August 2008

Minutes from the Sunday Supper Club August 10th, 2008

Thank you to Neil and Linda Swanson for hosting our meeting!

Five Minute Flash Reports:

Treasurer’s Report -  Our balance stands at $232.55.  We have a couple large expenses coming up:       website fee- $200; domain licenses- $31.00

Sandy Alm -  Anyone with extra produce from their garden is encouraged to donate this bounty to the Fauquier Family Shelter on Keith St.

Bill Day -  Bill Day announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1st Congressional District.  Keith Hummel withdrew from the race and Bill was selected to replace him.  This leaves Bill with a very short campaign season.  Any and all volunteers are much appreciated!!

Bill explained that he is running for Congress because he cares very much about what currently is going on in this country and also because public service is very important to him.  Bill believes that we are facing critical times and plans to run his campaign on three main issues: the economy, health care and energy issues.  Bill does not believe in debt and feels that we can grow our economy by increasing jobs, particularly in the developing “green” industries.

For more information on his campaign please visit

Vets for Obama -  Pat Heineman, filling in for Bruce Roemmelt, reported that Vets for Obama is a 50 state effort t o organize veterans, military families, and those concerned about veterans issues.  The local group began with 15 members and is now up to 100.  Upcoming events include participation in the Haymarket Day parade on Sept. 21st and a huge veteran’s campaign event in the works for after the convention.

For more information contact Bruce at or visit

Anita Hartke Campaign-  Anne Pallie announced (in absentia) that she will be holding a  fundraiser for Anita Hartke on Sept. 7th.  Anita is running for Congress from Virginia’s 7th Congressional district.  Details will be posted on the event section of the SSC web site, as soon as they are available, or you may visit the campaign web site at

Fauquier for Obama- Bob Zwick reported that Fauquier for Obama will be hosting a town hall meeting featuring governor Tim Kaine on Sat. Aug. 16th beginning at 6:00.  The event will be held in “The Barn” at Lord Fairfax Community College.  Mayor Fitch and Bill Day will also be in attendance.   For more details and to RSVP please go to

Communities of Peace-  Gerry Eitner shared with us about the very successful Global Peace Festival held on the National Mall.  This event attracted over 20,000 people to DC on Aug. 9th.  For details on the festival visit  You may also visit for more information on Gerry’s organization.

For the Good of the Community

Michael Rainger invited us all to join him at Green Drinks of Warrenton on Wed. August 20th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Poplar Springs Inn in Casanova.  Green Drinks is an “international organization designed to connect people interested in environmental causes.”  On the 20th Michael (of will be speaking on his recent experiences in sustainable living environments and will also provide information on communities that have demonstrated major results in energy and water conservation.   For details visit

The SSC was pleased to welcome 9 new attendees to our meeting.  We hope to see you all again in September!

Guest Speaker

Mike McCoy of Appalachian Voices joined us to speak about the devastating practice of mountain top removal coal mining.  Originally from California, Mike moved to North Carolina when he was 16.  Upon attending Appalachian State he fell in love with the mountains and now devotes his time and energy to trying to preserve the beauty of the Appalachians.

A few facts on mountain top removal coal mining (hereafter abbreviated MTR):

§         MTR is essentially “strip mining on steroids”.  All the timber is clear cut and the top of the mountain is bulldozed off to get at the seams of coal.  Ammonium nitrate fuel is used to blast out the coal.  In a practice referred to as “peak point reduction” up to 800 ft. of the mountain is removed.
§         This practice destroys not only the mountain but nearby rivers as the “overburden” is simply pushed off the side into neighboring rivers and valleys.
§         The Clean Water Act states that you cannot dump mining waste into the water supply but the Bush administration got around this provision by changing the definition of the overburden from “mining waste” to “fill.
§         474 mountains have been “topped” including 29 in Virginia.  More than 1200 miles of stream have been buried.  In Wise County, home to the new Dominion Power coal fired plant, 60,000 acres have been mined.
§         The “Safety Mine and Reclamation Act” requires that the coal companies return the mountain to its “approximate original contour”.
§         The coal goes through a cleaning process to remove mercury and lead.  The byproducts of this cleaning (mercury, lead, and the toxic chemicals used to extract them) is termed “slurry.”  This slurry is held in reservoirs or is injected into old mines where it leaches directly into the groundwater.
§         There are currently over 3000 of these sludge/slurry ponds holding billions of gallons of toxic sludge.  In 2000 a sludge dam broke and killed 80 miles of stream.   This breech was labeled the “greatest environmental disaster east of the Mississippi.”
§         MTR is cheaper than traditional underground coal mining as it employs less people.  Advocates of MTR claim that this practice provides jobs but in truth the employment of coal miners is going down dramatically.
§         The areas with the most MTR h ave the most poverty.
§         In areas of the country such as West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia residents have sacrificed their health, environment, and lives while contributing tremendously to the country’s energy supply. They are now being asked to sacrifice the land itself.

Other interesting information:

§         The organization “Americans for Balanced Energy Choices”, now the “American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity”, is essentially a front for the coal mining industry.
§         Dominion Power is the 8th largest buyer of mountain top coal.
§         Governor Tim Kaine backs the Wise Count y plant as does the majority of the Virginia General Assembly.
§         Dominion Power has over 100 paid lobbyists in Richmond.
§         Virginia is last in energy efficiency of all the states.
We can negate the need for more power by focusing on increased energy efficiency.  For example in CA although the population is steadily increasing, their energy production and consumption has stayed the same because they’ve invested in energy efficiency: proper insulation, combined heating (geothermal flooring), retrofitting buildings, fluorescent light bulbs, radiant barriers …
§         On June 30th construction began on the Wise County Power Plant.  Organizations such as Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Southern Environmental Law Center, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Appalachian Voices have worked together to halt the construction of this plant.  The goals of these groups are to: 1) Stop the Wise County plant, 2) Create20an environment in which new plants can’t be built, 3) Promote energy efficiency and renewable energy.

What can we do?

§         We must start with small steps.
§         Develop a relationship with our legislators.
§         Contact your legislator and encourage him or her to support the new Clean Water Protection Act.  This bill currently has 143+ co-sponsors in the House but none in the Senate.
§         Do our part to conserve energy.
§         Visit the websites of groups such as Appalachian Voices and get involved in the fight.
§         Mike’s contact info: or by phone 434-293-6373.

Knowledge is power: – Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards website Enter your zip code and find out which power plants generate your electricity. “The State of Virginia vs. Reality”  See for yourself the effects of mountain top removal. – Watch videos on “American’s Most Endangered Mountains”.

Save the Dates
You won’t want to miss the interesting meetings we have planned!

Sept. 14th- Mark Hackley, Food Procurement Office for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, will share with us about the increasingly vital work of the Food Bank.

Oct. 12th- State Senator Jill Vogel

Nov. 9th-  Happy Birthday to the Sunday Supper Club.  Please come and help us celebrate our fourth year and plan for our fifth!!

Respectfully submitted,
Andrea Martens