Join Our Toolkit Tour

Revitalizing Appalachia: A toolkit for clean-up and community development

What’s it all about?
The Alliance for Appalachia is a grassroots coalition of environmental and social justice organizations dedicated to supporting whole, healthy communities. The Alliance has initiated this toolkit to provide resources for communities vulnerable to the downturn of the extraction-based economy. Our ultimate goal is to provide a guide that will assist community leaders through the lifecycle of an abandoned mine land reclamation project– from defining community needs to building partnerships for projects in their area.

This toolkit builds on our learnings from an extensive and collaborative research project, which culminated in 2015 with the publication of the paper: Abandoned Mine Land Program: A policy analysis for Central Appalachian and the Nation

Who is this for?
We believe that community and resident participation is critical to the success of these development initiatives and that as community members we have the power and responsibility to influence development plans by engaging with federal agencies and local entities that are administering and applying for funds. We believe that sharing information at the grassroots level is essential to successful program management. The federal and regional funding programs listed in this toolkit emphasize a clean-up economy and provide opportunities for cross-sector, multi-stakeholder engagement.

What’s next?
The Alliance for Appalachia’s Economic Transition team is taking the show on the road with a toolkit tour through Central Appalachia. We want to share our learnings with you and are providing resources and support through a community-based workshop, training, and partnership-building opportunities. If you are interested in being a host site, let us know! We encourage you to reach out to your neighbors, expand your network, and talk to your local electeds, and community development authorities about your big ideas for community revitalization. Let this toolkit help turn your idea into action.

For more information about our organization,
or to request a copy of
Revitalizing Appalachia
, please contact:

 lyndsay@theallianceforappalachia.org

(304) 691-0260

Trump’s withdraws funding to review the health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining

Featured

The Alliance for Appalachia is deeply disturbed by President Trump’s decision to withdraw funding for the National Academy of Sciences review of studies on the human health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining. Many of the studies under review have shown a significant increase in the rates of cancer and birth defects–as well as other increased health risks–in communities surrounding mountaintop removal mines. The NAS was to independently review past studies’ methods and conclusions as well as identify research gaps and make recommendations for future health impact studies. The review committee had already completed several public comment sessions and almost a year’s worth of work on the two-year project.

We and other people in communities near mountaintop removal sites have long suspected that dust, chemicals, and contaminated water from the mines make them sick. Over two dozen studies confirmed these fears–that Appalachians are at higher risk of many diseases simply because of where they live. Mountaintop removal mining is a public health hazard.

The Alliance for Appalachia has been working to end mountaintop removal mining for over a decade. Our member groups are made up of ordinary people who live in communities affected by this destructive practice–people who are grateful for the research that has been done and who are looking for more answers, people whose health has been sacrificed, people who have watched the coal industry betray their communities again and again.

“If President Trump really cared about Central Appalachia, he would allow the review to continue,” states Mary Love, an Alliance member from Kentucky. “He would boost our economy by supporting education, entrepreneurship, and economic diversity. Instead, he continues to cater to a dying industry, to coal companies who care only about profit, not their workers or the communities they live in. Why is the truth being buried like so many miles of streams?”

We are dismayed that this important review by the NAS has been stopped abruptly. Once again, it seems that Central Appalachians have been fed political rhetoric that is used to benefit others while our real needs are ignored. The Alliance for Appalachia urges the Trump Administration to allow the NAS review to continue, so that our society may strive to make decisions based on science and open sharing of information. Only then can we truly do what is best for our communities.

The Alliance for Appalachia is a regional coalition of grassroots, non-profit organizations working to end mountaintop removal and create a sustainable, just Appalachia. Our work to end mountaintop removal speaks directly to the national effort for progressive, systemic change in our nation’s economic, energy, and environmental policies.

Alliance for Appalachia condemns white supremacy

The Alliance for Appalachia condemns white supremacy and all the organizations that support it both overtly and covertly. We mourn the many lives that are lost at the hands of white supremacist terrorism, and we vow to fight for the living.

We recognize that white supremacy is not simply a fringe movement of ignorant and unhinged individuals. Rather, it is an organized and funded movement with at least tacit support from President Trump and others who hold power at all levels of government. We also recognize that racism operates daily, ubiquitously, and anonymously. To effectively overcome this hateful and violent force, it is imperative that all of us–especially white people who directly benefit from systemic racism–organize, strategize, call out, and confront white supremacists wherever they show themselves.

We know that white supremacists are currently attempting to organize within our Appalachian mountains. While we recognize that racism is a serious problem in Appalachia–just like it is everywhere else in the United States–we do not believe it is the dominant force that these violent organizations are banking on. The Alliance for Appalachia stands with the many across our region who are demonstrating against racist hate. We are engaging in meaningful dialogue with our friends, neighbors, and family members about the threats posed by white supremacy, and we are working to liberate ourselves from our own internalized racism and other manifestations of oppressive thinking and behavior.

We cede not our hearts, nor our minds, nor our neighbors, nor our communities. We cede no ground to white supremacist hate and will not be cowed into silence or submission.

For the land and all the people,
The Coordinating Committee of the Alliance for Appalachia

United We Are Stronger

Friends, family, allies:

On election day, our world changed. We too have been in denial, speechless, angry; and it’s taking time to process the past two weeks amidst a lot of unknowns. But one thing we know, and have always known, is that the people of Appalachia are powerful. We know, and have always known, that our work for social and environmental justice is key to our survival. We know, and we have always known, that in unity there is strength.

A lot of us are hurting over the division in our communities. Many of us are hurting over divisions within our own families and in our own homes. There has been real damage done to our society and to our democracy, and the need to grieve and heal should not be ignored.

At the same time, we need to hold accountable the actions of those in power that would harm our communities further. We have worked tirelessly for meaningful progress towards a sustainable, just Appalachia; now more than ever, we’ll need to band together to protect our progress.

Psychological studies have shown that standing up and taking action actually helps heal people in communities that are grieving or feeling vulnerable and isolated. Today, taking action can be as simple as taking care of yourself and your family – we need you in the long run. Take a walk in our beautiful mountains, sit and listen to the water that brings us life, lean into the joy of our children playing. If you need community, we’re here. If you feel like you’re falling, we’ll catch you.

We’ll be working with our local and national allies to push hard as a united front to protect our communities. Here are some opportunities to take action as we process our healing:

  • Do you have big ideas for our region? Our friends at Rural Support Partners have created this open-source local wiki page to share your thoughts, plans, and visions with each other. Together we can!

Looking forward, there is a lot of work to be done, and we will face it together.We are determined, and no matter what changes around us, our values and our vision are the same. Here are the beliefs our work is founded on:

  • 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.

As we walk this path together, let these values guide our steps.

For the mountains and people,

The Alliance for Appalachia

Support the RECLAIM Act

These are challenging days. But we are ready for action, and to begin the work to rebuilding our region’s economy. If you are looking to spread a little hope today, we encourage you to read this letter about the RECLAIM Act and sign this petition to help move this important bill forward. Then pass the petition along to a friend.

Dear friend,

My name is Katie Dollarhide and I was born and raised here in the Appalachian mountains of east Kentucky. I’m writing to ask you to do one simple thing to help support communities in Kentucky that are struggling with the decline of the coal industry: sign a short statement of support that I will share with my Senator Mitch McConnell and other members of Congress.

Click here to show your support.

reclaim-act-petition

Congress has the opportunity right now to bring $1 billion back to impacted states across the country to reclaim abandoned mines and create jobs and economic opportunities by passing the RECLAIM Act. But time is running short in this Congress.

When you sign this statement of support, your name will be joining thousands of others across the state and country who support a bright future for coal mining communities.

I care deeply about this place and the loved ones that make it home. But right now folks in the region can’t pull ahead no matter how hard we try, and many of us feel like our communities have been abandoned. We refuse to give up on these mountains, but we need some tools in order to construct our dreams for this place.

The RECLAIM Act isn’t just a five year project, it could be the beginning of our new future. It represents a seed that, with a little nurturing, will help my community and many others blossom and bloom. It would help us grow hope in a place where it’s been extracted.

You can learn more about why I care about this issue and why I think it’s important for us all to care by clicking the link here.

The time is now for Congress to get behind struggling coal communities and pass the RECLAIM Act by the end of the 2016 congressional session. Let’s bring our voices and hundreds more to the table.

Thank you for all you do,

Katie Dollarhide

Letcher County, KY

powerplusplan.org

Click here to sign the petition!

The POWER+ (Plus) Plan is a $10 billion initiative to assist communities struggling with the decline of the coal industry in growing and diversifying their economies.

The Plan, which reflects a number of policy ideas that originated in coal country, was proposed by the White House and currently sits before Congress. The POWER (Partnerships for Opportunities in Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Plus Plan consists of four pillars:

Creating new jobs and development opportunities by reclaiming abandoned coal mines

Ensuring the health and retirement of coal miners and their families

Supporting economic diversification and job creation, &

Deploying carbon capture and sequestration technologies

The Alliance has been working hard to move the POWER + Plan forward by passing local resolutions of support, tracking legislation and sharing what we learn with our community members so that they can talk with their Congressional representatives.  We’ve seen the detrimental effects of coal on our communities. Now, we’re working to support a sustainable and just transition for our region; we think that POWER+ legislation could provide the supplemental bolster that our region needs to strengthen our communities and diversify our economy.

Our friends and allies at the Power+ for the People website have created a statement of support that you can sign on to! Adding your name shows that you support passage of the POWER+ Plan and encourage representatives in Congress to seek passage of this Plan through the federal legislative process.

Save the Date to Celebrate With Us!


Save the Date to celebrate with us!

The Alliance for Appalachia is hosting two events 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!

Our first party is in Washington, DC on Tuesday, June 7, from 6-9 pm at the Stewart Mott House. RSVP and share with all your friends on Facebook!

We will have another anniversary celebration in Hindman, KY on July 13th – please RSVP for that party below and share the Facebook page with all your friends!

Save the Date: Grassroots Policy Training

Pictured: Ison Rock Ridge, which was protected from mountaintop removal mining by people organizing their community and engaging in the regulatory and permitting process. 

The Alliance for Appalachia is hosting a Grassroots Policy Training for our members and allies across the Appalachian region. The training will be hosted at the Highlander Center in New Market, TN on Saturday and Sunday April 9-10th and is designed to help people participate in regional and national policy setting.

Registration is open! Register here.

Do you want a seat at the table shaping the policies and legislation that affect your everyday life? Do you want to learn “how the sausage gets made” and how to make better sausage?

From the POWER+ Plan to the Clean Power Plan, federal and state level policy conversations are shaping our lives and our communities. 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 believe that Appalachian people are experts of their own lives and that all people should have a seat at the table in determining the future of their communities.

Scholarships to cover travel are available, childcare can be available upon request. Registration is coming soon. Contact Alannah@TheAllianceforAppalachia.org for more information.

“Knowing about policy helped me to feel confident when talking to members of Congress and Federal agencies about the issues we care about:  ending MTR and building sustainable Appalachian communities. When you know your stuff, you are the expert and can get the folks in decision-making positions to listen.” – Laura Miller, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards

When we are thinking about justice, liberation, and a new economy–there are a lot of obstacles that we have no control of or input to. Learning about public policy and how it works gives us a leg up, a way to provide our input and make change in our cities, counties, states, and nation.” – Kendall Bilbrey, Stay Together Appalachian Youth

Join us at our Grassroots Policy Training to learn or hone the skills that will help you shape the future of our region.

Join Our POWER+ Webinars!

What is the POWER+ Plan?

What’s in it for your community? And how do you access it? How can you work to pass a resolution in favor of the POWER+ Plan? This is your chance to learn from other communities working to promote this new opportunity for economic diversification in Appalachia.

Join our Webinar:

The Alliance for Appalachia will be hosting webinars focused on building local support for the POWER+ plan, a proposal from the White House that would send billions of dollars to communities struggling from the decline in the coal economy for economic development and diversification.

The goal of the webinars is to give groups across the country the tools and information they need to pass resolutions of support for POWER+ in their local government boards and councils.

Two webinars will be held, one daytime and one evening: Tuesday, December 1st at 2pm & Thursday December 3rd at 6pm.

Since it was introduced in February, groups from WV, VA, TN and KY have had success in passing resolutions of support for the POWER+ plan in their local government boards and councils. Over 2 dozen resolutions have been passed at this time! This groundswell of local support has helped to elevate the issue on the federal level and has pressured reluctant lawmakers to work with the White House to advance the proposal. With that foundation of support laid, it is now critical that we expand community support of POWER+ beyond these initial four states to the other states that would benefit from the plan.
Join our webinars to learn more about the plan and how you can work to support it!
Contact Adam Wells, Economic Diversification Program Coordinator for Appalachian Voices at Adam@appvoices.org for more information.

Register for Tuesday, December 1st at 2pm

Register for Thursday December 3rd at 6pm

Comment Today for Sane Selenium Protections

selenium2 comment

We’ve been busy this month advocating for a strong Stream Protection Rule. Now we need you to speak up on another issue threatening Appalachia: toxic selenium pollution.

This element is leaching out of mountaintop removal valley fills in devastating amounts, causing deformities in fish and endangering the health of our streams and communities.

Take action now and tell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it is unacceptable to weaken selenium standards and put clean water at risk.

The significance of the EPA’s decision on a new chronic selenium standard cannot be overstated. Selenium is toxic to fish and other wildlife at very low levels and is commonly found in wastewater from mountaintop removal mines. Once it is released into waterways, selenium enters the food chain and accumulates in fish, causing reproductive failure and deformities.

Officials in Kentucky have adopted, with the EPA’s approval, a standard with serious scientific flaws that does not sufficiently protect sensitive species. Without an enforceable federal limit, citizen monitoring and enforcement under the Clean Water Act will be seriously compromised.

The comment period ends on Friday, Sept. 25. Please take action today and tell the EPA to create a selenium standard that protects fish and people from the devastating impacts of mountaintop removal.