April News Wrap-Up

Save the Date to celebrate with us!

The Alliance for Appalachia is hosting an event in honor of the organization’s diamond anniversary. We are excited to celebrate 10 years of grassroots coalition building in Central Appalachia, 10 years of pursuing our mission by working together to fight the abuses of mountaintop removal and other harmful coal technologies, and 10 years of envisioning a healthy, sustainable Appalachia.

We hope you’ll join us for food, drinks, music, and story sharing among friends and allies in the movement!

This invitation is for our 10 year anniversary party that we will be hosting in DC during our June lobby trip. We will have another anniversary celebration in Hindman, KY on July 13th!

Protect Our Water, Reclaim Our Future

We have finalized the details for our big trip to Washington, DC this year! It’s time to recruit for the “Protect Our Water, Reclaim Our Future” trip to Washington DC, Sunday, June 5-Wednesday, June 8th.

This year we have two main areas of work: We’ll be having a series of smaller meetings with federal agencies (OSMRE, EPA, etc) to discuss strengthening water protection and ending mountaintop removal.

We also will be lobbying in Congress on the RECLAIM Act. We’ll have training on the issues when we arrive in DC, we’re hoping to bring around 30 new and experienced leaders from the region.

Any questions? Want to see about how to attend? Contact Alannah@TheAllianceforAppalachia.org

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Strategizing for a Powerful Year

The Alliance for Appalachia hosts movement roundtables several times a year, when key leaders gather to set our strategy for the coming months. Representatives from Alliance member organizations traveled from around the region to the historic Highlander Center in New Market, TN for our Spring Steering Meeting The steering committee gave direction on the June Lobby trip, the bonding research project and approved a proposal for a new permanent Leadership Development Team.

We also welcomed our new Economic Transition staff member Lyndsay Tarus, and began a new tradition of spotlighting the member organizations from the area–in this case Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) and Highlander Center.

Successful Grassroots Policy Training

The Alliance hosted a Grassroots Policy Training in early April that was a huge success with nearly 40 participants! The goal of this training was to educate our members and allies across the region on how to participate in regional and national politics, and especially how and why citizen involvement is so important in shaping policy. The training was designed to collaborate around four issue areas:

-Laws, policies and rules: different kinds of government regulations,

-Agencies that influence environmental policy in Appalachia: Who are they and what are their responsibilities

-Review of specific policies including SMCRA, Stream Protection Rule, POWER+ and others; and

-How to advocate for your issues, including building strategy and moving forward campaigns

Nestled in the hills of East Tennessee, the Highlander Center provided a special space for workshops and idea sharing among those who attended.  The panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains served as a constant reminder of why we gather to collaborate– to protect, serve, and advocate on behalf of the mountain communities that make up the Appalachian region, our home.  Our hope is that the training participants apply what they learned as they advocate for issues important to them.

RECLAIM Webinar Shares Important Updates on New Legislation

We work hard to be your go-to source for all things POWER+. The Alliance teams are busy tracking the development of the POWER Plus Plan and accompanying legislation.  One major piece of the overall vision is a call to reclaim abandoned mine lands by accelerating existing AML funds that have been sitting in Washington, DC to coal impacted communities as they transition from mining dependence.

The RECLAIM Act, or HB 4456, represents the reclamation and economic development legislation of the POWER+ Plan. Essentially, the bill aims to reclaim abandoned mine lands in preparation for long term development opportunities on the cleaned up sites. In April, the Economic Transition Team hosted a webinar to share what we know about RECLAIM and its potential impact on Central Appalachia and other regions.

In case you missed the live launch or if you want to view the webinar again, follow this link to the recording.The webinar details how the Alliance uses grassroots tactics, based on a strategic approach, to show Congressional representatives that we are paying attention, and that we aim to be proactive in the policy process.

Updates from the Movement: 

A Seat At the Table Series Hosts Successful Event in Hindman, KY

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is hosting a series of events to give people a say in what Kentucky’s energy future looks like and to discuss the ways we generate and use energy. These community dinner conversations are about the opportunities and challenges we face as we work together to plan and build a clean energy economy here in Kentucky. Each event also features fun and interactive presentations, cultural performances and informational displays.

The series has been extremely successful, with packed tables and lots of great conversation! Learn more about these events here.

Advocates for a Safe Water System Campaign Moves Forward
In January 2014 there was a huge chemical spill near Charleston, WV – do you remember? If you’ve been following the organizing that has happened since this water disaster, you’ll know that since the water company compromised the water of over 300,000 people they have disappointed residents again and again with lack of action and attempts at rate hikes! Community members have been organizing for a better water system, and a few weeks ago, the Kanawha County Commission agreed to their ask: to convene a meeting with those Mayors and Commissioners who are also concerned about the troubled water system.

Tracking Water Issues at Pine Creek
In March, there was a disastrous mine blow out on Pine Creek in Kentucky.
Appalachian Water Watch team was contacted by a concerned citizen who lives on Pine Creek, and they were able to document the spill as it occurred in real-time.

See more in this very informative article that goes over the process our every day community heroes take when they are fighting for clean water in the mountains. This article shows you the steps that were taken after the Pine Creek mine blowout, explains how negligence lead to the disaster, and shows you what to do if you detect water issues in streams near you.