Appalachian Voices

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Appalachian Voices
Logo of Appalachian Voices
Motto Bringing People Together to Protect the Central and Southern Appalachian Mountains
Formation 1997; 20 years ago (1997)
Founder Harvard Ayers
Type 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy organization
Headquarters Boone, North Carolina, USA
Exec. Dir.
Tom Cormons
Board Chair
James "Kim" Gilliam
Affiliations The Appalachian Voice publication

Appalachian Voices is an American environmental organization based in Boone, North Carolina. Their stated environmental concerns include eliminating air pollution, ending mountaintop removal, cleaning up coal ash pollution and promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The organization also has offices in Charlottesville, Virginia, Norton, Virginia, Durham, North Carolina and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Appalachian Voices publishes "The Appalachian Voice," a 61,000-circulation, bi-monthly news publication covering environmental and cultural news in the central and southern Appalachian region.


The Appalachian Voice publication was started in Boone, N.C. in February 1996 by Harvard Ayers and Than Axtell as part of the now-defunct Southern Appalachian Highlands Ecoregion Task Force, a chapter of the Sierra Club. Ayers, seeing "a need for an advocacy organization that could focus exclusively on local issues related to Appalachia,"[2] officially founded Appalachian Voices as a 501(c)3 organization in July 1997.

Wise County coal plant campaign[edit]

In 2007, Appalachian Voices joined with four regional organizations in Virginia to fight construction of a 585-megawatt coal-fired power plant that the state’s largest utility was seeking to build in Wise County, Virginia. Along with Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter, the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, and the Southern Environmental Law Center, the groups formed the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition to oppose the plant.

The coalition’s focus on the Wise County plant made it “by any standard, the biggest environmental controversy in Virginia today,” according to the state’s largest newspaper, The Virginia Pilot.[3] The coalition built a grassroots base of more than 42,000 Virginians who signed a “Mile-Long Petition” in opposition to the plant. Although the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center was ultimately approved, the public pressure generated by the coalition led to dramatic reductions in permitted pollutant limits,[4][5] including:

  • The most stringent mercury emissions limit for any coalfired power plant in the country, reducing emissions levels by ninety-four percent from those originally proposed;
  • An eighty-four percent reduction in permitted levels of sulfur dioxide;
  • Carbon offset measures that will decrease CO2 emissions from the plant by 1.1 million tons per year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "IRS Form 990 2014". Internal Revenue Service. 
  2. ^ "Celebrating Two Decades and Counting". The Appalachian Voice. February 18, 2016. 
  3. ^ Harper, Scott (June 22, 2008). "Power plant is ground zero in battle of energy vs. environment". Virginia Pilot. 
  4. ^ "Judge Rules for Environmental Groups in Challenge to Virginia Power Plant". August 11, 2009. 
  5. ^ Lipman, Melissa (August 11, 2009). "Va. Dominion Plant's Environmental Permit Dumped". 

External links[edit]