In total, the now-defunct company owes over $1.6 million in unpaid safety fines, which MSHA has vowed to somehow collect. But this gets tricky when coal companies just disappear like K&D did. And skipping out on safety fines is nothing new for these operators. The Courier reports that two of the men that ran K&D—Ralph Napier and John D. North–also ran the Kentucky Darby coal mine in Harlan County where five miners were killed in 2006. After that tragedy, the company was found guilty of improperly sealing a section of the mine and was fined nearly $700,000, but as of last year Napier and North had still not paid that fine either. In total, coal companies across the country owe $73.6 million in Continue reading Coal Report for May 8, 2013
2013-4-22 App Attitude – Eugene Ballou
Eugene Ballou playing live on WMMT
In this edition of WMMT’s Appalachian Attitude, host Wiley Q. welcomes Letcher County’s own singing coal miner, Eugene Ballou. The “Blue-Boy” plays several of his tunes live on-air, including the favorites “Pampers in the Trees,” “40 Years in 30 Inch Coal,” and “Air Conditioner.” In this hour-long segment, he also discusses his music, songwriting, working as a miner, & all sortsa things. Push play to stream the audio above, and be sure to tune in each and ev’ry Monday at 4 p.m. for the show with an Appalachian Attitude that plays all manner of local music, and welcomes live-on air musicians, poets, and artists of all kinds.
We’ve come upon the first Saturday in May. May your hats be excessive and your happiness immense.
Coal Report 05-01-13 5m 58sec
the collapsed wall of the Robinson Run slurry impoundment // image from the Charleston Gazette via http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2012/12/06/slurry-safety-learning-from-the-consol-collapse/
Slurry ponds hold the liquid waste left over from the processing of coal at mining operations, but according to a new study from the federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM), many of these impoundment walls may be dangerously weak. OSM ordered this study and says it’s not yet final, but in data leaked to the Washington Post, in 2011, 73 different tests of wall density were conducted at 7 slurry pond sites across West Virginia, and of these 73 wall sections sampled, only 16 were actually found to meet proper density standards, less than 25 percent. After this leak, OSM acknowledged “a potential issue” with unsafe slurry walls but said that no impoundment is “in imminent danger of failure.” But mine safety engineer Jack Spadaro said “Once there’s an imminent danger, the only recourse you have is to evacuate. The point of having these standards is not to get to that point.” When danger does strike at slurry ponds, it can be tragic. Just last year, a miner was killed in West Virginia when a slurry wall collapsed and sucked his bulldozer into the slurry pond, and other failures have flooded entire communities, like the 1972 Buffalo Creek flood which killed 125 people in West Virginia or the 2000 slurry spill in Martin County, Ky that Continue reading Coal Report for May 1, 2013
WMMT welcomes back IMBA vocal group of the year Blue Highway, to the Appalshop stage TONIGHT, Thursday May 2, for Bluegrass Express Live!
At the seventeen-year mark, Blue Highway is undeniably one of the most influential and esteemed bands of the contemporary bluegrass era. Blue Highway’s live performances give proof to the stellar reviews. Since their first performance in 1994, Blue Highway has won several awards, including a Dove award and several IBMA awards, and also received two Grammy nominations. The band consists of all the founding members, still today, with ten albums to their credit.
Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 7:30pm. Admission is $15. If you can’t make it to Whitesburg, you can hear the concert LIVE on the radio at WMMT 88.7 FM or here online at our 24/7 live stream.
See y’all on the radio!