“UBS’ statement is a step in the right direction on mountaintop removal, but it’s the bank’s actions that show they’re following through,” said Ricki Draper of Hands off Appalachia. “We have seen that grassroots organizing can make a difference in stopping the financing of this deadly form of mining that poisons coalfield communities and contributes to the destruction of Appalachia’s culture and heritage.”
SAMS is joined by members of The Alliance for Appalachia, including Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KY), Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (TN), and Coal River Mountain Watch (WV) in their efforts to bring scrutiny and attention to the coal operator’s destructive practices, and to call on him to clean up his act. Justice operates mines in all four states, and has recently caught to attention of federal and state agencies for failure to report discharges, bond forfeiture for failure to properly reclaim strip mine operations, and violations for dangerous fly rock in West Virginia. The campaign has had several victories this past month, including action against outlaw mines in Virginia and Tennessee.
Groups Rally for Climate
All summer, organizations across Appalachia have been taking action to stand up for real climate solutions that support mountain communities and a sustainable transition. The group Climate Knoxville held a rally in early July for climate solutions – including a proposal to weatherize inner-city homes in Knoxville.
Groups across Appalachia, in conjunction with our allies in the Climate Justice Alliance, which includes groups working on environmental justice issues across the country, are gearing up for the People’s Climate March in New York City, September 23. This massive march is sponsored by dozens of groups, but environmental justice groups are calling for a delegation that addresses the concerns and struggles of frontline communities as part of the Our Power campaign. The Alliance for Appalachia is joining in the call to action for a just transition to sustainable healthy communities under the slogan, “It takes roots to weather the storm.”
Appalachians Tell EPA to Take Action for the Climate
Dozens of Appalachians traveled from Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee to attend EPA climate hearings in Atlanta, GA, Pittsburgh, PA and Denver, CO with the support of the Sierra Club and many other organizations. They traveled for hours to tell the EPA how strong action for the climate must happen quickly and it must consider Appalachian communities. There is a great account of the powerful testimony from KFTC members here, including the words of Teri Blanton: “Today good people are coming together in Harlan County and all across Central Appalachia to build a brighter future. Our people have been producing energy for this nation for over 100 years. We are proud of our heritage. But there is no reason we should stay stuck in time as the world changes. Why shouldn’t we seize this moment to create jobs in wind, solar, and hydropower? We can put our communities back to work by making our homes energy efficient and installing small-scale renewables. That’s true energy independence.”
Public comments will be accepted by the EPA through October 16,2014, go here to learn about submitting your own comments.
The Alliance for Appalachia’s AppFellow Profiled in Yes! Magazine
This powerful article in Yes! Magazine profiles the amazing people participating in the Appalachian Transition Fellowship. It is a great summary of this ambitious program and the incredible group of leaders that are participating.
The Alliance for Appalachia is honored to be working with Kendall Bilbrey, who we introduced in our July Newsletter.
Currently Kendall’s work is focusing on the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program with another fellow, Eric Dixon with the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center. In this collaboration, Eric is taking the lead on the research, and Kendall is steering the outreach, engagement, and coordination of events and meetings.
To view a current summary of their findings, you can view a powerpoint that covers the history and current state of the AML program. We’re excited to see what comes next from these promising new Appalachian leaders!
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