Friday, April 09, 2010

On a West Virginia mountaintop...

This latest, ugliest coal mining tragedy in West Virginia (25 people known dead) just makes you sadder and madder, the more that comes out. All the safety violations in the previous year, just ignored by the company, Massey Energy.

The violations must have been blatant if the miners themselves were aware of many of them, as was explained by Pam Napper, speaking to CNN (posted on Huffington Post) about the loss of a son, brother, and nephew in the recent blast. (And why, oh why, is CNN burying stories about this disaster away from its main page?)

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This horrendous loss of life makes me think of how we are enabling such flauting of the law by continuing to purchase a product--in this case, electricity--much of which (48-49% last time I looked at my PEPCO bill) is furnished by coal. Ugh.

So, I figure it's time to give Clean Currents a call. (I have a flyer left over from the Veg Fest.) The rep explained (woo hoo, a live person on the phone, without having to go too deep into the voicemail maze) that if I switched to its wind power (you choose 50% or 100%), I'd still be billed via PEPCO, but the bill would have a notation that reminding you that you're billed Clean Currents' rates. Oh, and I'd have to sign a contract for one or two years; there's a termination fee for canceling the contract (but NOT for moving in the middle of your contract), but no enrollment fee. That's reassuring. Also, the locked-in rates are currently about 15% lower than PEPCO's current rates. (Maryland and DC residents can switch to Clean Currents if your current provider is PEPCO, BGE, or Allegheny. BGE's customers, in particular, could use a break.) This provider deserves serious consideration.

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Some good news from West Virginia (or least, about one of its most illustrious sons). A documentary about Bill Withers, Still Bill, has recently been released. Apparently, it's not yet available via Amazon, so there's just this tantalizing trailer...

Still Bill Trailer from B-Side Entertainment on Vimeo.

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