MagazineOctober 2008Blue Ridge Briefs for October 2008

Blue Ridge Briefs for October 2008

Unwise Decisions

A coal-fired power plant proposed by Dominion Power in Wise County, Va., was recently approved by the state despite widespread public opposition. The plant will burn “waste coal” for fuel, which is over four times more polluting than traditional coal and contains six times as much mercury, negating any pollution controls Dominion uses. Meanwhile in North Carolina, Duke Energy is proceeding with construction of its Cliffside coal-fired power plant near Rutherfordton despite a lawsuit filed recently by the nation’s leading environmental organizations. Southern Environmental Law Center, the Sierra Club, and a host of other organizations claim the plant violates the legal limits for mercury, arsenic, and dioxin emissions.

Bye Gauley!

Gauley Mountain, W.Va., recently was targeted by coal companies for mountaintop removal mining. The mountain sits adjacent to the New and Gauley Rivers, world-class whitewater rivers that attract hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism to the region. Appalachian Voices has named Gauley to its most endangered mountains. View a short video documentary of the Gauley at <a href=””></a>.

<a href=””>NUDIST5K.COM</a>

A complete list of nudist races along the East Coast, from sprint triathlons to 5K’s. Look at the various events and you may wonder why there are no races longer than 3.1 miles. Simple. It’s called the “flop factor.”

Walkin’ Washington

Washington D.C. was recently listed as one of the most “walkable” cities in the United States according to Walk Score, an organization that measures car-lite living in the country’s 40 largest cities. D.C. ranked number seven on the Top 10 Most Walkable Cities list because of highly walkable neighborhoods like Dupont Circle and Logan Circle. Walk Score awards points based on the distance a resident has to walk to the closest amenities like restaurants, stores, schools, and parks. The proximity of amenities is the leading predictor of whether Americans will walk.

Strike the K

Corridor K is a proposed four-lane highway that will link Chattanooga with Asheville. The idea of the road was conceived 40 years ago without any regard to its environmental impacts. The plan that the Department of Transportation is currently studying travels through some of the most rugged and sensitive terrain in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Corridor K has the potential to negatively affect the Ocoee and Hiawassee Rivers, as well as Little Frog Mountain.


Log daily distances and track the calories you burn and the gas you save by riding your bike.

The Right to Bike

South Carolina recently passed a new bicycle safety law that establishes a safe passing distance, making it easier to charge reckless drivers in the event of a collision. The law also treats the harassment of bikers (honking at them, screaming at them, throwing things at them) as a misdemeanor. The legislation was introduced in 2004 after a cycling death in upstate South Carolina and was finally signed by the governor this year after more cycling deaths occurred in 2006 and 2007. Cycling advocates say the law finally gives bikers equality on the road.

2 Cents

Bush’s recent push to open the Southeastern coast to oil drilling won’t actually help our current oil crisis, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. A recent study by the DOE shows the oil wouldn’t be available in significant amounts for a decade or more, and it would affect the price of gasoline by only a few pennies at best.

Quote of Note

<em>“If every American inflated their tires to the proper pressure, we would save more oil than all the proposed offshore drilling would produc</em>e.” —Barack Obama

BY THE NUMBERS : Wild and Scenic Rivers

3,500,000 total miles of U.S. rivers.

0.25 percent of U.S. rivers designated as Wild and Scenic.

8 rivers in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic with portions designated as either “wild” or “scenic.”

40 years since the inception of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

FACT: <br />
Agriculture runoff is the leading cause of water pollution in the U.S. The new farm bill includes $440 million to help farmers install conservation practices, which will help keep 40 million pounds of runoff out of the Chesapeake Bay annually. However, the Bush Administration is currently attempting to cancel funding for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program.
FACT:<br />
99% of all the things we buy are not in use after six months.

Places to Go, Things to See: