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In Our Backyard Podcast

In Our Backyard Podcast

By Jenn Galler
This is Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League's (BREDL) Podcast where we discuss environmental issues that are right in our backyards. Topics include coal plants, fracking, pipelines, and much more. This podcast takes a deep dive into these topics and talks with people who are on the ground fighting for the health and safety of their communities as well as protection the planet.
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BONUS: Celebrating Lou Zeller: 35 years with Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League

In Our Backyard Podcast

19. Stop GenX and Other Perfluoroalkyl Chemicals
Beth Markesino is the founder of the non-profit North Carolina Stop GenX. North Carolina Stop GenX in Our Waters is a group wanting to stop the contamination of GenX and other harmful chemicals in North Carolina waters. GenX is a Chemours trademark name for a synthetic, short-chain chemical compound. The chemicals are used in products such as food packaging, paints, cleaning products, non-stick coatings, outdoor fabrics, and firefighting foam. In North Carolina, the Chemours Fayetteville plant released GenX compounds into the Cape Fear River, which is a drinking water source for the Wilmington area. With Beth we speak about what got her into this work, what GenX is and where it comes from, environmental racism from corporations, her personal experience with these chemicals, the report she helped with, and how people can protect themselves. Contact and connect with Beth: North Carolina Stop GenX: Articles:
September 30, 2022
18. The Legacy of Uranium Mining and Nuclear on Indigenous Peoples Land
Leona Morgan (Diné/Navajo, she/her) is an indigenous community organizer and activist who has been fighting nuclear colonialism since 2007. Her work includes stopping: new uranium mining, transport of radioactive materials, and nuclear waste dumping in the Southwestern United States. Uranium mining in New Mexico was a significant industry from the early 1950s until the early 1980s. New Mexico has the second largest identified uranium ore reserves of any state (after Wyoming). Although uranium has not been mined in the state since 1998, it left behind a legacy of contamination. New Mexican uranium miners and people nearby have had abnormally high rates of lung cancer, from radon gas in poorly ventilated underground mines, contaminated water, and other serious health effects. The legacy of uranium in New Mexico, shows the decades of indifference from uranium companies and the federal government to the health and lives of people who’ve lived near uranium mines and mills. This deserves to be more widely known, especially the disproportionate effects on Indigenous populations and the communities that live in the region. And now New Mexicans are dealing with nuclear waste and storage in their communities. With Leona we talk about her family history that brought her to this work, nuclear issues NM faces, uranium mining, what locals think about nuclear, and what she’s looking forward to in the future. Contact and connect with Leona: Legacy of Uranium mining:
September 16, 2022
17. Conserving and Protecting the Gunpowder River
Theaux Le Gardeur who is executive director of Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER®, they are a grassroots, advocacy-based membership organization charged with protecting, conserving and restoring the Gunpowder, Bird and Bush Rivers and their Watersheds located in Monkton, MD. Because of the economic, biological and recreational importance of the Gunpowder River, there exists a pressing need for independent, comprehensive baseline environmental monitoring and mapping of the river and its watershed. They participate in monitoring projects such as temperature, pH, dissolved solids, Chlorophyll A, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and bacteria are collected throughout the watershed. This data will be visualized with GIS mapping and shared with regulatory agencies. With Theaux we talk about the river itself, what problems the river is facing, projects and sampling they’re working on, and NASA satellite training that they’re a part of. And to give more information on the NASA satellite training we attended, every day, several NASA satellites circle the globe from the North to the South Pole. As the earth turns, these satellite routes will cross over the entire planet, one swath at a time. Some of these satellites take pictures of the ever-changing waters of the earth. This program is designed to ground truth the satellite data by comparing information from samples obtained in the field to the satellite data to determine how precisely the space images capture water quality data. Contact and connect with Theaux: Gunpowder and their work: NASA and SERC collaboration:
September 02, 2022
16. Plant Vogtle, Shell Bluff, and Zero Waste Updates
Charles Utley is Associate Director of BREDL. He was last on the podcast 2 years ago in Episode 45 called “What’s Happening at Plant Vogtle?” so go back and listen to that one. Now, I check back in with Charles to get updates on what’s been happening with his projects and BREDL for the past two years. We speak about the Shell Bluff for Concerned Citizens chapter, the zero waste plan for Augusta, GA, industries coming into the area, Plant Vogtle, and what he’s looking forward to in the future. Charles mentioned a chemical company that is coming to Augusta and they called Aurubis and they are a world leader in recycling copper, precious metals and other non-ferrous metals, which sounds good, but they are known for contaminating waterways during this process and that is the last thing the city of Augusta needs in their community. Contact and connect with Charles: Aurubis: Zero waste plan for Augusta:
August 19, 2022
15. The Pollution of the Fermi 2 Power Plant
Jesse Deer In Water, based in Michigan,  is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a leader in CRAFT (Citizen Resistance At Fermi Two). This grassroots, Indigenous-led environmental activism group is focused on protecting the Great Lakes. The Fermi 2 Power Plant, on the shore of Lake Erie in Newport, Michigan, supplies 20 percent of the power generated by DTE Energy. Fermi 2 power plant and a neighboring coal plant are polluting the water, air, and land of this area. CRAFT originally formed after the Christmas Day 1993 incident at Fermi2 that resulted in radioactive release due to damage to one of the main turbines, subsequently dumping 1.5 million gallons of untreated toxic, radioactive water into Lake Erie. With Jesse we talk about what got him into this work, the dangers of the Fermi 2 plant, actions his organization has done, the tie between the Fermi plant and nearby coal plant, and what is stopping the government from making changes. Contact and connect with Jesse: CRAFT:
August 05, 2022
14. Stop the Burning of Waste in Baltimore
Steph Compton is a Baltimore Organizer for Energy Justice Network, she has been working on Environmental justice issues since 2012 and she is currently working on all things pertaining to zero waste. Baltimore currently has a large waste incinerator in the middle of the city that burns not only Baltimore’s trash but surrounding states and counties trash. This makes for some of the most dangerous air to breathe in the nation. MIT researchers showed that Baltimore City had the deadliest air in the nation in 2005. According to the EPA, in 2014, Baltimore was the 81st most air polluted locality in the nation (out of over 9,000) and is the most polluted city in Maryland. In 2018, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Baltimore as the 33rd worst asthma capital in the nation. This law we’ve been working on would force the city’s largest air polluter (the Wheelabrator Baltimore trash incinerator) and the nation’s largest medical waste incinerator (Curtis Bay Energy) to abide by the nation’s strictest standards or shut down. With Steph we talk about how she’s going about tackling this incinerator, zero waste and recycling, organizing in Baltimore, politics of the city, deconstruction, and what she’s looking forward to in the future. Contact and connect with Steph: Clean Air Baltimore: Baltimore Waste Incinerator:
July 22, 2022
13. Peace Wanted: Get U.S. Bombs Out of Germany
In this re-release episode I talk with John LaForge who is the co-director of NukeWatch. We highlight his work advocating the issue of the U.S. nuclear bombs in Germany. To give some historical background, Despite the end of the Cold War, about 20 US nuclear bombs are still deployed in Germany. German pilots are both trained and obligated to take off with these bombs in their Tornado jet fighter-bombers and, if the orders come from a US president through NATO, to use them on their targets. This terrifying NATO war plan is part of the “nuclear sharing agreement” between the US and Germany, and includes a first-strike option. NATO calls this nuclear proliferation “Power and Burden Sharing.” Because of this every year a Peace Delegation is held in Germany to bring together people and organziations to send the existing U.S. nuclear weapons back home, and to halt production of the new B61-12 nuclear bomb to be deployed in five European countries as well as to pressure the government and remind lawmakers to permanently remove the US weapons.I will be attending the Germany Peace Delegation at the Büchel Air Base from July 11-17th to participate in direct actions towards this goal. With John we talk about Germany and the US relationship with nuclear weapons, differences in direct actions between the two countries, the goals of the Peace delegation they hold every year, if Germany is making itself a target by having these nuclear weapons, and the relationship Germany has with other NATO countries. Contact and connect with John: NukeWatch: US and Germany history/ background: Nonproliferation Treaty: Germany’s progessive stances: Germany Peace Delegation: Two Plus Four Treaty:
July 08, 2022
12. Georgia State Legislation Passed Unanimously!
In this episode I check back in with Ruth Ann Tesanovich of the Madison County Clean Power Coalition Chapter (MCCPC) and retired Medical Laboratory Scientist from UGA. When I last talked to Ruth Ann 2 years ago, they were in the middle of their fight to ban the burning of creosote railroad ties at the biomass plant in their small agricultural community. Now we talk about their massive success in getting the State of Georgia to unanimously pass the bill to ban the burning of them across the entire state. And how they are now working on the noise pollution and water quality concerning the plant. Contact and connect with Ruth Ann and MCCPC chapter: Learn more about MCCPC and their efforts: Learn more about biomass:
June 24, 2022
11. Environmental Reporting Can Bring Policy Change
This episode I bring back Lisa Sorg after 2 years on the podcast, she is an Environmental Reporter for N.C. Policy Watch. She has been a journalist for 22 years covering environmental issues, including social justice, pollution, climate change and energy policy. To listen to your previous episode is episode 8, called Inside the Mind of An Environmental Reporter. With Lisa we talk about what’s been going in terms of her environmental reporting in the last 2 years, her recent articles about Hurricane Matthew victims, microplastics, her motivation to write these articles, and what she’s looking forward to in the future. Contact and connect with Lisa: or or Read Lisa’s stories here:
June 10, 2022
10. The Cost of a Polluting Recycling Facility in GA
Jennifer Wilson is a member of CHASE which is a chapter of BREDL. CHASE stands for Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment based in Georgia. Metro Green is a recycling plant that is placed in a residential area of StoneCrest, GA. The community there has been fighting this facility for the past 2 years over their health and the pollutants it gives off and the environment. Jennifer lives directly across from this plant and with her we discuss the health effects, Metro Green’s motive, their current litigation case against them, and getting involved in your own community. Jennifer cannot answer questions at the moment due to the litigation case, but if you could like to contatc and connect with Renne Cail who is the organizer of CHASE, her contact information will be in the show notes below. Contact and connect with Renee: Metro Green articles:
May 27, 2022
9. 1,4 Dioxane in NC Landfills & Groundwater
Elise Traywick is a Masters student of Public Administration at UNC Chapel Hill. She’s been doing research with BREDL on all about 1,4 Dioxane in North Carolina landfills. 1,4-Dioxane is used as a stabilizer for chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethane and trichloroethylene. 1 It can also be an unintended contaminant of chemical ingredients used in consumer products including bubble bath, shampoo, laundry detergent, soap, skin cleanser, adhesives, and antifreeze. Causing this chemical is in NC landfills and has been getting into their groundwater. In water, it dissolves completely, even at high concentrations and does not evaporate readily. These properties make 1,4-dioxane difficult to remove from water. With Elise we talk about how 1,4 dioxane is ending up in landfills, where it's going, what products it's in, testing methods and research, and how we can prevent this from occurring. Contact and connect with Elise: 1,4 articles:
May 13, 2022
8. Public Health Aspect of Winston-Salem Disaster
Darya Minovi, MPH, is a CPR Policy Analyst. She is a public health advocate passionate about environmental justice and the use of research to inform policies that protect human health and safeguard the environment. This is our last episode on the topic of the Winston-Salem Fertilizer plant fire. This one is centered around the public and environmental health surrounding it. With Darya we talk about the air quality, what chemicals were released and how long they stay in the air, what can be done now, and overall public health concerns today. Contact and connect with Darya:   CRP report: Other news:
April 29, 2022
7. A Community Affected By A Chemical Disaster
Sidney A. Shapiro is the Frank U. Fletcher Chair in Law at  Wake Forest University and Vice-President at the Center for Progressive Reform. We talk further about the Winston-Salem fertilizer plant disaster that happened earlier this year. You can listen to the past two episodes to get further details on the disaster. With Sidney we talk about his personal experience with the evacuation, the demographic that lived directly by it, EPA’s role in this, reform that should be put into place, and how lucky they were that this plant didn’t explode. Contact and connect with Sidney: CRP report: Other news: Other news:
April 15, 2022
6. Reform Happening for Ammonium Nitrate
In our last episode with David Flores we spoke all about the disaster in Winston-Salem NC that just occured where nearly 600 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire at the Weaver fertilizer plant on Jan. 31 and burned for four days. The risk of explosion was so great that Winston-Salem officials asked people to evacuate within a mile radius, temporarily displacing 6,000 residents. Now with Deena Tumeh who is an Associate Attorney at Earthjustice, we speak about the reform that she and others have been working on for hazardous chemicals like this. With Deena we talk about the cases and reform she is working on, why industries are pushing back these laws, if it was preventable, and how we can keep EPA and other federal lawmakers accountable. Contact and connect with Deena: Winston Salem disaster:
April 01, 2022
5. Preventing Double Disasters: Disaster in Winston-Salem
David Flores, J.D., is a CPR Senior Policy Analyst. He joined CPR in 2016 to work on climate adaptation policy and advocacy. We talk specifically about the disaster in Winston-Salem NC that just occurred where nearly 600 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire at the Weaver fertilizer plant on Jan. 31 and burned for four days. The risk of explosion was so great that Winston-Salem officials asked people to evacuate within a mile radius, temporarily displacing 6,000 residents. The Center for Progressive Reform came out with an article that emphasized the need to prevent double disasters, which implies that hazardous chemical releases by industrial facilities are worsened by inadequate action in the face of conditions of climate change and natural disasters. As the global climate crisis intensifies, coastal and inland communities are increasingly at risk of natural disasters.” With David, we talk about the incident, what preventable measurements could have taken place, who was affected, EPA’s risk management preventions, and what reform can be done on a national level. Contact and connect with David:  CRP report: Other news:
March 18, 2022
4. Air Monitoring 101
Therese Vick is the NC Sustainable Economic Development Coordinator/ Community Organizer for us here at BREDL. Community groups, especially our BREDL chapters, often use air monitoring as a tool for organizing. They are often concerned about the quality of the air they breathe and how it may affect their health or the health of family and friends. With smaller, low-cost sensors available, groups have become increasingly engaged in monitoring the air quality in their neighborhoods to understand and reduce potential health risks. To define it, air monitoring is the systematic, long-term assessment of pollutant levels by measuring the quantity and types of certain pollutants in the surrounding, outdoor air. There are many reasons to do air monitoring such as: assess the extent of pollution; provide air pollution data to the general public in a timely manner; support implementation of air quality goals or standards; evaluate the effectiveness of emissions control strategies; provide information on air quality trends; provide data for the evaluation of air quality models; and support research (e.g., long-term studies of the health effects of air pollution). With Therese we discuss the validity of community air monitoring, the process for a good air monitoring set up, what people can do with this information after, and how to keep these industries accountable for polluting our air. Contact and connect with Therese: Air Monitoring resources: Sign up for local air notices: ​​
March 04, 2022
3. Keeping Baltimore’s Water Clean
Leanna Powell is the Director of Development and Communications at Blue Water Baltimore whose mission is to restore the quality of Baltimore’s rivers, streams and Harbor to foster a healthy environment, a strong economy and thriving communities. For too long, Baltimore’s waterways have been plagued by trash, toxins, sewage, and polluted stormwater. These problems do more than harm our environment; they threaten the health and well-being of our residents, communities, and local businesses. They work to change this. With Leanna we talk about water quality issues Baltimore is facing, toxic pollution, historical aspects of the city that have led to water issues, educating and listening to citizens, and how to get involved with water issues near you. Contact and connect with Leanna: Blue Water Baltimore: Find a local water keeper:
February 18, 2022
2. The History of Racism and Environmental Injustice at the Nation’s Oldest Public University
Geeta Kapur is a civil rights attorney and an activist; she is an alumna of UNC-Chapel Hill and its law school. She is also the author of the book about UNC, "To Drink from the Well: The Struggle for Racial Equality at the Nation's Oldest Public University." With Geeta we talk about her experience attending UNC for undergrad and law school, the racial history of UNC, environmental racism, and what motivated her to write this book. Contact and connect with Geeta: or Geeta’s book: UNC’s racial history:
February 04, 2022
1. Environmental Journalism in the South
Lyndsey Gilpin is the founder + executive editor of Southerly. Southerly is a nonprofit that serves communities in the South who face environmental injustice and are most at risk of the effects of climate change. They do this by equipping them with the journalism, resources, and information they need to make their communities healthier and safer, to hold power to account, and to have agency over their future. With Lyndsey we talk about their approach to equipping people with journalism, how they reach people in rural places, how they create their well-rounded stories, and some of the main environmental concerns they write about. Contact and connect with Lyndsey:  Southerly:
January 21, 2022
7. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear Can’t Solve The Climate Crisis
This is the final episode to finish out the Real Cost of Nuclear season! And it’s all about how nuclear can’t solve the climate crisis. I talk with Don Safer, who is with the Tennessee Environmental Council and does local work with the Sierra Club. There are a lot of claims that nuclear can solve or be a bridge to the climate crisis - but in this episode we question if that is just the industry propaganda that is blinding us to actual solutions? With Don, we talk about how nuclear does produce Co2, factors that make it unsustainable, the factor of time in the climate crisis, and how clean energy solutions can fix many of our environmental problems. Contact and connect with Don:  
December 10, 2021
6. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear Weapons
This is another re-release episode where I talk with Ralph Hutchinson who is the coordinator of The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. OREPA is committed to nonviolence and believes in using every tool in the toolbox. Their main focus is stopping nuclear weapons production at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and protecting the environment threatened by legacy and ongoing activities at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Reservation. We discuss background on Y12 and Oak Ridge, the dangers of nuclear weapons productions, the environmental impacts of the nuclear weapon chain, how we are in a new nuclear arms race, getting to the base of why these nuclear weapons are being invested in and made, and then what you can do to get involved. Contact and connect with Ralph: or Register or learn more about Stop The New Nuclear Arms Race event: President Trump’s 2020 Budget for Uranium Processing Facilities: Universities who are investing or engaging in nuclear weapons: Articles on the dangers of Nuclear Weapons:
December 03, 2021
5. Real Cost of Nuclear : The Problem of Nuclear Waste
Ian Zabarte is the Principle Man of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation of Indians and works with the Native Community Action Council. He lives in Las Vegas, NV and has worked on nuclear issues for 30+ years. We specifically talk about Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, which is a proposed deep geological repository storage facility within Yucca Mountain to store spent nuclear fuel, in other terms, nuclear waste and other high-level radioactive waste. The project was approved in 2002 by the 107th United States Congress, but federal funding for the site ended in 2011. With no federal funding it’s up to the NRC and DOE but there has not been a final decision on the repository license application. The project has encountered many difficulties and was highly contested by the Western Shoshone peoples and non-local public. As of 2019 the status of the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain remains uncertain. We discuss the significant impacts Yucca Mountain has for the Shoshone people, the significance of land and water for Indiginious people, what a nuclear waste repository is, the relationship between tribal governments and the federal government, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), and then what you can do to take action. Contact and connect with Ian: Learn more about the Native Community Action Council: Treaty of Ruby Valley: Yucca Mountain Resources: Radiation Exposure Compensation Act: HOLTEC:
November 26, 2021
4. Real Cost Of Nuclear : Use Of Nuclear, What Are The Impacts?
Dave Kraft is the Executive Director and co-founder of Nuclear Energy Information Service or NEIS for short. Dave was responsible for creating the “Know Nukes!” series of videos on nuclear topics in cooperation with CAN-TV Chicago; and is a co-founder of the Radiation Monitoring Project, designed to provide training and field monitors to communities contaminated by radioactive substances. With Dave we talk about the impacts nuclear has from resources, economics, land use, the climate, and the short and long term effects. Contact and connect with Dave: ​​dave NEIS: Solar Panels Plus Farming? Agrivoltaics Explained:
November 19, 2021
3. Real Cost of Nuclear : Uranium Mining in New Mexico
Petuuche GIlbert tells his personal experience of living in the Grants Mining District in New Mexico and has been working on nuclear and mining issues for 30+ years. Petuuche is also an environmental and human rights activist as well as a member of the Multicultural Alliance for Safe Environment and President of the Indigenous World Association, a United Nations NGO. New Mexico has no nuclear power plants, but it does have the nation's second-largest uranium resource equal to nearly one-third of U.S. known uranium reserves. We talk about uranium mining which is the first part of the nuclear fuel chain and is the  process of extraction of uranium ore from the ground. Uranium from this type of mining is used almost entirely as fuel for nuclear power plants. The Grants Mining District, where Petuuche lives, was the primary focus of uranium extraction and production activities in New Mexico from the 1950s until the late 1990s. Nuclear is responsible for infusing about $3 billion a year into New Mexico’s economy, Los Alamos National Laboratory is being held up by lab officials, politicians and others as an example of the kind of high-tech economic drivers. With Petuuche we talk about the Grants Mining District, nuclear activity and funding in New Mexico, Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS), his work in the area, and what his hope for the future is.  Contact and connect with Petuuche: or Grants Mining District: Trinity Nuclear Testing: Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP): New Mexico’s income from nuclear:
November 12, 2021
2. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear 101
This week I spoke with Maggie and Arnie Gundersen. Maggie is the president of Fairewinds Energy Education and Arnie is a nuclear engineer and expert witness he is also the chief engineer for Fairewinds Associates, Inc, paralegal services and expert testimony firm. They both previously worked in the nuclear industry when they both came to the conclusion that this is not the future they want to support or work in and began their research and formation of Fairewinds to inform and educate people around the world, legislative officials, and members of the press concerning the scientific and economic issues relating to the production of electricity and the sources of energy used to create power. With both Maggie and Arnie we talk about the history of nuclear, what resources we need for it, fission vs. fusion, their peer-reviewed publications, and what they're currently working on. To contact and connect with them and Fairewinds Energy Education will be in the show notes below. Thank you so much to both Maggie and Arnie for speaking with me. To read their peer-reviewed publications and learn more about their organizations Fairewinds will be in the show notes below. And tune in next week where we will talk about how the uranium is mined to get the end product of nuclear. Thanks everyone and have a good week! Contact and connect with Maggie and Arnie Gundersen: Fairewinds: Peer Reviewed Papers:
November 05, 2021
1. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear Terms and Jargon Explained
Hi everyone and welcome back to the In Our Backyard Podcast and if you’re new, welcome. In the Real Cost of Nuclear season, I thought I would start things out with a re-release episode with Kevin Kamps who is with Beyond Nuclear. He specializes in high-level waste management and transportation; new and existing reactors; decommissioning; Congress watch; climate change; and federal subsidies. We talk about all things nuclear: breaking down nuclear jargon and terms, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), how likely it is that another accident will happen, and how Kevin got into anti-nuclear himself. To contact and connect with Kevin will be in the show notes below and I hope you enjoy the episode. Thanks Kevin for speaking with me, if you have any suggestions for future episodes contact BREDL through their website or on one of our social media platforms in the show notes. Thanks for tuning in and come back next week for another episode of the Real Cost of Nuclear season. Contact and connect with Kevin: Beyond Nuclear: Institute for Energy and Environmental Research: Insurmountable Risks Book: Consolidated Interim Storage Facilities (CISF): Decommissioning: Deep Isolation: BREDL: 
October 29, 2021
NEW SEASON : The Real Cost of Nuclear
Hi everyone, it’s your host Jenn Galler and I’m back with another season of the In Our Backyard Podcast and it’s all about Nuclear Energy. We’ve heard pros and cons of what nuclear power can entail, and in this season I’ll be breaking down what the real costs of nuclear power are. From the mining of uranium, transportation of the fuel, the use of it, where the waste will go, and whether it’s a long term energy solution. I’ll also be breaking down nuclear jargon along the way, discuss if it’s an essential energy source, and the safety of it. I’ll be talking with nuclear experts, learning facts, propaganda, and what’s happening with the nuclear industry today. I’m excited to dive into this topic with you all, so let’s get started!
October 15, 2021
6. Youth in the Climate Movement : Jackie Fahrenholz
Jacqueline Fahrenholz is a rising second year master’s student at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. She is pursuing a dual master’s degree in Environmental Management focusing in Ecosystem Science and Conservation along with a master’s degree in Forestry. Jackie worked with BREDL as a GIS Specialist this past summer, helping the organization get familiarized with the program as well as identifying tools necessary for completing tasks that have already been Identified. Some of the projects the team has focused on, include but is not limited to AERMOD modeling and the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate extension. With Jackie we break down what GIS is, how environmental groups can use it, what got her interested in the environmental field, and what her plans for the future are. Contact and connect with Jackie: 
September 24, 2021
5. Youth in the Climate Movement : Leija Helling
Leija Helling is a Community Organizing Associate with Center for Health Environment and Justice (CHEJ). The campaign that she is working on is called Make Polluters Pay which is making polluting corporations pay for their contamination. To give some background, there are currently 1,388 toxic waste sites in the United States that are so dangerous they have been designated “Superfund” sites by the federal government. But there’s no money left to clean up the contamination. Originally, big polluting companies paid into a fund that was used to clean up their messes. But in 1995, Congress let the Polluters Pay Tax expire. By 2003, our Superfund was broke. Ever since, cleanup efforts have slowed to a crawl while all of us as taxpayers are left holding the bag. Today, some of the biggest polluting corporations are making billions of dollars per year in profits and paying zero dollars in taxes. As climate change causes more flooding, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, increasing the risk of widespread toxic exposure from these sites, there is no time to waste. With Lejiah we talk about what got her into organizing work, the Make Polluters Pay campaign, why young people should / are involved in the climate movement, and imaging a better future. Contact and connect with Leijah: Make Pollutors Pay:
September 17, 2021
BONUS: Clean Energy Now! A Song by Raging Grannies
This week we will be diverting from the Youth in the Climate Season to bring you a bonus episode about the No Coal UNC rally happening today at UNC Chapel Hill. Today at 11, there will be a Kick off rally where people will be using their voices and presences to demand justice for the dirty coal that UNC is continuing to burn. You can listen to episodes 3 on the Road to Renewable Season with Jovita Lee and 1 on this season with Amelia Covington if you want to hear more on the UNC coal plant. On this episode is Chris Carlton and Liz Evans who are apart of a group called Raging Grannies which are grannies who are using creative actions to speak out for social issues. CLEAN ENERGY NOW! (Tune: “Bella Ciao” Song of the Italian Resistance WWll)  New lyrics by Chris Carlson for the Raging Grannies We need to wake up! We need to wise up! We need to open our eyes And do it NOW! NOW! NOW! We need to stop this toxic coal plant And we need to stop it now! They’ve been mining, they’ve been burning,  They’ve been dumping their coal ash For a hundred years! Hardest hit/ are poor communities, And that’s got to stop right now! Coal is burning. It’s quite concerning. We’ve got to solve it, get involved And do it NOW! NOW! NOW! DAQ! we’re telling you: Restore the Heat Input Limit, Now! We’re on a campus/ that’s in a crisis They’re full of shit! Useless permit! Change it NOW! NOW! NOW! We need the proof/ that you’re complying With the Clean Air Act right now!! No point in waiting/ or hesitating; We must get wise to their lies If we’re to stay alive! We need to build/ a Clean New Future, And we’re gonna start right Now!! Contact with Chris and Liz: and  
September 10, 2021
4. Youth in the Climate Movement : Nick Trombetta
This episode is a re-release from a few months ago where I talk with Nick Trombetta who is a part of the Sunrise Movement which is a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. They’re building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people. With Nick we discuss the Sunrise Movement's mission, why it is important for youth to be involved in the climate movement, the Green New Deal, and actions they’re taking locally. In the episode there are talks about politicians, but BREDL does not endorse any politician or political party. Thanks for listening and if you like it, please share with a friend! Contact and connect with Nick: Sunrise Movement: How to get involved:
September 03, 2021
3. Youth in the Climate Movement : Madeline Parker
Madeline Parker is from NC Warn. Madeline is a Youth Climate Justice Organizer, which is an arm of the organization that was created in 2017. Their intention is to further develop and deepen NC WARN’s commitment to actively involving youth in the fight for climate justice and against the climate crisis, working both in school settings and out in the general community. We are all impacted by the climate crisis, but youth are the ones most impacted and all too often are not invited to the conversation or able to amplify their voices and engage in the movement. With Madeline, we discuss her work, working with Youth who are already engaged in the Climate Movement, why there has been an uprising in youth speaking out, challenging the status quo, how youth are keeping engaged in COVID and more. Thank you for listening and if you enjoy it please share with a friend! Contact and connect with Madeline: NC Warn:
August 27, 2021
BONUS: Celebrating Lou Zeller: 35 years with Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
This week I’m bringing you a very special episode because it is, Lou Zeller, our Executive Director at Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League last week with us as he retires. This month is also marking his 35-year career with BREDL including nine years as executive director. BREDL’s founding principles of earth stewardship, environmental democracy, social justice and community empowerment is the embodiment and legacy that Lou has and will still carry on.  Lou, the communities, people, organization, and the environment are forever grateful for your time and contributions you’ve made, you will be greatly missed! In the episode we celebrate and reminisce about his time at the organization and talk about his plans for the future and retirement. We also discuss: His beginnings in the organization and how he got involved How he has seen the organization change and grow through the years Some of the successful or creative campaigns that stood out to him The most memorable moments for him personally His hope going forward leaving BREDL His plans for the future and retirement Contact and connect with Lou: Contribute to Lou’s Kudos board: Keep up to date with BREDL:
August 20, 2021
2. Youth in the Climate Movement : Margot Franchini
Margot Franchini is a high school senior from Chapel Hill in North Carolina, Margot is apart of Earth Uprising, a youth led organization who describe themselves as “team of young people who want to save the planet.” They have strong values and principles, some of which are to “listen, believe and act on science and scientific facts,” use “ non-violent” words and actions, and be inclusive of all ethnicities, genders, cultures, and backgrounds. Margot’s organization, Earth Uprising knows that they are the generation that will have to deal with the consequences of our neglect of climate change so they are rising up to take action. Thanks for tuning in and I hope you enjoy the episode! Contact and connect with Margot: Earth Uprising:
August 13, 2021
1. Youth in the Climate Movement : Amelia Covington
Last week, we wrapped up our Road to Renewables season and wow what amazing variety of people we got to speak with. We are now following the season up with our new topic, Youth in the Climate Movement. We will be talking to all sorts of experts and people on the ground about the action being made amongst the young millennial and generation Z. We are kicking off the season by chatting with Amelia Covington from Climate Action. Amelia’s organization uses activism in Greensboro, Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte, to advocate for sound environmental policies both locally and within the wider nation. Amelia will discuss their overarching goal to progress North Carolina towards a clean energy future, and how she got involved in the climate movement and activism herself. Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy! Contact and connect with Amelia: Climate Action NC:,
August 06, 2021
NEW SEASON : Youth in the Climate Movement
Hi everyone, it’s your host, Jenn Galler, and I am back for a new season and it’s all about Youth in the Climate Movement. We will be investigating what millennials and generation Z are doing to contribute to and really lead the climate movement forward. Within the season, we hear from an array of youth who are refusing to sit passively by and are stepping up to take action to protect the future of our planet. Young people’s unprecedented initiative around the world shows the massive power they possess to hold decision-makers accountable and make climate change an urgent priority. Whether through education, community organizing, science, or technology, young people are scaling up their efforts and using their skills to accelerate climate action. I’m excited to dive into this topic with you all so let’s get started!
July 30, 2021
8. Road to Renewables : Perrin De Jong
In this episode, Perrin will discuss the UNC coal plant and why we should be more alarmed about the lack of action being taken to remove it or at least reduce the emissions. Coal plants are not just an issue contributing to the climate crisis but also to public health and endangered species. And Perrin works as an attorney on these matters in North Carolina.  Coal contains trace amounts of naturally occurring radioactive elements. This means some coal plants emit more radiation than a nuclear power plant and can cause acid rain, affecting our plants and wildlife. Perrin also goes into depth about the personal health complications he had from growing up near a coal power plant. With its abundance and inexpensive tendencies, coal has been one of the United States' leading energy resources. However, the air pollution and water pollution alone have counteracted these benefits, not to mention the inhabitants, waste, mining destruction, and significant contribution to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. It's up to us to put pressure on these coal plants, legislators, and energy companies to put a stop to coal power. Contact and connect with Perrin: Center for Biological Diversity: Follow BREDL’s Instagram: BREDL_HQ
July 23, 2021
7. Road to Renewables : Dr. Timothy Johnson
Today we are speaking with Dr Tim Johnson. A common argument against renewable energy is the perceived unreliable nature of it, the sun isn’t always shining and the wind isn’t always blowing. Luckily, we have those issues being solved by people like Dr Johnson. He works in the more logistical side of renewables, conducting research on systems planning and management on resources. He also spends his time as a professor at Duke University, teaching in the Nicholas graduate school about energy system planning and management. We unpack the intersection between energy system design’s environmental quality and human health, the economic influences on our journey to renewables, and the present and future plans for energy storage. His notable publications include investigations on solar power, the economics within sustainability bio energy and its relationship with agriculture, and the assessment of the environmental effects from gasoline and ethanol production. Contact and connect with Dr. Johnson: Contact BREDL on Instagram: BREDL_HQ
July 16, 2021
6. Road to Renewables : Brianna Knisley
This week, we are bringing back one of our previous podcast that follows the theme of our season, Road to Renewables. We chatted with Brianna Kinsley who has a degree in sustainable development and works for Appalachian Voices assisting the people of East Tennessee to address the energy efficiency needs. This podcast looks further into how Appalachian Voices is assisting in energy democracy, the local people having control of how their electricity is produced and distributed to ensure everyone has access to affordable and clean power. With the help of solar, wind and hydro power, Appalachian Voices is helping citizens decrease their carbon footprint by allowing them to choose clean, renewable energy. Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy the episode! Contact and connect with Briana:    Appalachian Voices:
July 09, 2021
5. Road to Renewables : Micheal Walton and Gabrielle Chevalier
Micheal Walton, Executive Director and Gabrielle Chevalier, Director of Marketing and Community Outreach with Green | Spaces. Green | Spaces a nonprofit working toward regional sustainability by progressing the way we live, work, and build in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. They have a focus on making awareness and application of sustainable practice accessible to the wider community. In recent years, “sustainability” has been a focus for Chattanooga's economy. The city has received three national awards for outstanding livability and 9 Gunther Blue Ribbon Awards for excellence in housing and consolidated planning. Contact and connect with Micheal and Gabrielle: Green Spaces: Integrated Community Sustainability Plan:
July 02, 2021
4. Road to Renewables : Sandy Kurtz
Sandy Kurtz is co -president of BREDL’s board of directors and she works with numerous other environmental organizations. We will be discussing how renewable energy has changed and advanced within her lifetime and all the work she has been doing along the way. And from the beginning BREDL has supported communities and organizations, big and small, in making internal changes to achieve their renewable energy goals. Sandy will speak some about that and ways you personally can reduce energy consumption. Contact and connect with Sandy: Follow BREDL’s Instagram: BREDL_HQ
June 25, 2021
3. Road to Renewables : Jovita Lee
Jovita Lee is with the Center for Biological Diversity. By applying law, science and creative media, the Center for Biological Diversity believes that to fight the climate emergency and extinction crisis, we must revolutionize our world to be entirely powered by clean, renewable, wildlife-friendly and democratic energy. They wage innovative legal and grassroots campaigns to drive this urgent transition for energy justice. Recently in North Carolina, a permit was approved for livestock liquid waste to be transformed into natural gas and Jovita will begin by covering what the new bio gas permit in North Carolina means for halting the Road to Renewables and other projects she’s working on. Thank you so much to Jovita for speaking with me about your passion and expertise. BREDL along with the Center for Biological Diversity does not approve of biogas for CFAOS as a renewable energy source and you can read why in our Smoke and Mirrors report in the show notes below. And tune in next Friday where I talk with Sandy Kurtz and how renewable energy has changed in her lifetime. Contact and connect with Jovita: Center for Biological Diversity:
June 18, 2021
2. Road to Renewables : John Farrell
John Farrell works with the Institute for Local Self Reliance, a national research and advocacy organization fighting corporate control to develop the intersection between the economy and the environment. John Farrell is the director of their Energy Democracy Initiative, which, as the name suggests, is a movement to allow more public choice in energy source consumption. The cause hopes to take the decision of energy sources from larger utilities and corporations and give it to us as individuals, so we have more options in our energy resources and hence can choose a more sustainable, renewable energy source. Join me as we learn more from John what the Energy Democracy Initiative means for us and progression to sustainability. Contact and connect with John:   ILSR: 
June 11, 2021
1. Road to Renewables : Maggie Shober
Maggie Shober is the Director of Utility Reform at Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Maggie works to speed the clean energy transformation in the Southeast through analysis and advocacy. She has expertise in renewable energy, energy efficiency, coal retirements, energy market modeling, and transmission. In this episode, we unpack and identify the key concepts, goals, and logistics in moving toward a more renewable future. We will hear the definition of what “clean energy” is and a breakdown of common terminology used in the discussion. Maggie also gives us some great tips on what you as listeners can do from home. Part of Maggie’s work includes researching developments related to the transition to clean energy and then breaking it down to a format more digestible to the public in her blog posts. You can read her pieces at and I hope you enjoy the episode! Contact and connect with Maggie:  Southern Alliance for Clean Energy:  Smoke and Mirrors report (why we are in opposition of bio fuels):
June 04, 2021
NEW SEASON : The Road To Renewables
Hello all! It’s your host, Jenn Galler bringing you new season called The Road to Renewables. We will be learning the basics of renewable energy. As well as acknowledging the progress we have made and the steps we still have to take to achieve clean energy from our renewable resources. Before we get started, so we are all on the same page, I would like to identify our renewable resources. Firstly we have solar energy – from the sun, wind energy, hydroelectric- harnessed by hydro dams in lakes, ocean energy- harnessed by tidal patterns, geothermal energy- harnessed from the earth’s surface and biomass – energy produced by living organisms like plants. Renewable energy tends to be carbon neutral, meaning its consumption leads to no added output of carbon dioxide into our earth's atmosphere and thus has no detrimental effects to our earth, climate and ecosystems. Non renewable resources on the other hand are our more traditional energies such as our fossil fuels - coal, crude oil and natural gas. These fossil fuels are finite, unsustainable and emit substantial amounts of carbon dioxide and contribute a huge amount to our climate crisis. Within the season, we will further unpack what experts, activists, and people on the ground are doing on a local, state, and national level to move us further on a just road to renewable energy. I am super excited to unpack this topic with you all so let's get started!
May 28, 2021
16: Keeping Unicoi County, TN's Air Clear
Court Lewis is President of the Executive Committee of Unicoi Clear. The asphalt company, Summers-Taylor Materials Corp. has revised its application for an air quality permit to expand operations at the former Construction Asphalt Paving Services plant in Unicoi, TN. The town of Unicoi joined in the request for a public hearing in June following a Unicoi Planning Commission meeting in which town residents addressed concerns including: • An increase in emissions beyond those permitted by the state since the plant began operations in the 1990s. • Increases in noise and truck traffic that could negatively impact property values. • Detrimental impacts on the quality of life, health and property values of residents of more than 100 families who live near the plant. • TDEC’s failure to publish a notice of Summers-Taylor initial application for a permit to expand operations in Unicoi in a newspaper likely to be read by Unicoi County residents and subsequent award of that permit. • Summers-Taylor purchase of property adjoining the plant and town zoning ordinances that prohibit asphalt plants outside the two-acre CAPS site. With Court we discuss Unicoi Clear and why they formed as a group, rezoning of the site, public health and environmental impacts of asphalt plants, proximity of the asphalt plant to residents, and how you can support their work. Contact and connect with Court: More on Summer Taylor’s Asphalt plant:
May 07, 2021
15. Oppose UNC Chapel Hill’s Title 5 Air Permit to Burn Dirty Coal!
Elizabeth O’Nan is Chair of Chapel Hill Organization for Clean Energy or CHOCE for short. Despite past promises by UNC to cut coal by 2020, the administration reneged on that promise a few years later and they are still burning dirty coal. UNC Chapel Hill is the only institute of higher learning in North Carolina still operating a coal-burning plant. Now, North Carolina’s Division of Air Quality or DAQ for short has just issued a draft of its Title 5 Air Permit for the UNC coal plant which would allow them to burn MORE coal and emit MORE air pollution. Every major polluting facility in the country must have an air permit to operate. Permits are required by Title V of the Clean Air Act. The permit sets legal allowable limits for how much air pollution a facility can emit. Specifically, the permit regulates sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter/soot, and hazardous air pollutants emitted from the UNC coal plant. Some of the major impacts of this draft permit is that it will significantly increase pollution and worsen the health impacts on the community. DAQ has removed the heat input limit from the draft permit. Without a heat input limit, there is no way to enforce the limit on the amount of pollutants that can be released from the coal plant’s smokestack and allows the coal plant to pollute as much as it wants. This permit will lead to increased asthma attacks, respiratory illness, heart attacks, and premature death for the surrounding communities. With Elizabeth we discuss this Title 5 permit and what it could mean, health and environmental impacts, and tune in for the last bit to learn how you can take action to oppose this permit! Contact and connect with Elizabeth: CHOCE FB: Air Permit information: Comments can be submitted by email to with the subject line ["UNC.15B"] You may also leave a voicemail comment at (919) 707-8726. Comments will be accepted until May 6, 2021 at 5 p.m. A public hearing will be held (by telephone) May 4th at 6pm Eastern Standard Time. If you wish to speak at the public hearing, you must register by May 4 at 4 p.m. To register, please visit: or call (919) 618-0968.
April 30, 2021
14. Rise Up With Richmond County
Debra David* is President of Concerned Citizens of Richmond County. They formed to stop Enviva - a biomass wood pellet facility that is riddled with asthma-inducing health impacts. It threatens to destroy natural hardwood forests and is a terrible environmental injustice. Enviva is the world’s largest exporter of wood pellets,and they are threatening the livelihoods of communities, forests, and the climate by proposing to build their fourth wood pellet biomass facility in North Carolina, but the small-town community members of Richmond County rose up to say “No!” And most recently they have been facing an International Tie Disposal  proposal or ITD for short. The N.C. Department of Air Quality held a virtual public hearing to solicit comments regarding a synthetic minor air quality permit submitted by International Tie Disposal, LLC. ITD plans to build a biochar plant on property in the Marks Creek community north of Hamlet which was rezoned late last year by the Richmond County Board of Commissioners. Residents there are already exposed to multiple polluting industries and the county ranks higher than 80% of other counties in proximity to facilities using extremely hazardous substances and millions are spent in medical care for asthma and other breathing problems. With Debra we discuss background on Concerned Citizens of Richmond County, Enviva and the latest ITD proposal, actions they are taking, and how you can support their work. Contact and connect with Debra: Enviva: ITD proposal:
April 16, 2021
13. Clean Water for North Carolina
Hope Taylor is Executive Director Emerita at Clean Water for North Carolina. Their vision is to have clean, safe, accessible water for all North Carolinians, protected by empowered, educated communities and a publicly accountable government and economy. Campaigns they work on surrounding clean water include: fracking and fracked gas pipelines, water justice, coal ash, and factory farms. CWFNC’s Hope and BREDL were cohorts on Salisbury asphalt and Blue Ridge (formerly Champion) paper mill campaigns, among many others. As well as involved in the victorious decade-long fight against the Southeast Compact Commission and the eight-state low-level radioactive waste dump. With Hope we discuss campaigns CWFNC and BREDL have worked on together, her journey to become Executive Director and what she is doing now in retirement, what clean water means to her, and how you can support their work. Contact and connect with Hope: Clean Water for NC:
April 09, 2021
12. The Sunrise Movement: We Are The Climate Revolution
Nick Trombetta is an organizer with the Sunrise Movement in Chapel Hill, NC. The Sunrise Movement is a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. They’re building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people. Sunrise is also widely known for backing The Green New Deal, which is a congressional resolution to mobilize every aspect of American society to 100% clean and renewable energy, guarantee living-wage jobs for anyone who needs one, and a just transition for both workers and frontline communities—all in the next 10 years. With Nick we discuss the Sunrise Movement's mission, why it is important for youth to be involved in the climate movement, the Green New Deal, and actions they’re taking locally. In the episode there are talks about politicians, but BREDL does not endorse any politician or political party. Contact and connect with Nick: Sunrise Movement: How to get involved:
April 02, 2021
11. The Climate Reality Project
Cathy Buckly who founded the Raleigh, NC chapter of the Climate Reality Project. In 2006, former US Vice President Al Gore got the world talking about climate change with the Academy Award-winning film An Inconvenient Truth. It was just the beginning of a climate revolution. Later that year, he founded what would become The Climate Reality Project to move the conversation forward and turn awareness into action all across the Earth. The Climate Reality Project’s mission is to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every sector of society. They believe real change comes from the ground up. And that a small-but-committed critical mass of activists can not only transform society, but change the world. They recruit, train, and mobilize people to become powerful activists, providing the skills, campaigns, and resources to push for aggressive climate action and high-level policies that accelerate a just transition to clean energy. With Cathy we discuss the background with the climate reality project, some of the biggest factors in climate change today, actions they are doing on a state level, and a climate training you all can participate in. Contact and connect with Cathy: Sign up for the training: Climate Reality Project Chapters:
March 26, 2021
10. Protecting the Delaware River and Future Generations
Maya van Rossum is Executive Director of Delaware River Keepers whose mission is to champion the rights of our communities to the Delaware River and tributary streams that are free-flowing, clean, healthy, and abundant with a diversity of life. The Delaware is the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, flowing freely for 330 miles as it travels from New York state, through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to the Atlantic Ocean. The Delaware's 13,539 square mile watershed is only about four-tenths of one percent of the continental U.S. land area, but it supplies water to five percent of the nation's population --- over 15 million people. The lower end of the River and its Estuary host the world’s largest horseshoe crab population and an active commercial fishery, yet are marked by heavy industry and busy shipping traffic. The Delaware River Port Complex is the largest freshwater port in the world and is the largest for steel and paper in North America. The Port is the East Coast’s largest importer of cocoa beans and fruit and as much as seventy percent of the oil shipped to the Atlantic Coast moves through the Estuary. The Delaware River is a beautiful waterway that people from all around enjoy every day. From fishing to swimming, kayaking to paddleboarding - the Delaware River provides us with dozens of recreation opportunities. The Delaware River Keepers also has an initiative called For The Generations which is a nationwide effort designed to help advance The Green Amendments which are constitutional rights to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment, understanding that only by advancing this call for protection throughout our four watershed states, across the nation and at the federal level will we be able to achieve the highest level of environmental protection we all need, deserve and are entitled to. With Maya we discuss background on the Delaware River, species in it and the significance of the River, threats that are posed against it, what actions they’re taking, and her movement to pass Green Amendment laws in every state and then move to the federal level. Contact and connect with Maya: Delaware River Keepers: Green Amendment Book: For The Generations: A Movement to Pass the Green Amendment:
March 19, 2021
9. Using Your Voice: Energy Democracy in Appalachia
Brianna Knisley is TN Field Coordinator for the Energy Democracy Program at Appalachian Voices. Bri’s passion for rural solutions was formed through her upbringing in a community struggling with economic, social and environmental issues faced by many rural places across the U.S. In the episode we talk about, “Energy Democracy” which is local people having control of how their electricity is produced and distributed to ensure everyone has access to affordable and clean power. Two decades into the 21st century, advances in solar panels, battery storage, modernized electric grids and other technologies are revolutionizing how our electricity can be produced and distributed. But large utility companies with monopoly control over the market are keeping us locked into using increasingly expensive polluting fuels like coal and fracked gas to generate our electricity. But a movement toward Energy Democracy is growing across Appalachia and throughout the country. Local individuals and groups are standing up to demand a seat at the table with decision makers to ensure we transition to a system that is affordable and fair, provides community wealth and jobs, and is built on clean, renewable energy. With Brianna we discuss what energy democracy is and its importance, what’s going on with energy democracy in TN - specifically with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), actions they do, suggestions to the Biden Administration’s transition team, and how you can support their work. Appalachian Voices: Energy Democracy FB group: Bull Run Plant Closing and next steps: TVA Coal Ash:
March 12, 2021
8. Environmental Attorneys in Grassroots Campaigns
John Runkle who is a retired Attorney at Law. Over the many years, John shared his legal skills to many BREDL campaigns  – with communities all over North Carolina. Including landfills, coal ash, nuclear plants and more. Some fights were won, others lost, but John was there to make sure folks had legal protection against being trampled by polluters or various government agencies. Our Executive Director, Lou Zeller has said “John’s the best environmental attorney in the state, bar none,” “What he understands that many attorneys do not is how community organizing campaigns work. He will tell you if that’s a bad idea and won’t work. When we do get into a campaign John is willing to work with us side by side.” With John we discuss the BREDL campaigns he’s worked on, how to work with attorneys in grassroots campaigns, and challenges he’s seen in his work. Contact and connect with John: Highlighting John’s work: Attorneys in Grassroots Campaigns:
March 05, 2021
7. Chatham Citizens Against A Coal Ash Dump
This episode we honor Judy Hogan who is retiring as President of Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump. She has played a critical role in BREDL campaigns with CCAAD which includes victories such as Dec.16, 2020: the Administrative Law Judge Melissa Owens-Lassiter reversed her decision which had allowed coal ash to be disposed of in Chatham and Lee Counties, the communities are announcing another victory. Charah, Inc.- the company that owns the two sites, has dropped their appeal of the 2019 ruling and has agreed that no coal ash will go to Lee and Chatham County. I also speak with Diana Hales who is a Vice Chair of the Chatham County Commissioners who has worked closely with Judy. And then Debbie Hall who is a member of Environmental Lee or ELEE for short, where she and the two chapters have worked together on past campaigns. First I talk with Diana Hales about Judy and her work from the County Commissioners perspective. Then I speak with Debbie Hall on her personal experience and organizing with Judy. I then speak with Judy herself, and we discuss her time as President, her victories, and what this work meant to her. Judy, Diana, and Debbie:,, Chatham County Commissioners: Judy’s Books:
February 26, 2021
6. Sam Tesh: Throughout the Years
Sam Tesh is BREDL’s co-president of the board of directors of BREDL Sam has been a part of BREDL for several decades and now serves as our Board of Directors Co-President. He has been a critical part of past BREDL campaigns such as fighting ThermalKEM’s hazardous waste incinerator He’s also worked with organizations such as GreenPeace and Sierra Club. With Sam we discuss his background within the environmental realm, some of the BREDL campaigns he’s worked on, what the biggest problems he sees regarding the environment today, and why he keeps with this work. Contact and connect with Sam: See updates and what we're doing:  Background Music Credits:
February 19, 2021
5. The Path of an Environmental Justice Attorney
Cathy Cralle Jones is a Senior Litigation Associate at the Law Offices of F. Bryan Brice, Jr. She focuses her practice on environmental litigation and has represented many property owners, business operators, and citizen groups in matters involving mold, groundwater and soil contamination, regulatory compliance, toxic torts, and land use matters. Her experience includes cases involving CERCLA, RCRA, OPHSCA, the Clean Water Act, NEPA, and the Endangered Species Act. Cathy has been crucial in our environment justice fights in Lee, Chatham County, and surrounding counties in NC. She has written articles regarding the resolution of the challenge to the Coal Ash Fill permits in Chatham and Lee Counties. With Cathy we discuss her journey to become an environmental attorney, campaigns she’s worked on with BREDL, 2020 victories, patterns she sees, and what keeps her coming back to this work. Contact and connect with Cathy: F Bryan Brice:
February 12, 2021
4. Whatever It Takes: How NC Defeated a Hazardous Waste Incinerator
Michael Arnold was front and center in the campaign to halt ThermalKEM’s incinerator. On May 22th, 1989, North Carolina Senate Bill 324 (Hazardous Waste Management) was ratified by a bipartisan majority of elected representatives. North Carolina joined a five-state compact that would commit the state to site – and build – a hazardous waste incinerator for ThermalKEM, a private company. This occurred against the backdrop of a notorious incinerator that had been allowed to dangerously operate in Caldwell County with virtually no oversight by the state. In 1990, the State of North Carolina proposed two sites in Granville County as locations for the incinerator. Residents organized with friends and supporters from around the state and – after eight months of marches, fund-raising, lawsuits, public hearings, civil disobedience, and arrests – succeeded in stopping the incinerator from being built. Whatever It Takes is a pictorial history of the successful protest campaign. The book’s title comes from the protesters’ pledge to do “whatever it takes” to defeat the incinerator. With Micheal we discuss his experience in this fight, what impacts a hazardous waste incinerator has, actions they did, and what led to this successful victory. IAP (Incinerator Archive Project)  Website Whatever It Takes  (eBook...1,900 + pages. 500MB download) There's more links/information  at the other video: Park:
February 05, 2021
3. Conservation of Bald Eagles Through Photojournalism
Doc Ellen Tinsley who is a photojournalist. She is a retired veterinarian of equine medicine (horses), who’s best known for her Jordan Lake bald eagle photos and videos. The Bald Eagle's recovery is an American success story. Forty years ago, the bald eagle, our national symbol, was in danger of extinction throughout most of its range. Habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shooting, and the contamination of its food source, due to use of the pesticide DDT, decimated the eagle population. Habitat protection afforded by the Endangered Species Act, the federal government’s banning of DDT, and conservation actions taken by the American public helped Bald Eagles make a remarkable recovery. Bald eagles no longer need Endangered Species Act protection because their population is protected, healthy, and growing.  You can find them throughout most of North American and they can be observed and awed by the public. With Doc Ellen we discuss, what got her into photojournalism, patterns she sees in Bald Eagles through her work, prescribed burning, proper etiquette to observe eagles and what this work means to her. Contact and connect with Doc Ellen: Prescribed Burning: Eagle Etiquette: Bald Eagle history:
January 29, 2021
2. Stop the Open Air Burning at Army Ammunition Sites
Laura Olah is Executive Director of Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger. The mission of the group is to support, unify and strengthen citizens concerned for the safety of water resources in and around the Badger Army Ammunition Plant; to effect expedient cleanup of any contamination caused by negligent handling of toxic waste; and to exercise means as necessary to guarantee water resources are totally free of toxic contamination for us and the generations to follow. Virtually every day, the Department of Defense and its contractors burn and detonate unused munitions and raw explosives in the open air with no environmental emissions controls, often releasing toxins near water sources and schools. The facilities operate under legal permits, but their potentially harmful effects for human health aren’t well researched, and EPA records obtained by ProPublica show that these sites have violated their hazardous waste permits thousands of times. Most active sites, which currently burn or detonate waste into open air, are run by the military and its contractors, according to the EPA and the Pentagon. The Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia, for example, supplies explosives for almost every American bullet fired overseas and is allowed to burn up to 2.9 million pounds of waste every year. Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger’s challenge is to assure that the Pentagon fulfills its commitment to the complete cleanup of toxins that have placed ecological and human health at risk – has been no small task. With Laura we discuss the negatives of open air burning, PFAS and alternatives, actions they’ve taken on a local, state, and federal level, other communities who are polluting through open air burning Contact and connect with Laura: Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger: Open air burning: Bio accumulation of PFAS: Alternatives - supercritical water oxidation: EPA rules to open air burning:
January 22, 2021
1. California Communities Against Toxics
Jane Williams is Executive Director with California Communities Against Toxics who are inspiring and building a sustainable, healthy, and just future for the East Bay, California, and beyond. We discuss California’s economy in relation to polluting industries and their GDP last year was $3.2T, representing 14.6% of the total U.S. economy. California's economy is so big that if it were a country, it would be the 5th largest economy in the world, more productive than India and the United Kingdom. Hexavalent Chromium compounds are common in California and are given off by industry. They have been shown to cause lung cancer in humans when inhaled. The Report on Carcinogens lists hexavalent chromium compounds as known human carcinogens. Studies have consistently shown increased lung cancer rates in workers who were exposed to high levels of chromium in workroom air. We also talk about new laws in place with California, set to ban all heavy diesel trucks and vans by 2045. And these heavy-duty trucks are responsible for 70% of vehicle air pollution in the state. With Jane, we discuss California’s economy, what kind of toxins that are common in California, new laws coming in place, and how you can support this work.  Contact and connect with Jane: California Communities Against Toxics: Heavy Duty truck ban: Prop 65: CEASE fire campaign:
January 15, 2021
45. What’s Happening at Plant Vogtle?
Charles Utley is Associate Director of BREDL. The Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, also known as Plant Vogtle is a two-unit nuclear power plant located in Burke County, near Waynesboro, Georgia. Southern Nuclear Company of Georgia, who owns Plant Vogtle wants to build additional nuclear power plants near Waynesboro, GA. This would increase the negative health impacts on nearby residents and increase the cost of electric power. In Burke County, Georgia, environmental samples contained tritium, cesium-137, strontium-90, plutonium, iodine 129, cobalt-60, according to a recent report by Georgia WAND on “Community Impacts at the Crossroads of Nuclear and Climate Injustices in the U.S. South.” Of each of these radioactive isotopes, tritium is the element contributing the highest levels of contamination, showing up in air, rain, groundwater, river water, drinking water, fish, milk, crops, leafy vegetation, and deer. All nuclear power plants routinely release doses of tritium, which can cause birth defects and cancer. Cancer rates rose sharply for all cancers in Burke County while U.S. rates have declined. CNN television news also aired a report from Shell Bluff in Burke County, discussing how cancer rates in that area are 51 percent higher than the national average. With Charles we discuss the work he’s done surrounding Plant Vogtle, what’s happening now with the plant and in the future, how they pay for and fund the plant, and what they’re future plans are. Contact and connect with Charles: More on Plant Vogtle: Health Impacts of living near a nuclear site:
December 25, 2020
44. Secrets in the Beginning of the Nuclear Age
Emily Strasser is a writer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her work has appeared in Catapult, Ploughshares, Guernica, Colorado Review, The New York Times, The Bitter Southerner, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and Tricycle, among others, and she was the presenter of the BBC podcast “The Bomb.” She is also working on a book about the intersection of family and national secrets in the nuclear city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. To give some background, Oak Ridge was established in 1942 as a production site for the Manhattan Project—the massive American, British, and Canadian operation that developed the atomic bomb. It’s the site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex, scientific and technological development and still plays a crucial role in the city's economy and culture in general. The location and low population also helped keep the town a secret, though the settlement's population grew from about 3,000-3,750 in 1942 to about 75,000 by 1945. At the same time, the government is still cleaning up from the sites’ historic roles. In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency designated the Oak Ridge Reservation as a Superfund site. With Emily, we discuss the history of the nuclear age with Leo Szilard and her grandfather who worked at Y-12, what secrecy means to her within the nuclear industry, how Oak Ridge became a Superfund site and what their clean up process, and what motivated her to write her book. Contact and connect with Emily: BBC podcast The Bomb: Oak Ridge History and Clean Up: Leo Szilard:
December 18, 2020
43. Environmental Injustices in Massachusetts
Claire Miller is the Movement Building Director at UU Mass Action in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 2006 UU Mass Action has been organizing and mobilizing the 20,000 Unitarian Universalists and 142 congregations in Massachusetts to confront oppression. Their pathways to justice are selected by identifying the priorities in which their congregations are engaged, engaging in our coalition partners shared priorities, assessing legislative momentum and identifying who are the most vulnerable people in the Commonwealth. UU Mass Action is committed to the abolition of fossil fuels and the just transition to 100% renewable clean energy. They believe that the technology is available to make this change, all that is lacking is the political will. They believe that they cannot wait for elected officials to take action – the people must take action.  A change of this magnitude requires a shared vision and effective organizing.  In the words of Naomi Klein, “It’s going to take everyone to change everything.” With Claire we talk about what environmental injustices in Massachusetts, what legislation they are working on, what got them into this work, and how you can get involved.  Contact and connect with Claire: UUMass Action: Environmental Justice: Background Music Credits:
December 11, 2020
42. Everything You Need to Know About the Savannah River Site (SRS)
Tom Clements is Director at Savannah River Site Watch or SRS Watch for short. They are working for the public interest by monitoring activities at the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina and other DOE and commercial nuclear projects in the southeastern U.S. region and beyond & striving to halt proliferation of weapons-usable materials. The Savannah River Site (SRS) is a nuclear reservation in South Carolina, located on land in Aiken, Allendale, and Barnwell counties adjacent to the Savannah River, 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Augusta, Georgia. The site was built during the 1950s to refine nuclear materials for deployment in nuclear weapons. It is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The management and operating contract is held by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC (SRNS). Future plans for the site cover a wide range of options, including host to research reactors, a reactor park for power generation, and other possible uses. DOE and its corporate partners are watched by a combination of local, regional and national regulatory agencies and citizen groups. With Tom, we discuss what projects SRS is working on, who owns the site and what accountability they have, plutonium fuel and the dangers, and how you can get involved. Contact and connect with Tom: Savannah River Site info:
December 04, 2020
41. Nuclear Safety in New Mexico
Joni Arends is Executive Director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety in Santa Fe, NM whose mission is to protect all living beings and the environment from the effects of radioactive and other hazardous materials now and in the future. New Mexico is a hotspot for nuclear activities including: Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory which is the birthplace of atomic age of nuclear weapons design and production nuclear waste dump, the Trinity test site which is the world’s first atomic bomb test site, Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), which is a plutomium bomb waste dump, Holtec, Inc, which is a propsed interim storage site for up to 100,000 tons of radioactive high level waste, and much more. With Joni we talk about the full circle of the nuclear cycle in NM, the DownWinders and the need for the renewal of the RECA bill, what Los Alamos National Lab is doing, and how you can get involved. Contact and connect with Joni: Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety: Map of Nuclear Activities: Renewal of RECA bill:
November 27, 2020
40. The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapon's 50th Ratification
Ralph Hutchinson who is the coordinator of The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance whose main focus is stopping nuclear weapons production at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and protecting the environment threatened by legacy and ongoing activities at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Reservation. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal being their total elimination. It was adopted at the United Nations Conference on July 7, 2017, opened for signatures by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on September 20, 2017,  the 50th country signed the Treaty on October 24th of this year and now will enter into force on January 22, 2021. For those nations that are party to it, the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons programs. The nuclear-weapon-ban treaty, according to its proponents, will constitute an "unambiguous political commitment" to achieve and maintain a nuclear-weapon-free world. With Ralph, we talk about background on the treaty, what countries have signed it, what happens now that the 50th ratification happened, and ways to get involved for a nuclear free world. Contact and connect with Ralph: FB Group: Nuclear Ban Treaty, RESOURCES FOR JAN 22nd: More on the Treaty:
November 20, 2020
39. Bridging the Gap of Nuclear: History of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard
Haakon ("Hoken") Williams is the Deputy Director of Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear policy organization that works to improve protections from nuclear risks and assists communities near nuclear facilities and contaminated sites. Haakon has worked with Committee to Bridge the Gap since 2018, including helping produce a series of technical reports on the cleanup of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard that received coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle and NBC Bay Area. The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard was a United States Navy shipyard in San Francisco, California (USA), located on 638 acres (258 ha) of waterfront at Hunters Point in the southeast corner of the city. The U.S. Navy acquired the site in 1940 and they built, repaired, and did maintenance of ships for the U.S. during World War II. Later, the U.S. Navy established the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory (NRDL) in 1946 at HPS to study the effects of and to develop counter measures from nuclear weapons. NRDL operated until 1969 and conducted studies related to ship shielding, radioactive waste for deep-sea disposal, animal research, radiation detection instrumentation development, and other laboratory studies. NRDL also decontaminated and disposed of some ships involved in nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands. The site currently consists of approximately 866 acres, 446 of which are under water. The base was named redundant as part of the Base Realignment and Closure effort in 1991, and was closed permanently in 1994. Since then the site has been part of a superfund cleanup effort to remediate the leftovers of decades of industrial and radiological use. Parcels have been sold off as they were cleaned up, mostly for condominium development. With Haakon we discuss the history not many people know about, with the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, the effort to try to clean it up, and what they want to do with the area now. Contact and connect with Haakon: Committee to Bridge the Gap: More on HPNS: TetraTech Scandal:
November 13, 2020
38. Protecting the Future of Caswell County, NC
Lesie, Scott, and Phil, are all members of Protect Caswell, a chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League that is dedicated to help protect and preserve rights in Caswell County, NC. They are fighting Carolina Sunrock, LLC, a company that plans to run three large hot mix asphalt plants producing over two and a half million tons of asphalt per year, plus three truck mix cement plants, two stone crushers, and three power generators at three separate sites within 10 miles of each other in their community of Caswell County, NC. Asphalt plants are sources of air pollution that may emit significant levels of both particulate matter and gaseous volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These pollutants are considered to be dangerous to human health. One action that the Protect Caswell Chapter has made is a formal request to the Board of Commissioners for a comprehensive review of existing and proposed paving industry permits in the Prospect Hill and Anderson communities. They said "We submit to you this request for a multiple source review. We believe the draft permits are fatally flawed because they fail to protect public health." She concluded, "We just want all these smokestacks looked at together because they all emit toxic air pollution." With Leslie, Scott, and Phil, we discuss how they got started as a chapter, how they informed their county commissioners about theses industries coming in, actions they are taking, flaws they found in the asphalt plants permits, and how others can help. Contact and connect with Protect Caswell: More information on asphalt plants: County Wide Zoning: Moratorium on Polluting Industries: Background Music Credits:
November 06, 2020
37. PFAS In Our World: How Much and What We Can Do
Wanda Bodnar, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill and serving as the Scientist Program Analyst for the NC PFAS Testing Network. Dr. Bodnar’s specialty is the development and application of qualitative and quantitative mass spectrometry-based methods to improve our understanding of the health effects that result from exposure to environmental contaminants. She is focused on quality control and quality assurance of experimental processes and data generation to ensure scientific rigor. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are man-made compounds that are resistant to water and grease. Some PFAS have been linked with a wide range of health effects from thyroid disease to high cholesterol to lower birth weight, as well as some cancers. PFAS chemicals are likely contaminating the source of drinking water for more than a million North Carolina residents by running from the Haw River into the Cape Fear River. The PFAS Testing Network is a statewide research collaboration to test for current levels of PFAS chemicals in drinking water and air samples across the state. The Network comprises Principal Investigators from NC State, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Charlotte, ECU, and NC A&T who have received NC General Assembly funding through the NC Policy Collaboratory. The NC PFAST Network was created in response to a legislative mandate and funding by the North Carolina General Assembly to help answer questions about exposure to PFAS chemicals throughout NC. With Wanda, we talk about the NC PFAS Testing Network, the research on PFAS that they’ve done and are doing, removal of PFAS in the environment, communicating PFAS to the public, and what you all can do. Contact and connect with Wanda: NC PFAS Testing Network: Updates on PFAS: Check your utilities for levels of PFAS: Dark Water: Background Music Credits:
October 30, 2020
36. Wildfires in the West and Climate Change PT. 2
Dale Feik is the Chair of Washington County Citizen Action Network and Project Director of Hillsboro Air & Water. Located in Washington County in OR. So far this year, fires in Oregon, Washington, and California have burned some 5 million acres, marking the West Coast’s worst fire season in at least 70 years. The blazes have killed at least 35 people, destroyed hundreds of structures, and caused extreme air pollution that has threatened the health of millions of residents. Millions up and down the coast have spent weeks living under thick clouds of smoke and ash. Ecologists also fear the wildfires could inflict lasting damage on species and ecosystems. Data from two NASA satellites that can detect heat, shows fire activity in California, Oregon and Washington in 2020 has already eclipsed even the worst previous year. With Dale we talk about his experience with the wildfires in Portland, OR, what work he’s doing/ done to combat air pollution, how wildfires are linked with climate change, and what his hope for the future is. Contact and connect with Dale: 21 Youth Suing Congress: Carbon Fee: Wildfires in the west:
October 23, 2020
35. Russia and U.S. Nuclear Relations
Oleg Bodrov is the Chairperson for NGO Green World. Oleg is an engineer-physicist and environmentalist. After finishing his studies at the Leningrad Polytechnic University (1976) as an engineer-physicist he has been engaged in testing of nuclear submarines. From 1980 till 1993 he was head of a group of the Regional Ecological Laboratory of the Khlopin Radium Institute, St. Petersburg. After a visit to the contaminated area of the Chernobyl NPP in 1986, he left the nuclear industry and came to the environmental movement. Since 2005 he has been one of the initiators & head of an international NGO project for a promotion of safe decommissioning of the Russian nuclear power plants and final disposal of, spent nuclear fuel on the basis of the best international practice (Germany, Lithuania, USA, Sweden, Finland). In 1999, Center for Safe Energy, sponsored 3 weeks of People's Hearings on plutonium fuel in Russia. A delegation of US activists and experts went to Russia as participants in this education effort. Delegates included our executive director Lou Zeller and this is where he met and worked with Oleg. A few years later, Oleg along with his other colleagues from Russia came to the U.S. to advocate and educate against nuclear. Ultimately, with this foundation, plus local community work in NC, SC and GA. Some legal actions challenging NRC permitting (Duke Energy’s Catawba and McGuire power plants were slated to use the fuel), succeeded in stopping the joint Russian-American project to use plutonium in nuclear electric power plants.  The American factory for fuel manufacture would have been at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.  Indeed, the Dept. of Energy spent $4 billion on it before abandoning the project. With Oleg, we talk about his transition from nuclear into the environment movement, his experience in Russia before and after Chernobyl happened, his time in the U.S. touring nuclear facilities, the Russian version of the NRC, and current issues he’s working on now. Contact and connect with Oleg: Documentaries: 1. Wasteland  (about Russian nuclear weapons, reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and consequences for the people and environment) 2. Digging our own grave (about nuclear weapon production in Russia and resistance of Russian society) 3. Vermont state against Vermont Yankee 4. Everything in our power (about Main Yakee NPP decommissioning) 5. Hanhikivi (About Finnish NPP hanhikivi) and about connection of civil and military technologies) Chernobyl: Decommissioning:
October 16, 2020
34. Wildfires in the West and Climate Change
Sara El-Amine is a progressive senior strategist who was one of the architects of the Obama grassroots movement, playing key roles outside the US White House to pass and implement health care reform, minimum wage, marriage equality, gun violence prevention, climate protections, and more. She is currently Head of Community Engagement at Lyft, where she oversees driver, passenger, and local non-profit engagement for the company. She is also a mom to 1.5 year old, Julius. Climate change has been a key factor in increasing the risk and extent of wildfires in the Western United States. Wildfire risk depends on a number of factors, including temperature, soil moisture, and the presence of trees, shrubs, and other potential fuel. All these factors have strong direct or indirect ties to climate variability and climate change. Research shows that changes in climate that create warmer, drier conditions, increased drought, and a longer fire season are boosting these increases in wildfire risk. Once a fire starts—more than 80 percent of U.S. wildfires are caused by people—warmer temperatures and drier conditions can help fires spread and make them harder to put out. With Sara we discuss the wildfires happening in the West, effects it’s had for her and her family, the correlation with the wildfires and climate change, local and state-wide action, and what actions you can take on climate change. Contact and connect with Sara: Twitter @sara_ela Actions you can take on climate change: Climate Change and Wildfires: Wildfire Alerts: How you can prevent wildfires in your area: Background Music Credits:
October 09, 2020
33. Renew TN: Clean and Affordable Energy for Tennesseeans
Brady Watson is the Civic Engagement Coordinator with Southern Alliance for Clean Energy or SACE for short. Brady is based out of Knoxville and is responsible for organizing around ballot initiatives and utility issues that may impact climate and energy policy. He is in charge of a Tennessee state-wide campaign where they want to see lower utility bills for Tennesseans most in need; increase access to solar energy, and put the “public” back in public power. A part of this large campaign is a more localized campaign called ACT on KUB - KUB is The Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) - this is the main utility provider in Knoxville. They have been a long-time, trusted community partner, yet the rules governing KUB have facilitated a drift away from the people KUB serves. Here’s what they’ve done lately: Increased its mandatory monthly electrical fixed fee from $6 in 2010 to $20.50 in 2020. All utility fixed fees on customers' bills now exceed $85 per month. Rushed signing a 20-year long-term contract with power provider TVA, with no meaningful opportunity for public comment even though customers’ dollars are on the line, which has put customers at risk. Spent hundreds of thousands of customers’ dollars on public relations consultants to boost KUB’s image, even though KUB is a public-power monopoly without competition With Brady we talk about KUB and what they have done lately, impacts and where KUB gets their energy from, actions they’ve done to get the public involved, and other energy related campaigns SACE is working on in TN. Contact and connect with Brady: Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE): ACT on KUB: RenewTN: Register to Vote: Background Music Credits:
October 02, 2020
32. Recycle Right: What to and What Not to Recycle!
Shelby Ward a public interest environmental lawyer as well as Director of Sustainable Tennessee and Staff Attorney at the Tennessee Environmental Council (TEC). She is dedicated to serving communities in Tennessee through environmental education and advocacy. She collaborates with stakeholders who share a vision for a sustainable Tennessee and directs the Council’s law and policy program. She is also in charge of the TEC’s Recycle Right, Tennessee program, and it’s goal is to help you understand how to recycle right in your area so we can keep recyclables out of the landfill and in our economy. And here are some quick facts on recycling: A single plastic water bottle saves enough energy to run a laptop for 2.5 hours and and creates 20% air pollution and 50% less water pollution than would be created when making a new bottle Landfills are one of the biggest contributors to soil pollution and the majority of what’s in the landfill could be avoided or recycled Clean prescription bottles can be often donated to animal and other shelters, veterinary, and other clinics With Shelby we talk about how to properly recycle, resources to know what not to recycle, economics of recycling, the lifecycle of products and how much goes into landfills, and what’s happening with recycling on a state and local level. Contact and connect with Shelby: Tennessee Environmental Council: Learn more about Recycle Right: Why China is not accepting our recycling: Landfill facts: Background Music Credits:
September 25, 2020
31. Insights on Environmental Justice and PM 2.5
Anne is an Environmental Justice Research Assistant intern with us at BREDL and a grad student at Duke University. She is working to help community members learn how to use Zoom and organize digitally and investigate COVID incidence across EJ communities in NC. Nanda Gupal is a Research Assistant intern with us at BREDL and a graduate student getting his Master of Engineering Management at Duke University and he is studying the health impacts of PM2.5 from the various non-mobile sources in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. The study includes trend analysis on the various aspects of PM2.5 effects in these states. Contact and connect with Anne and Nanda: and PM 2.5: How to find your levels: Environmental Justice Communities during COVID: Background Music Credits:
September 18, 2020
30. Heired Property Research and Laws Along the ACP
Addyson Rowe is a Research Assistant intern with us at BREDL and graduate student in Environmental Science Policy at Duke University. She has been identifying heired properties that Dominion energy has bought or tried to buy in order to construct the pipeline there. A lot of these properties end up not getting signed off on by the owners because heir properties have so many owners that often don’t even live in the state anymore, so they can’t get in contact with them to sign or they fail to show up to court and Dominion automatically gets the land by default; without having to pay all of the owners. She is calling attention to this as well as identifying the different amounts paid to owners depending on when they agreed to sign. Gabrielle James is an intern with us a BREDL and a law student at UNC Chapel Hill. She is doing legal research on the Atlantic coast pipelines acquisition of heired property or essentially property that is passed to heirs without a will. This practice significantly disadvantages poor people and communities of color and allows corporations like Dominion who were building the ACP to easily (and often unfairly) acquire property and easements. Contact and connect with Addyson and Gabrielle: and Heired Properties: Cancellation of the ACP: Eminent Domain: Background Music Credits:
September 11, 2020
29. Call For Nonviolent Action For People and The Planet
Brian Terrell is the co-coordinator with Voices for Creative Nonviolence (or Voices for short) located in SW Iowa, they are committed to strategic campaigns and experiments, engaging in active nonviolent resistance such as the electoral and legislative process, protest, and to march and demonstrate. Voices has people and campaigns working in Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Germany and more. With Brian we talk about his work he does nationally and internationally, what would happen if nuclear weapons are used, why nonviolent direct action is important, drone activism, and how you can take nonviolent action.  Contact and connect with Brian: Voices for Creative Nonviolence: Drone Activism: Nonviolent action: Background Music Credits:
August 28, 2020
28. Get U.S. Bombs Out Of Germany
John LaForge is the Co-Director with NukeWatch and is currently working and advocating in Hamburg, Germany. Nukewatch has been working for a nuclear-free future since 1979, they bring critical attention to the locations, movements, dangers, and the politics of nuclear weapons and radioactive wastes. The US is the only government that deploys nuclear weapons in other countries. US B61 nuclear gravity bombs are deployed in Holland (20), Italy (40), Belgium (20) Turkey (50-90), and Germany (20). Currently, The United States provides about 60 tactical B61 nuclear bombs for use by Germany under a NATO nuclear weapons sharing agreement. The bombs are stored at Büchel Air Base and in time of war would be delivered by Luftwaffe Panavia Tornado warplanes. Many countries believe this violates Articles I and II of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), where Germany has committed: which states "... not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly ... or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices ...". With John we talk about Germany and the US relationship with nuclear weapons, differences in direct actions between the two countries, the goals of the Peace delegation they hold every year, if Germany is making itself a target by having these nuclear weapons, and the relationship Germany has with other NATO countries. Contact and connect with John: NukeWatch: US and Germany history/ background: Nonproliferation Treaty: Germany’s progessive stances: Germany Peace Delegation: Two Plus Four Treaty:
August 21, 2020
27. Stories of Celebration Along the Proposed Pathway of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Francine Stephenson, President of BREDL chapter No Pipeline Johnston County (NPJoCo), Tom Clark, member of BREDL chapter Cumberland County Caring Voices (C3V), Marvin Winstead, President of Nash County Stop the Pipeline (NSTP) and BREDL community organizer, and Lou Zeller, Executive director of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL). Francine, Tom, and Marvin were all along the 600 mile long proposed pathway of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline where BREDL strategically organized these chapters. With Francine she speaks on how there should be a place where citizens can go to know what their rights are, Tom talks about how the ACP caused conflicts within his family and when Dominion cut down his grandfather's pine tree, Marvin speaks on the disadvantages and problems with fracked ‘natural’ gas, and then Lou talks about turning points throughout the six year journey against the ACP and what is next, moving forward from the victory. No Pipeline Johnston County (NPJoCo) County: Johnston County, NC Francine Stephenson, president – Facebook: No Pipeline Johnston County Cumberland County Caring Voices (C3V) County: Cumberland County, NC Tom Clark, member - 910.322.0664 Facebook: Cumberland County Caring Voices Nash Stop The Pipeline (NSTP) County: Nash County, NC Marvin Winstead, president – 252-478-5442 / Facebook Group: Nash Stop The Pipeline Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League Office  Lou Zeller: or 336.982.2691 More on chapters and campaigns:  Background Music Credits:
August 14, 2020
26. A Journey to VICTORY: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is Cancelled!
Valerie Williams is President of BREDL Chapter Concerned Stewards of Halifax County. Valerie has a family farm that was on the proposed pathway of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Since 2014, us at BREDL began campaigning to counteract the planning and construction of the Atlantic Coast Natural Gas Pipeline that would stretch 600 miles across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. After six long years of dedicated work, we all succeeded on July 5, 2020 in cancelling its construction due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threatened the economic viability of the project. One of the key tactics in leading to BREDL’s massive success was uniting community members against the pipeline from all across the political spectrum. By reaching out to people who are both conservative and liberal and everywhere in between, we were able to create a cohesive and extremely powerful bipartisan movement, one that you don’t see often in today’s political climate. The success of defeating the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is one that should be greatly celebrated. The idea of never giving up fighting for what you believe in and working together despite differences are important themes that led to this victory. With Valerie we discuss her story of the six year journey she and others have been fighting against this pipeline, actions they took, and what the cancellation means to her and her family. Contact and connect with Valerie: BREDL on the ACP Victory: ACP Supreme Court Cases:,205899#.Xo8hZt-YzOg.facebook Dominion and Duke Energy’s Statements:
August 07, 2020
25. Hexavalent Chromium: Its Effects on Human Health and The Environment
Rachel Coyte is a PhD student at Duke University who is the leading author of the last two papers on the occurrence of hexavalent chromium and other contaminants in groundwater in NC. Rachel and Dr. Avner Vengosh have been researching and working on testing wells in NC for Hexavalent Chromium. Hexavalent chromium is a carcinogen made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich and is far more abundant in drinking water wells in North Carolina than previously thought, a new Duke University study finds. “About 90 percent of the wells we sampled had detectable levels of hexavalent chromium, and in many cases the contamination is well above recommended levels for safe drinking water. But our analysis clearly shows it is derived from natural sources” The current drinking water standard for chromium in the United States is 100 parts per billion. This is based on an assumption that most chromium contained in drinking water is composed of a less toxic form known as trivalent chromium. Only California has set a statewide standard of 10 parts per billion for the much more toxic hexavalent form. The bottom line is that we need to protect the health of North Carolinians from the naturally occurring threat of hexavalent chromium, while also protecting them from harmful contaminants such as arsenic and selenium, which our previous research has shown do derive from leaking coal ash ponds. With Rachel we talk about the effects of Hexavalent Chromium, where it’s found, if it’s man made or naturally occurring, if it can be filtered, and how people can protect themselves.  Contact and connect with Rachel: Rachel’s articles on Hex Chrome: Geogenic contaminants: NC health standards: Well water testing: Background Music Credits:
July 31, 2020
24. The Spirit of Resistance: Uranium Mining and Nuclear in New Mexico
Petuuche Gilbert is an environmental and human rights activist as well as a member of the Multicultural Alliance for Safe Environment and President of the Indigenous World Association, a United Nations NGO. He lives in the Grants Mining District in New Mexico and has been working on nuclear and mining issues for 30+ years. New Mexico has no nuclear power plants, but it does have the nation's second-largest uranium resource equal to nearly one-third of U.S. known uranium reserves. We talk about uranium mining which is the process of extraction of uranium ore from the ground. And uranium from mining is used almost entirely as fuel for nuclear power plants. The Grants Mining District, where Petuuche lives, it was the primary focus of uranium extraction and production activities in New Mexico from the 1950s until the late 1990s. Nuclear is responsible for infusing about $3 billion a year into New Mexico’s economy, Los Alamos National Laboratory is being held up by lab officials, politicians and others as an example of the kind of high-tech economic drivers. With Petuuche we talk about the Grants Mining District, nuclear activity and funding in New Mexico, what he and others have done to fight against, and what his hope for the future is.  Contact and connect with Petuuche: or Grants Mining District: Trinity Nuclear Testing: Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP): New Mexico’s income from nuclear: Background Music Credits:
July 24, 2020
23. Stop The Burning of Railroad Ties!
Ruth Ann Tesanovich is a retired Medical Laboratory Scientist from UGA, and has been a resident of Madison County, GA for 36 years. She is also secretary and treasurer of the Madison County Clean Power Coalition Chapter (MCCPC) a chapter of BREDL whose mission is to protect the environment and advocate for the communities polluted by the processing and burning of railroad ties. Biomass includes wood products, agricultural residues or forest waste, and other highly toxic feed stocks such as construction and demolition waste. And in this instance the burning of railroad ties. Burning these materials as fuel for electricity pollutes the air we breathe. In a powerful new letter signed by the Allergy & Asthma Network, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, National Association of County & City Health Officials, National Environmental Health Association, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, the health community’s message is clear: “Biomass is far from “clean” – burning biomass creates air pollution that causes a sweeping array of health harms, from asthma attacks to cancer to heart attacks, resulting in emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and premature deaths.” With Ruth Ann we talk about the biomass plant in their county, the environmental and health impacts, community involvement, HB 857 they got passed, and what their plans for the future are. Contact and connect with Ruth Ann and MCCPC chapter: Learn more about MCCPC and their efforts: Learn more about biomass: HB 857: Sister Site in Franking Co: Background Music Credits:
July 17, 2020
22. The Disproportionate Impact of Radiation for Girls and Women
Biologist Mary Olson's life’s mission is to bring to light to the disproportionate impact of radiation on girls and women. Through her work as a staff biologist and policy analyst at  Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Olson has spent decades working for greater health and greater protection for people in communities impacted by nuclear activities. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, Olson decided to pursue questions about greater harm to girls and women from ionizing exposures. Mary is now the founder of Gender + Radiation Impact Project, their mission is to catalyze better choices for preventing unintended exposure to low level ionizing radiation and an overall reduction in harm – for everyone, but especially little girls who are most impacted by radiation exposure. Ionizing radiation as “radiation with enough energy so that during an interaction with an atom, it can remove tightly bound electrons from the orbit of an atom, causing the atom to become charged or ionized.” Ionizing radiation can be found in many places in our modern world, including residue and waste from the nuclear industry, both electric power and weapon production, medical procedures like x-rays and CT scans, and even air travel. For every two men who develop cancer through exposure to ionizing radiation, three women will get the disease. With Mary we talk about how radiation impacts girls and women, the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima Nagasaki which led her to this work, impacts of her research, and what she hopes to see for girls and women concerning radiation for the future. Contact and connect with Mary: Mary’s work: Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS): Gender + Radiation Impact Project: UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Hiroshima Nagasaki 75: Reference Man: Background Music Credits:
July 10, 2020
21. A Conversation About Power Lines: A Forage Film Documentary
Laura Asherman is the Founder of Forage Films LLC and Director of the film Power Lines. The 30 min documentary follows the construction of an additional two new units at the Plant Vogtle Nuclear Power Plants, which at the time of the documentary was five years behind schedule and more than $13 billion over original cost estimates. These overages directly affect ratepayers across Georgia, who are financing the construction through a fee on their monthly power bills, a process fraught with mismanagement and lacking in transparency. These ratepayer payments significantly enrich Georgia Power's yearly profits, giving them little incentive to ensure the project's timely completion. The film includes interviews with BREDL's Charles Utley and members of our chapter Concerned Citizens of Shell Bluff. With Laura we discuss her filmmaking process, the issues concerning Plant Vogtle, actions the community is taking, what she learned from the whole process, and new projects she’s working on. There will be excerpts from the film as I talk with Laura. Contact and connect with Laura: Watch the FULL film: Learn more about Plant Vogtle: AP1000: Plant Vogtle sinking into the ground: Background Music Credits:
July 03, 2020
20. Polluting for Profit: The Case of Dominion Energy
Kathy Andrews is an advocate, real estate agent, and property owner. She and others are fighting Dominion Energy, a private company, who wants to build a huge pipeline through her and her neighbor’s land. Some of the land Dominion wants to go through is heirs property, the land of working class residents, and rural property bordering the Great Pee Dee River in Florence County- Pamplico, South Carolina. Dominion has representatives offering property owners as low as $345 dollars while paying county officials $10,000.00.  If built, it will devalue  property owners' land, increase health concerns, raise their utility bills, and overall will have no benefit for residents. Dominion Energy claims to provide affordable, safe, and clean energy, but has a history of predatory rate hikes, accidents, environmental disasters, and insistence on investing in dirty fossil fuels like coal and gas. This proposed pipeline we talk about is not formally a part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, ACP, which is Dominion Energy’s huge project; they have many smaller projects in several states, including the one we talk about here in SC. Compressor stations are necessary for pipelines and they are above-ground facilities that are typically located every 50 to 100 miles along natural gas transmission pipelines. With Kathy we talk about why Dominion Energy wants to build the pipeline, the pressure Dominion is putting on landowners, the negative effects of the pipeline, and how she is showing and educating her neighbors that they have rights and don’t have to sign their land away. Contact and connect with Kathy: FB @KathyAndrews Twitter @KathyAndrews Petition to Stop The Pipeline: Dominion Energy and Sierra Club: Compressor Stations: Background Music Credits:
June 26, 2020
19. Q&A: Nuclear Myths and Jargon Explained
Kevin Kamps is the Radioactive Waste Specialist with Beyond Nuclear. He specializes in high-level waste management and transportation; new and existing reactors; decommissioning; Congress watch; climate change; and federal subsidies. Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. We talk about all things nuclear: how it can’t solve the climate crisis, how likely it is that another accident will happen, breaking down some nuclear jargon and terms, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and how Kevin got into anti-nuclear himself. Contact and connect with Kevin: Beyond Nuclear: Institute for Energy and Environmental Research: Insurmountable Risks Book: Consolidated Interim Storage Facilities (CISF): Decommissioning: Deep Isolation: Background Music Credits:
June 19, 2020
18. Citizen Science Approach to Well Water Testing
Dr. Andrew George, is a Community Engagement Scientist and professor at UNC Chapel Hill, his professional focus is community engagement in environmental problem-solving, democratic decision-making, environmental justice, and well-water resources. Citizen Science (CS), also known as "crowdsourcing" or "crowd-sourced science," is the growing practice of public involvement in the gathering, analyzing, or sorting of scientific data for research purposes. Formally, citizen science refers to "the general public engagement in scientific research activities when citizens actively contribute to science either with their intellectual effort or surrounding knowledge or with their tools and resources" With Dr. Andrew George, we discuss his citizen science approach to well water testing in North Carolina, the two BREDL chapters that are engaging in this testing, the difference between well water and utility water, the contaminants they’re finding, and how he’s engaging his UNC students in this research. Contact and connect with Dr. Andrew George:  Articles on Dr. Andrew George’s work: Citizen-Science Approach: Well Water in NC: Environmental Justice Communities: Background Music Credits:
June 12, 2020
17. Not The Future: Problems with Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMR’s)
Don Shafer is with the Tennessee Environmental Council and resident SMR expert. SMR or SMNR stand for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors,they are nuclear fission reactors that are slated to be built at a smaller size but in larger numbers than most of the world’s current nuclear fleet. “small” because they generate a maximum of about 30 percent as much power as typical current reactors, and “modular” because they can be assembled in factories and shipped to power plant sites. These are only proposed reactors right now and the nuclear industry ‘claims’ that they are the way of the future. With Don, we discuss the problems and argue the claims of SMR’s including the economical implications, environmental and public health impacts, and where they are a potential threat. We also talk about how nuclear energy should not be classified as ‘clean’ energy and ultimately that SMR’s and nuclear gets in the way of funding and progressing renewable energy. Contact and connect with Don: or Learn more about the nuclear industry:,,, SMR resources: Idaho and UAMPS: TVA and SMR news: Background Music Credits:
June 05, 2020
16. Frack Free, Coal Ash Free, and Pollutant Free NC
Debbie Hall, Donna Strickland, and Keely Wood, they are all members of EnvironmentaLEE or ELEE for short which is a chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. ELEE is dedicated to preventing fracking and to protecting the environment and educating the public about environmental issues where they live in Lee County, NC. Mineral rights which are property rights to exploit an area for the minerals it harbors. Mineral rights can be separate from property ownership. Mineral rights can refer to sedentary minerals that do not move below the Earth's surface or fluid minerals such as oil or natural gas. We start talking with Debbie to discuss background and history with the ELEE chapter and how they got started, then Keely explains the issues that they are facing now, and we finish with Donna telling us the fundraising methods and events they’ve hosted and how people can support in their efforts. Contact and connect with Debbie, Donna, or Keely:,, and, or EnvironmentaLEE chapter: and Fracking: Coal ash: Fundraising events: Mineral Rights: BHARAT Forge: Background Music Credits:
May 29, 2020
15. Worst Coal Ash Disaster in U.S. History: The Kingston Coal Ash Spill
Jamie Satterfield is an investigative journalist specializing in law and crime with the Knoxville News Sentinel. She’s been a journalist for 28 years and has been crucial in exposing the truth with everything involving the Kingston Coal Ash Spill. The Kingston Coal Ash spill, it is the worst coal ash disaster in U.S. history. In 2008, a levee ruptured at Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Coal Power Plant releasing 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash smothering some 300 acres and spilling into two rivers. With the clean up more than 40 workers have died and more than 250 are still sick or dying. Jacob’s Engineering, who is the contractor for this coal plant and was in charge of the clean up are being sued by the workers. With Jamie, we talk about the background on this coal spill, what the clean up processes has been like, ways to properly store coal ash, now over 10 years later what is happening to the workers who are seeking justice, and then what you can do to support the workers. Contact and connect with Jamie: or Twitter: @jamiescoop Read some of Jamie’s articles on Kingston Coal Ash: RECENT NEWS: TN Regulators deleted and altered radiological tests and Duke Study on Coal Ash: Keep up to date with Jamie and her personal efforts: Twitter: @jamiescoop Audio clips at beginning of the episode: Background Music Credits:
May 22, 2020
14. The History and Significance of Heired Properties
Sharon Ponton is the Stop the Pipelines Campaign Coordinator with us at BREDL and then George Jones is a student at Paine College studying History and is an intern with BREDL. Heird Properties are when, deeds were written where entire families, including children, owned properties and then the owner(s) died without a will, therefore, hundreds of their descendants today could own the property in common...meaning no one person has the ability to make decisions regarding the property. This puts all of the owners-in-common at risk of abuse by the industry which wants to condemn the property. I start by talking with Sharon about her work and courthouse research of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline easement documents recorded in Buckingham County, VA which led them to the heired properties. We also discuss the significance of heird properties and injustices which have led to these them. Then I speak with George about his personal experience learning that he owned heired property and getting to talk with his relatives in Georgia this past summer and also on getting his peers at Paine College involved and aware of heird property Contact and connect with Sharon and George: and Learn more about Heired Properties: Heired Properties and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Heired Property information in Georgia: Keep up to date with what’s happening at BREDL: Background Music Credits:
May 15, 2020
13. Preserving Our Past and Protecting Our Future: The Value Of Conservation and Our National Parks
David Lamfrom is the Southeast Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association, he uses his passion and knowledge of our natural, cultural and historical resources to inspire others to learn about and protect our national parks. We talk about some of the various campaigns he’s worked on and now is overseeing in the Southeast, bedrock environmental laws, inclusion and diversity within the environmental community, the historical significance of the southeast region, working with legislation to help protect and preserve 3 National Monuments, and the significance of having places being marked as National Monuments. Contact and connect with David: or Endangered Species Act: Antiquities Act: Bedrock Environmental Laws: Mojave Trails National Preserve: Sand to Snow National Monument: Castle Mountains National Monument: Bears Ears National Monument: Background Music Credits:
May 08, 2020
12. Zombie Nuclear Power Plant: TVA’s Bellefonte Nuclear Plant
Garry Morgan is one of the founding members of Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team or BEST for short and local expert of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). We talk about the background and structure of the TVA, who provide electricity for 10 million people in parts of 7 southeastern states. We discuss TVA’s relationship with nuclear and then specifically their Bellefonte Nuclear Plant located in Hollywood, AL. It has been named the “Zombie Nuclear Power Plant” because it keeps coming back to life. TVA built this 5 billion dollar nuclear plant, realized economics wouldn't work out, stopped construction, sold parts, and now a couple years later is trying to sell it to Franklin Haney of Nuclear Development LLC who wants to run it as a functioning nuclear plant. We talk about what the BEST chapter did and is still doing to fight against this and what can be done with the plant now. Contact and connect with Garry: Learn more about the BEST chapter: Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA): Bellefonte Nuclear Plant: Articles on the Zombie Bellefonte Nuclear Plant: Learn more about what’s happening with Bellefonte: Stay up to date on what happens with Bellefonte:  Background Music Credits:
May 01, 2020
11. What Is Community Organizing Anyways?
Gustavo Andrade is the Organizing Director with Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ). He is a community organizer, trainer, strategist and advocate for full rights for all people. And previously, Gusatvo worked as a labor organizer with UNITE HERE! and the Change To Win coalition, leading successful campaigns in Northern Virginia, Los Angeles and Toronto.  We discuss why community organizing exists, the power analysis when starting a campaign, some of his successes in community organizing, how when we come together in community we are more powerful, and then what organizing looks like amidst COVID-19. Contact or connect with Gustavo: or Community Organizing: Power Analysis: Tips for Campaigns: Background Music Credits:
April 24, 2020
10. Exposing Pipeline Claims: Research on Regulations and Return On Equity
David Nimer is a Masters student at Duke University studying Environmental Economic Policy and was the Pipeline and Finance Researcher intern with us at BREDL. He is researching the regulations surrounding how pipelines are approved and specifically regarding how rates of return on equity (ROE) are guaranteed to pipeline developers. We discuss David’s research,  how economics of pipelines play in the favor of investors, who actually pays for the pipelines, if there is a need for new pipelines, building a data set on gas flows and electricty prices, and then what we can do with all this research. Contact and connect with David: Pipeline Risks: Rate of equity: Certificate for Public Need and Necessity: Mountain Valley Pipeline: Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Background Music Credits:
April 17, 2020
9. Indigenous Land Is Their Identity: Contentions with Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository
In this episode I talk with Ian Zabarte who is the Principle Man of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation of Indians and works with the Native Community Action Council. He lives in Las Vegas, NV and has worked on nuclear issues for 30+ years. We specifically talk about Yucca Mountain so before we go further I wanted to give you some background information, the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository is a proposed deep geological repository storage facility within Yucca Mountain to store spent nuclear fuel and other high-level radioactive waste. The project was approved in 2002 by the 107th United States Congress, but federal funding for the site ended in 2011. With no federal funding it’s up to the NRC and DOE but there has not been a final decision on the repository license application. The project has encountered many difficulties and was highly contested by the Western Shoshone peoples and non-local public. As of 2019 the status of the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain remains uncertain. We discuss the significant impacts Yucca Mountain has for the Shoshone people, the significance of land and water for Indiginious people, what a nuclear waste repository is, the relationship between tribal governments and the federal government, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), and then what you can do to take action. Contact and connect with Ian: Learn more about the Native Community Action Council: Treaty of Ruby Valley: Yucca Mountain Resources: Radiation Exposure Compensation Act: HOLTEC: Background Music Credits:
April 10, 2020
8. Inside The Mind Of An Environmental Reporter
This episode I have a conversation with Lisa Sorg who is an Environmental Reporter for N.C. Policy Watch. She covers environmental issues, including social justice, pollution, climate change and energy policy. Lisa has been a journalist for 22 years, working at magazines, daily newspapers, digital media outlets and alternative newsweeklies. We talk about her experience as an environmental reporter, her process for investigating environmental issues, push back from industries, as well as issues she’s covered such as SuperFund Sites, 1,4 Dioxane, PFAS and landfill leachate. We talk about the ups and downs of her job and ultimately why she finds her work so fulfilling. Contact and connect with Lisa: or or Read Lisa’s stories here: Lisa’s 1,4 Dioxane / PFAS article: Lisa’s SuperFund Site articles: Background Music Credits:
April 03, 2020
7. Dangers of Coal Ash and How NC Citizens Fought Against It
This episode I talk with Al and Debbie who are co-chairs of Northampton County Citizens Against Coal Ash Chapter. We start by talking about the current coal ash dumps and their effects in their rural community and then how they fought a proposed 850+ acre coal ash dump from coming in by an investor called Vista Green. We talk about the dangers of coal ash, the significance of county-wide zoning, educating the public about coal and dirty jobs, water testing, and how they are now staying active as a chapter to fight any future problem that may arise in their county. Contact and connect with Debbie and Al: or Articles on Northampton County Coal Ash: Dangers of coal ash: Kingston Coal Ash Spill: Background Music Credits:
March 27, 2020
6. Stop The New Nuclear Arms Race
This episode I talk with Ralph Hutchinson who is the coordinator of The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. OREPA is committed to nonviolence and believes in using every tool in the toolbox. Their main focus is stopping nuclear weapons production at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and protecting the environment threatened by legacy and ongoing activities at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Reservation. We discuss background on Y12 and Oak Ridge, the dangers of nuclear weapons productions, the environmental impacts of the nuclear weapon chain, how we are in a new nuclear arms race, getting to the base of why these nuclear weapons are being invested in and made, and then what you can do to get involved. Contact and connect with Ralph: or Register or learn more about Stop The New Nuclear Arms Race event: President Trump’s 2020 Budget for Uranium Processing Facilities: Universities who are investing or engaging in nuclear weapons: Articles on the dangers of Nuclear Weapons: Background Music Credits:
March 20, 2020
4. Understanding PFAS and How You Are Probably Drinking It
This episode I talk with Greg Barnes, who is an investigative journalist with NC Health News. Greg has been instrumental in exposing problems with regulating PFAS and 1,4 dioxane. He breaks down the importance / dangers of PFAS, and how industries have been using them since the 40's but there are now increasingly high levels in North Carolina water systems causing adverse health effects. We also talk about another chemical 1,4 dioxane and how that is also showing up in the water. These chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. We discuss ways we can protect ourselves and hold industries accountable for these chemicals. EPA PFAS definition: PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and an estimated 5,000 types of PFAS. PFAS can be found in everything from Teflon pans to raincoats to food packaging and dental floss just to name a few. How to contact and connect with Greg: or Read all of Greg’s stories here: EPA PFAS page: Check out your State’s PFAS levels: Reverse osmosis Filtration systems: Background Music Credits:
March 06, 2020
3. A Polluting Textile Mill And More: Taking A Closer Look At Rabun Gap, GA
This episode I have a conversation with Cherie and Tom who are founding members of the Rabun Gap Chapter in Rabun Gap, GA. We discuss the multitude of environmental justice issues that are happening in the Appalachian community. The main issue we discuss is Rabun Apparel which is a textile mill containing heavy contamination. We also talk about a biomass plant and improper agricultural practices along with the textile mill that are causing terrible health and environmental effects such as dirty drinking water, chemical and river pollution, cancer clusters, and more. We look into what strategies they are taking and how they are pivoting and expanding their mission across multiple states in the Southeast that are also being affected.  How to contact and connect with Rabun Gap Chapter: Cherie’s contact information:, 706.490.2108 FB page: Press releases on Rabun Gap’s work: 2018 Monitoring Report:  Environmental News: CNBC article about JPMorgan ending loans/funding to coal: Always check out what’s happening with BREDL at Background music credits:
February 28, 2020
2. UNC... Has A Coal Plant On Campus?
This episode I have a conversation with Elizabeth O’Nan, chair of Chapel Hill Organization for Clean Energy (CHOCE). We talk about The University of North Carolina’s reliance on coal as an energy source, what ‘clean’ energy means, how CHOCE is taking action, and what sets CHOCE apart from other organizations fighting this coal plant. Links to all the articles we referenced: To contact the CHOCE chapter: or 828.655.0376 CHOCE FB group: Always check out what’s happening with BREDL at Background Music Credits:
February 21, 2020
1. Who Is BREDL / What We Do / Where We Operate
This episode will explain what Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) does and how we operate as an organization. For more information and see if there is a chapter near you check out  Background Music Credits:
February 14, 2020
Welcome to In Our Backyard Podcast
Welcome to In Our Backyard Podcast this is Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League's new podcast where we will be discussing environmental concerns and topics that are right in our backyards.  I’ll dive deep into these environmental issues that communities all over the Southeast and nationally are fighting such as coal plants, pipelines, nuclear waste, fracking and more. I’ll be bringing you interviews from experts / activists / and people on the ground who are fighting for both the health and safety of their community and protection of the planet. I’ll also be updating you on national environmental topics as they come up and discuss what we can do to engage and hold others accountable. Tune in every Friday for a new episode wherever you listen to podcasts!  Learn more about Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League at  Background Music Credits:
February 07, 2020