Our Work: Issues

Featured Issue: Gulf Oil Disaster 04-29-10
Flying with the Gulf Restoration Network on Sunday, April 25, SouthWings Pilot Tom Hutchings took Aaron Viles, GRN Campaign Director, to look at the oil slick generated from the April 20th disastrous explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform. The oil platform broke from the drilling pipe and sank. The pipe is exposed and spewing an estimated 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

Coal Ash 03-03-10
SouthWings has conducted six flights so far in 2010 on the issue of coal ash disposal in Perry Couny, AL. The ash originated from the TVA Kingston, TN environmental disaster in December 2008. At that time, over a billion gallons of coal ash stored near the TVA powerplant flooded into the local community after the earthen dam holding the material failed.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations 12-15-09
On November 16, 2009 SouthWings met with the Lower Neuse Riverkeeper, Larry Baldwin and Waterkeeper Alliance legend and attorney Rick Dove, both of the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation. SouthWings' Executive Director Will Callaway, Conservation Program Director Caroline Douglas and pilot Hap Endler flew with Rick Dove to monitor Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and to inform SouthWings staff about the issue.

High Hazard Coal Ash Impoundments in NC 08-05-09
On July 25, 2009 SouthWings' pilot Hap Endler flew with the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in North Carolina to look at the health of the Catawba River watershed, including observation of unlined coal ash pits.

Cypress Ecosystem Protection 06-04-09
The week of April 27th SouthWings’ staffer Caroline Douglas and volunteer pilot Hap Endler took a trip to Louisiana to learn more first-hand about cypress ecosystems from the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Dean Wilson. We visited Alligator Bayou.

More Trouble for Coal 03-16-09
In the first quarter of 2009 SouthWings has flown more than half a dozen flights related to mountaintop removal coal mining and coal related pollution in Tennessee and Alabama. We are experiencing unprecedented releases into the environment of toxic and hazardous materials related to the production of electricity from coal. After the Kingston Tennessee disaster in December of 2008 (see archived featured Issue: Coal’s Wakeup Call), SouthWings flew another, separate ash pond discharge into Widows Creek in Alabama in early January.

Coal's Wake Up Call 12-30-08
On Christmas Day SouthWings flew with Appalachian Voices to look at the Tennessee Valley Authority's fly ash dam break that occurred on Monday, 12.22.08 in Roane County, Tennessee. The dam failure occurred at the Kingston Fossil Plant.

Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining 10-30-08
Mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR), a form of surface mining, involves an extreme topological change to the summit or ridge of a mountain. MTR uses explosives to remove up to 1,000 vertical feet of rock to reach coal seams. The resulting debris is usually dumped into adjacent valleys as waste valley fill. Controversy over the practice arises from the extreme topological and ecological changes that the mining site undergoes, as well as from the storage of waste materials produced from the mining and the processing of coal. The practice of MTR occurs in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee and is a primary issue area for SouthWings flights.

Florida Nature Coast Conservation 06-26-08
The Florida Nature Coast is comprised of nine counties on the Gulf Coast between Tallahassee and Tampa. It covers 980,000 acres, 200+ miles of coastline and more than 500,000 acres of national and state protected wildlife areas. SouthWings is working with the Gulf Restoration Network and several local organizations to support and promote conservation of the region.