What Comes Next? Communities Gather to Discuss Abandoned Mine Lands

Abandoned Mine Lands Meeting a Success!

At the end of October, our Economic Transition Committee, in conjunction with our AppFellow Kendall Bilbrey and Eric Dixon, AppFellow with the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, hosted a summit for folks across Central Appalachia to discuss and learn about the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Fund and other potential strategies for cleaning up some of the toxic legacy left behind by the coal industry.

A diverse group of stakeholders, including impacted community members, non-profit organizations, scholars, policy experts, lobbyists and scientists gathered for a packed day at Breaks Interstate Park at the border of Virginia and Kentucky to discuss the looming issue of Abandoned Mine Lands.

Our hope is to create pathways for communities to influence mine cleanup, create jobs, and diversify our economy. What are the problems we are facing with the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund? What successes have communities had working with this fund? We’re excited to get these conversations moving in the region! Learn more in our press release or in the PowerPoint introduction to the project.

“The AML money needs to come back to where it came from, and where the healing is needed,” said Jane Branham of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards in Wise, County, VA and chair of The Alliance for Appalachia Coordinating Committee. “We have all these people out of work from mine closures. We can put people back to work healing the land – it’s not just good for the land, it’s good for the people, and would be a project our communities could really take pride in.”

Next steps are for an informative whitepaper to be released in early winter, highlighting the findings of this summit, research by AppFellows Kendall and Eric, and recommendations for the AML fund–all to be followed by campaign and project conversations.

Register now for the AML Policy Priorities Group’s In-Person Meeting


Hello from the AML Research and Action Team!

We have officially launched registration for our in-person meeting, October 27th at the Breaks Interstate Park.

What can you expect at this meeting?

  • An opportunity for interested community groups across Appalachia and beyond to come together to cross collaborate and cross pollinate knowledge about the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund.
  • Presentation of the whitepaper by Appalachian Transition Fellows Eric Dixon and Kendall Bilbrey.
  • Strategy building and identification of campaign avenues or opportunities.
  • A diverse group of people working towards an effective use of Abandoned Mine Lands dollars to improve communities.

Who Will Be at this Meeting?

  • Impacted community members
  • Organizers and Activists
  • Representative from community groups and organizations
  • Scholars
  • Policy experts
  • Lobbyists
  • Potentially AML experts from outside Central Appalachia to share their successes and knowledge


  • Date: October 27th, 10am-4pm
  • Location: Breaks Interstate Park
  • Lodging: Breaks Interstate Park Lodge OR camping at Breaks
  • Meals: catered by Breaks Restaurant
  • We have some funds to assist in travel costs

Register here by October 13th to guarantee your spot!

Please contact kendall@theallianceforappalachia.org with any questions, or by cell at (276) 620-9264

The Alliance’s Fellow in Yes! Magazine


Photo by Cat Moore on Appalachian Fellows Flickr

Photo by Cat Moore on Appalachian Fellows Flickr

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!