About Us

Photo by Tim MullinsWe are a regional alliance with the following goals:

  1. ending a devastating form of coal mining called mountaintop removal coal mining,
  2. putting a halt to destructive coal technologies, and
  3. creating a sustainable, just Appalachia.

We believe that our campaign to abolish mountaintop removal mining is an important element of the national effort for progressive, systemic change in our nation’s economic, energy, and environmental policies. By working in coalition to highlight and organize against the dangers and true costs of our dependence on coal, we can help move the nation away from our current extraction economy and toward a new ethic of whole and healthy communities.

We see water quality as a key bridge issue that connects the ways in which we are 1) combating the dangers associated with new mining and 2) mitigating the legacy costs of coal industry abuses we face each day—critical efforts for the future of our communities.

The landscape of our work has shifted over the years. Hard fought regulations, a booming gas market, limits on coal-fired power plants, and ever harder to reach coal seams mean that mining in the region has decreased overall; meanwhile, the influence of the coal industry has not. Current and proposed mines are still impacting our communities. New mining permits are designed around loopholes in regulations, and victories are overturned or overridden by courts and state agencies. Our Federal Committee works to address these issues at the national level through the Our Water, Our Future campaign.

Beyond the dangers of new mining, our communities are forced to deal with legacy costs of old mines. More than a century of coal mining in our region has left an enormous burden of toxic water, destroyed land and hidden dangers that limit our region’s ability to transition to new economic options. Thus addressing the legacy costs of coal is a focus of our Economic Transition Committee. One aspect of this work is our Abandoned Mine Land (AML) campaign, which seeks to address ways the AML fund could be used to improve our land and develop our economy.

Week in WashingtonOur work is founded on these beliefs:

Mountain people are experts of their own lives
All people should have a seat at the table in determining the future of their communities
Regional collaboration strengthens political power built locally
Systemic change is necessary to achieve justice in our region

The Alliance for Appalachia envisions a world in which we, residents of mountain communities, are able to determine the futures of our communities; where political discourse is public, is welcomed, is impactful, and is free of corporate interests. We envision a world in which all people have access to clean water, clean air and a healthy land base–and a world in which these resources are owned and shared locally. We envision a world in which successful development is measured by the degree to which local economies are robust and lasting, and in which diversity, collaboration, safe working conditions and self-empowerment are pillars of those economies.