LVM's Environmental Action Blog

The purpose of this blog is to convey the importance that life choices and daily decisions have on the environment. I will, as a member of the kayaking community, effectively convey the importance and immediacy of environmental issues written in the paddling vernacular.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

lvmenvironmental visits the coal-fired power plant

photo by Mefford Williams

Just south of Asheville looms the massive Progress Energy Power Plant. Fueled mainly by coal, as well as natural gas and diesel fuel this plant is the largest in Western North Carolina and represents a similar lay-up to most coal fired power plants in and around the eastern United States. These plants supply the majority of our commercial, residential, and industrial energy needs, as well as being the most powerful of air-polluters. Burning, at full capacity, 3000 tons of coal each day this plant represents energy production at the largest scale. The bi-products of this energy production are currently lowering the pH of our soils and streams, causing mercury accumulation in fish, lowering our visibility, contributing to human health problems, and many other negative externalities associated with the production of the electricity we so often take for granted.

Dr. Maas, UNC Asheville Environmental Science professor, taking it all in.

photo by Mefford Williams

The North Carolina Clean Smoke Stacks Initiative has put pressure on these plants to clean-up their act, so to speak. This new scrubber will help clean out Sulfates and particulates from the plant’s effluent.

photo by Mefford Williams

The Clean Air Act sets the guidelines for these plants to follow in terms of how clean their emissions must be, with state and federal agencies like the EPA acting as the watch-dogs. The Clear Skies initiative threatens to push back Clean Air Act goals by ten years, allowing coal fired plants to get by with little or no renovations to help improve our air quality.
Most of the time you use electricity, that power has been supplied by a coal fired power plant. You can help limit the pollution associated with this type of energy production by limiting your own power use and looking for alternative and sustainable sources of electricity.

Thanks much to Progress Energy and Saleena, our guide, for the interesting and informative tour.

photo by Mefford Williams

the hemlock wooly adelgid obtains some downtown Asheville real estate

photo by Mefford Williams

Believed to have been introduced into the Pacific Northwest in the 1920's, the hemlock wooly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) was discovered in Virginia in the early 1950's. Since that time, the insect has spread throughout several eastern states and become a serious threat to one of its major host plants, the eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis).

photo by Mefford Williams

These sap-sucking, tree-destroying insects pose a serious threat to all eastern hemlocks, a tree playing a vital role in the mountain ecosystems of southeastern Appalachia, especially for streams. The dense and low-lying branches of the hemlock sepcifically act to help keep the stream's temperature cool, which allows for healthy trout habitat. Happy trout mean healthy, happy mountain streams—a kayakers habitat.

Now as residents of downtown Asheville, the threat is real and literally at our doorstep.
If you happen to notice these lent-like balls on your local hemlock, contact a nearby nursery for some insecticidal soap designed especially for these bad boys.

photo by Mefford Williams

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

lvm environmental makes the big time

How do you know when you’ve made the big time? You get into some conflict with a big corporation, which means you're getting some major attention. Hopefully, for us at LVM Environmental, alot of attention will lead to influence.
We are proud to announce that Patagonia has launched an environmental action corner of their very own. We are glad to have a partner in the new school environmental movement.

We would like to give a solid shout-out to the foks at Patagonia for being an environmentally progressive company, leading with their GoHo program for the last six months.
Read about their anti-PVC policy here