BEYOND BUSINESS AS USUAL
FORWARD TO A NEW ENERGY FUTURE
Appalachia's future is closely tied to national energy policy. "Business As Usual" fossil fuel extraction economy will doom large swaths of Appalachia to even more wrenching poverty as the coalfields are depleted leaving in their wake destroyed ecosystems and hopeless communities. These areas have mono-economies, with weak infrastructure, almost nonexistent opportunities except for the boom/bust coal cycle, and unattractive "quality of living."
The key is to develop national energy policy that is clean, sustainable, renewable, and that provides high quality of life. The way through to this future is increasingly becoming clear as studies are showing. What is needed is public policy change that will drive forward this new future. And public policy change will require strong grassroots organizing to educate and mobilize the population.
Civil Society Institute has produced through Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. well-researched studies that show the way to this future. The most recent report, released November 16, 2011, Toward A Sustainable Future For the US Power Sector, demonstrates that a clean energy future relying primarily upon current technologies of renewables and energy conservation is feasible and affordable, and even money saving. See here for a co-joint press release by CFTM, Coal River Mountain Watch, and Ohio Valley Envirobnmental Coalition.Beyond Business As Usual (Beyond BAU) (2010) provides an objective analysis of the cost of moving away from coal and nuclear fuels toward efficiency and renewables. This report finds that the full coal fleet could be retired and replaced by 2050 at no net cost to ratepayers. Benefits Of Beyond BAU: Human, Social, and Environmental Damages Avoided through the Retirement of the US Coal Fleet (January 2011) expands the earlier study to include the toxic externalities currently imposed upon the population. Highly recommended!!!