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Matt Wasson
Matt Wasson is an ecologist and the director of programs for Appalachian Voices where he oversees the award-winning online campaign to stop mountaintop removal coal mining on Beginning with his doctoral research at Cornell University on the impacts of acid rain on birds, Dr. Wasson has spent the last 15 years working to address the impacts of all aspects of the "coal cycle" from mining, transportation and combustion of coal to the deposition of pollutants and disposal of power plant waste.

Entries by Matt Wasson

One Fish, Two Fish... Dead Fish

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 2:52 PM

A study from researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) published this month provides strong new evidence that mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia is devastating downstream fish populations.

That's hardly news for long-time followers of the controversy surrounding mountaintop removal, a coal mining practice that...

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Who Owns West Virginia's Water? A Cautionary Tale

(13) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 4:27 PM

It took a few days after a state of emergency was declared across nine West Virginia counties and one-sixth of the state's population was told not to drink or bathe using their tap water for the national news media to discover a story of national importance...

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WATCH: Appalachian Kids Give Science Lesson to President Obama

(6) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 11:55 AM

Children in Appalachian coal mining communities are 42 percent more likely to be born with birth defects and have a life expectancy that is almost five years lower than the national average. As this short video shows, they understand why:

Dozens of scientific studies have linked mountaintop removal coal mining to high rates of cancer and other diseases in nearby communities. But as these children explain, you don't need to be a scientist to understand the devastating impact that mountaintop removal has on the health and quality of life of people living nearby.

Thanks to thousands of people who have spoken up for Appalachian mountains and communities time and again, President Obama's agencies have taken major steps to reduce the destruction caused by mountaintop removal coal mining over the past four years.

As the president is sworn in to a second term later this month, we have an opportunity to finish the job and stop mountaintop removal once and for all. But we need to ensure that President Obama makes this a priority in his second term.

That's where you come in. Please join these kids in sending a clear message to the White House: No more excuses, Mr. President. End mountaintop removal. Now.

Help these children spread the word about what's happening in their communities by sharing this video with your friends, family and...

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Electoral Math for "All You Climate People"

(1) Comments | Posted November 20, 2012 | 1:09 PM

During a campaign season in which climate change featured most prominently as a laugh line at the Republican National Convention, the low point was when CNN's Candy Crowley addressed "all you climate people" in her explanation of why climate didn't come up during the presidential debates. Who knew...

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WATCH: Happy Birthday Clean Water Act!

(0) Comments | Posted October 18, 2012 | 5:57 PM

On October 18, 1972, the Clean Water Act was passed by Congress on an overwhelming bipartisan vote. Now, 40 years later, our rivers, lakes and bays are in far better condition and nobody is yearning for the days when the Cuyahoga River repeatedly caught on fire and Lake Erie was pronounced "dead."

Yet, it's hard not to feel some nostalgia for an era when such a sweeping piece of legislation, which was viciously opposed by big polluting industries, could pass the House of Representatives on a vote of 366-11. The early 1970s were a time when politicians of both parties could rise above partisan politics and powerful corporate interests to support such lofty goals as restoring and maintaining the "chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation's waters."

How times have changed. Since it convened in January of 2011, the House of Representatives has voted 38 times to weaken the Clean Water Act and other laws protecting water quality - and what has rightly been called the most anti-environmental Congress in history isn't even over yet.

Appalachian Voices released a report [pdf] today that shows how dramatically the attitudes of politicians have changed in the Southeast since the region's Congressional delegation voted almost unanimously in favor of the Clean Water Act back in 1972. On those 38 bills to weaken clean water protections passed in the House, southeastern representatives voted in favor more than 75 percent of the time.

But the report released by Appalachian Voices today isn't focused on bashing members of Congress for all of those bad votes; it looks at how the Clean Water Act is improving the lives of people across the region in very real and tangible ways. Despite all the hyperventilating by polluting industries and their political allies about "job-killing regulations" and a "war on coal," it turns out that the Clean Water Act is creating opportunities to start and grow businesses, from oyster farming on the Chesapeake bay in Virginia to whitewater rafting on the Nolichucky River in Tennessee.

What's most striking about the stories in the report is how Clean Water Act programs are providing tools that are bringing communities together across all political, class and
racial lines based on a common purpose of protecting their most precious natural resource and improving everyone's quality of life. The positive and unifying impact of the Clean Water Act on communities in the real world is in stark contrast to the partisan rancor and divisive rhetoric around regulations in Washington, DC.

So pour yourself a tall glass of clean drinking water, take a look at the report [pdf], and join us in celebrating 40 years of successes in improving the health of our streams, communities and the quality of life of all...

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Big Coal Wins Latest Battle to Blast Historic Blair Mountain

(33) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 10:05 AM

Is nothing sacred to coal companies in Appalachia?

In a jaw-dropping display of contempt and disregard for the communities and landscapes where they mine coal, three coal companies back in 2009 challenged the listing of West Virginia's Blair Mountain on the National Register of Historic Places. The...

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Obama Administration Can Still Protect Streams from Mountaintop Removal Mining, Despite Setback in DC Court

(8) Comments | Posted August 8, 2012 | 6:41 PM

Mountaintop Removal Mine above Homes in Eastern Kentucky
Environmental and community advocates got some jarring news Tuesday when a federal judge rejected EPA's "guidance" on surface mine permitting...

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Nasty, Brutish and Short: Life Under the Leadership of Budget Axe-Man Hal Rogers

(2) Comments | Posted February 16, 2011 | 10:12 AM

As the first assault on clean air and clean water safeguards takes shape in the new Congress, Americans would be well advised to investigate how the man leading the assault, Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers, has served his own constituents. If the state of his East Kentucky district...

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Historic EPA Action Provokes Hysterical Reaction From the Coal Industry

(13) Comments | Posted January 20, 2011 | 9:13 AM

In the wake of EPA's veto last week of the largest mountaintop removal mine permit ever proposed in West Virginia, the grandstanding of West Virginia politicians and "sky is falling" rhetoric from the coal industry was not surprising. Every effort to protect streams and communities from the devastating impacts...

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Round One of the EPA "Coal Ash Bowl" Goes to Big Coal

(7) Comments | Posted May 5, 2010 | 12:33 PM

Yesterday, the EPA issued their long-awaited proposal for new rules on how to regulate the disposal and storage of coal combustion waste (CCW), the byproduct of coal-fired power plants.

_DSC0072Since December of 2008, when more than a...

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They're Still Blowing Up Our Mountains and There Still Oughta Be a Law

(7) Comments | Posted April 28, 2010 | 2:30 PM

A month ago, before the nation's attention was drawn to the tragedies at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and the oil rig off the Louisiana coast, the EPA issued a blockbuster announcement about a strict new guidance for the permitting of mountaintop removal mines in...

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Extreme Misinformation in the Washington Post: Actually, Wind Power has Reduced Denmark's CO2 Emissions a Lot

(22) Comments | Posted April 26, 2010 | 1:09 PM

Readers of the Washington Post were served up some jaw-dropping whoppers yesterday about why renewable energy - and wind in particular - supposedly doesn't reduce CO2 emissions, increase our national security, or create jobs in the US. The author of the op-ed is climate change denier and long...

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Breaking: Mountaintop Removal Begins on Coal River Mountain -- Help Needed Now

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2009 | 3:57 PM

Alert from

BREAKING NEWS: Reports are coming in from residents of West Virginia's Coal River Valley that Massey Energy has begun mountaintop removal mining operations on Coal River Mountain. Sprawling across thousands of acres of diverse and pristine hardwood forests, this mountain is home to the tallest peaks...

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Misleading "Energy Sprawl" Study Pollutes Climate Debate

(8) Comments | Posted October 1, 2009 | 9:22 AM

As Congress was returning from the August recess, there wasn't much news about the climate bill. The only energy-related news breaking through the coverage of the rancorous health care debates and town-hall tea parties was a study on "energy sprawl" published by five staff members of the Nature Conservancy....

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Mountaintop Removal Blow-Back

(4) Comments | Posted March 25, 2009 | 4:10 PM

If you're a reader of the Huffington Post Green Page then you are almost certainly aware that the Obama Administration signaled a major shift yesterday in how mountaintop removal coal mining will be regulated. In brief, Obama's head of the EPA, announced a decision to delay and review permits...

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