An ashy nightmare

by Cassady Sharp

July 30, 2012

[caption id="attachment_8929" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Greenpeace flies over the Duke Energy Marshall coal plant outside Charlotte."][/caption] Where fluffy, white clouds once drifted over the soft, mossy peaks of the Blue Ridge mountains, black smoke curled around the mutilated mountainsides I explored as a girl growing up in Western North Carolina. I found the trailhead of a hike my brother and I had often enjoyed together with our dogs running ahead of us, looking back with tongues wagging before taking off like furry bullets. That familiar path was now hidden under ash, the creek that once trickled alongside now suffocated by dense sludge. Though these horrifying images are still a nightmare for me, Ive tightened my grip on the mountains and streams that defined me and my values. My heart lifted this morning asI scrolled through images of Greenpeaces airship flying over Duke Energy coal plants reminding them cleaner is cheaper.
At my new post as online content producer for Greenpeace, I could not have timed my entry into the organization any better as Greenpeace fights a battle near and dear to my heart. I have yet to meet a fellow Western North Carolinian who doesnt cherish their memories overlooking the city of Asheville from Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge parkway or running into some Appalachian trail hikers near Max Patch.
This is something we all have in common no matter our politics. We allbelievein these mountains, and I trust my fellow North Carolinians will stop at nothing to protect them.
With the recent Duke and Progress Energy merger, Duke Energy will be the largest utility company in the nation.This title pushes Duke into an unparalleled position to lead the United States into a clean energy future.Duke CEO Jim Rogers agrees starting at an alternative energy panel in 2010,we re in a unique position in the power industry to deploy the solutions, to raise the capital and not raise the national debt, to do it at scale, and to do it in China time.YetDuke is not only planning on building more coal plants, but also nuclear power plantswhich post an unfathomable threat to the area I call home. Our homes and health are worth protecting, andI ask you to join me in protecting the place it is that you call home.Dont let the utility CEOs get away with turning our nightmares into realities.

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