Press Release: Appalachians Look to Branch Out from Coal-Based Economy

Two dozen local government entities in the heart of Central Appalachia’s coalfields have passed resolutions calling for major federal investment to revive the region’s economy, which is struggling in the midst of the coal industry decline. Most have referred specifically to the White House budget proposal called the “POWER+ Plan.” All passed unopposed.

Starting in July with the community of Norton, Va. —the first to pass such a resolution—a groundswell of support has spread across the region for the plan, a $10 billion proposal to help coal-impacted communities across the country, including more than $1 billion for a range of economic initiatives in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. President Obama announced the plan in February as part of his proposed 2016 budget, but congressional representatives from the coal region have been slow to warm up to the plan.

The resolutions, and a variety of other public and private efforts in recent years, show the huge disconnect between what local citizens see as a necessary way forward to bolster the region’s economy and the politically motivated “war on coal” rhetoric of industry leaders and their allies.

“The benefits of the POWER+ Plan to the people of Eastern Kentucky, both in the short-term creation of jobs and business opportunities, as well as the long-term economic development of the region, are essential to overcome the devastating effects of our current economic difficulties as we transition to a post-coal economy,” wrote Pike County Executive William Deskins in a letter to Rep. Hal Rogers, on September 28, which he included with a copy of the resolution passed by the Pike County Fiscal Court.

The POWER+ Plan would provide $1 billion over five years to coal states and tribal lands to clean up abandoned mines that continue to pollute waterways and pose health and safety hazards, including almost $68 million for the four states of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. It would also provide $25 million to the Appalachian Regional Commission to support local food systems, health care, energy efficiency and other sectors in the agency’s 13-state region. Additionally, the plan earmarks $128 million to support worker retraining and other economic development initiatives in coal-impacted communities, and would ensure the solvency of the United Mine Workers of America’s health care and pension plans.

“The POWER+ Plan will provide funding to put local people to work building the broadband and municipal water and sewer infrastructure that is urgently needed in our mountain communities. We urge our West Virginia congressional delegation to support this funding proposal,” says Carey Jo Grace,  a member of the Alliance for Appalachia from Charleston.

At the August meeting of the Wise County Board of Supervisors in southwest Virginia, citizens told officials the plan would help develop the region’s tourism assets, retrain laid-off miners, and support health and pension plans for retired miners. In response, board member Ron Shortt said: “We’re behind you 100 percent on this. We realize how important it is to Southwest Virginia and Wise County.”

“There’s a strong sense of excitement and energy these days about the potential for the region, for expanding the opportunities for jobs and more sustainable businesses that are good for workers, communities and the environment,” says Adam Wells, in the Wise County office of Appalachian Voices. This fall, Wells led a project to host eight forums around southwest Virginia to get input from ordinary citizens about their vision for the future. More than 130 people attended, including many younger people who planned to stay involved, he said.

Andrianah Kilgore, 25, was one of them. “I want to see Wise County reach its full potential and I want to work for a better tomorrow, not only to benefit us now, but to benefit the future generations that love Wise and plan to reside here, just as I have chosen to do,” she says.

 

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October Updates

Last Chance to Comment for a Strong SPR

We know approximately 30,000 comments have been written for a strong Stream Protection Rule (SPR) – can we get to 50,000? Comments are due October 25th – click here to comment today!This is one of the best and last chances for the Obama Administration to protect Appalachia from the worst of mountaintop removal.

The Stream Protection Rule is intended to limit the dumping of toxic mountaintop removal waste into our endangered streams. We’ve been demanding these protections for almost eight years and, after a series of delay tactics from the coal industry, we are glad the Obama administration is finally taking action. But we need it to be strengthened, and we have only a few days left to make our voices heard.

Please comment and share with your networks on Facebook!

Rallying for Clean Water at SPR Hearings

Last month, members of The Alliance for Appalachia were busy organizing members and allies to attend in-person hearings to speak up in favor of water protections.

Despite intimidation from the coal industry, hundreds of people traveled long distances to show up and speak up for a strong Stream Protection Rule in Lexington, KY, Big Stone Gap, VA, Charleston, WV and other cities nationwide.

Speaking up in the face of intimidation – including heckling and physical threats – takes true courage, and we’re so proud to work alongside these every day heroes who are fighting to protect their communities and families from water pollution

If you missed your chance to comment in person, you can always comment on-line using our convenient form!

Meeting with Interior Secretary Jewell

Last month. members of The Alliance met with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. This was the first cabinet-level meeting our coalition of groups has secured. We discussed the Stream Protection Rule and the ongoing impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining.

The secretary was open to our comments on revisions that would strengthen the final rule, and clearly understands its importance to protecting the environment and fostering a positive, sustainable economic future for Appalachia.

Selenium Comments Submitted

One of our key policy asks from the Obama administration for 2015 was for a strong selenium ruling that would limit the pollution from this toxic chemical and allow citizens to have a role in monitoring streams.

Selenium, a chemical commonly found in wastewater from mountaintop removal coal mines and in coal ash ponds, is toxic to fish and other wildlife at very low levels, and it is toxic to humans at high levels. Once it is released into waterways, selenium enters the food chain and accumulates in fish, causing reproductive failure and deformities.

The comment period has now closed, and we’re hoping that the administration listens to the many who contributed comments on this important issue.

POWER+ Resolutions Continue to Pop Up Across the Region

Communities throughout Appalachia have been showing their support for the POWER+ campaign by passing resolutions in favor of the proposal from the Obama administration. So far resolutions have been passed in 23 communities throughout the region!

These actions are in stark contrast to the reactions of our state and federal leaders to the plan, which could bring could bring $1 billion in federal funding to the region to reclaim abandoned mine lands sites in ways that will create long term economic development.

The Alliance for Appalachia is working with our members and allies to support these community resolutions and other grassroots efforts to bring the benefits of the POWER+ Plan to our communities.

The Alliance for Appalachia Hosts a Productive Fall Meeting

The Alliance for Appalachia hosted our fall meeting at Breaks Interstate Park; it was a chance for our member groups and allies to get updates on work happening in the region and begin to plan what’s next for the region. Our final meeting for 2015 will be in December 2015.

Thanks to all who contributed to the meeting for making it another productive success – and thanks to Joanne Golden Hill for taking the pictures below!

Updates from the Movement: 

Economic Development Community Forums Held in Southwestern Virginia:
Appalachian Voices has recently partnered with Virginia Organizing to convene eight visioning forums across Virginia’s coalfield counties. The purpose of these forums is to gather community-level input about the future of our economy. These forums are open to the public, and people of all beliefs and backgrounds have been attending and contributing fresh new ideas for the future of their communities.

Input gathered during the forums will be synthesized into a “Citizens’ Roadmap for a New Economy” report that will engage local governments and planning districts on economic development priorities. Learn more about this exciting project at their website!

White House POWER Initiative Grants Awarded
The White House has announced $14.5 million in grant awards for organizations and local governments across 12 states that are building a better economic future for their communities. A majority of the 36 awards, and most of the grant dollars, are going to plan or implement projects in Central Appalachia.

We are especially excited for our friends at Appalshop who received funding to build a one-year IT workforce certificate program targeted to communities affected by the reduction in coal employment. Learn more about the grant recipients here.
Clean Power Plan to Empower Kentucky
Empower Kentucky is an ambitious project to re-shape Kentucky’s energy future based on a vision “that works for everybody” announced recently by KFTC.

As explained in the webinar that launched the program: “Over the next year KFTC will invite thousands of people from all walks of life to share their vision and ideas for transforming Kentucky’s energy system,” said Sean Hardy of Louisville. “Then, together, we will write our own energy plan, one that works for everybody, all of us.”

We’re Hiring Two Positions

ETA: These positions are no longer open.

The Alliance for Appalachia is hiring! The Alliance for Appalachia is a dynamic leader of change in Appalachia, working for a just and sustainable future at the local, regional, and federal level. We’re excited to bring two new staff into our powerful network.

Two full-time, salaried positions are available; applications will be accepted until the positions are hired. Preference will be given to applications received before October 1st.

Positions include the Coordinator for The Alliance for Appalachia as well as the Economic Transition Coordinator.

As you may know, we recently posted the Economic Transition Coordinator as a part-time position, but thanks to generous funding, we are now able to open this position as full-time.

Please share this announcement with your networks!

Read more about the Alliance for Appalachia Coordinator Job Announcement.

Read more about the Alliance for Appalachia Economic Transition Coordinator Job Announcement.

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.

September Newsletter

Stream Protection Rule Hearings in Full Swing

It’s been a busy summer! We are active across the region working to support local communities to turn out for the Stream Protection Rule comment period.

In July, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) released the long-awaited draft of the Stream Protection Rule regarding restrictions on surface coal mining near waterways. OSMRE will be holding six public hearings across the nation that will give people a chance to provide feedback on the rule.

Three of these meetings are being held near impacted coalfield residents in Appalachia. We need to get as many people to these hearings as we can to let OSMRE know know that we support clean water and a healthy environment in central Appalachia.

The hearing in Lexington went great – with a lot of speakers from our side, and a positive response from the OSMRE on the informed comments given by many speakers in favor of stronger water protections. This article and this article give some interesting coverage – with great quotes from some of our friends!

There are two more hearing next week – can you be there? You can RSVP by following the links below:

Big Stone Gap, Va.
Tues. Sept. 15, 2015
5-9 p.m.
Charleston, W.Va.
Thurs. Sept. 17, 2015
5-9 p.m.
Can’t make it to a hearing? Click here to learn how you can comment on-line!

Power+ Resolutions Pop Up Across the Region

Communities throughout Appalachia have been showing their support for the POWER+ campaign by passing resolutions in favor of the proposal from the Obama administration. So far resolutions have been passed by Harlan and Letcher counties, Whitesburg and Benham in Kentucky; Wise County and Norton in Virginia and Campbell County, Tenn – with more in the works.

These actions are in stark contrast to the reactions of our state and federal leaders to the plan, which could bring could bring $1 billion in federal funding to the region to reclaim abandoned mine lands sites in ways that will create long term economic development.

As this article states, the POWER+ plan would support the reclamation of abandoned mines, with the goal of tying the reclamation work to projects that would provide a longer-term economic boost. However, the plan requires congressional approval.

That could include reclaiming sites for uses such as agriculture, tourism and forestry, and it could creation more than 700 jobs according to the AML Whitepaper published by The Alliance for Appalachia this past July.

The Alliance for Appalachia is working with our members and allies to support these community resolutions and other grassroots efforts to bring the benefits of the POWER+ Plan to our communities.

Staff Updates from The Alliance for Appalachia

We’re so grateful for all the wonderful work of our former coordinator Samantha Wallace, who stepped down from her position at the end of August. She has moved on to new adventures, and we wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.

We are pleased to be working with Dana Kuhnline as an interim coordinator. Dana was our first coordinator in 2007, and has remained an active supporter of The Alliance for Appalachia ever since. Contact her with any questions at Dana@TheAllianceforAppalachia.org.

We’ll be opening up a hiring process soon – so keep an eye out to share our job description.

Updates from the Movement: 

SAMS Hosts a Victory Fish Fry
Beautiful Ison Rock Ridge in Wise County, VA has been protected from mountaintop removal through years of hard work from SAMS and allies. Last week they hosted a victory party to gather friends and celebrate the milestone. People traveled from across the region for music, food and dancing.

Congratulations to the communities surrounding Ison Rock Ridge on preserving your beautiful mountain for future generations!

After the West Virginia Water Crisis: Advocates for a Safe Water System Launch Campaign for Public Takeover of Water Company

An advocacy group formed after the January 2014 Elk River Chemical spill will launch a campaign aimed to create a publicly-owned water system in the Kanawha Valley. Learn more in this informative article, or support this group ontheir Facebook page. 
Grassroots Groups Show Support for the Clean Power Plan
Not to be confused with the POWER+ plan, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would limit carbon pollution from existing power plants.

While many states are responding by suing the EPA, at the grassroots level, communities realize that it is an opportunity to support the health communities impacted by toxic coal fired power plants as well as transition to clean energy. Many have responded with powerful testimony in favor of the plan, including this Kentucky lawmaker.

IG2BYITM a Powerful Success

It’s Good to be Young in the Mountains recently hosted its first conference celebrating youth who are committed to Appalachia. Learn more about this great project at their website or through this beautiful video. Check out this blog about the inaugural IG2BYITM. This powerful event  celebrating the best parts of being young in the mountains, was created by the STAY Project and supported by a wide coalition supporters.

Can You Join Us? Speak Up for Our Water and Our Future!

The federal Office of Surface Mining has finally released a draft version of its long-awaited Stream Protection Rule, and is holding hearings across the region to hear from community members impacted by surface coal mining. We need your help to make sure this critical rule overcomes industry opposition.

Sign Up to Attend a Hearing Now!

Lexington, Ky.
Thurs. Sept. 3, 2015
5-9 p.m.

Big Stone Gap, Va.
Tues. Sept. 15, 2015
5-9 p.m.

Charleston, W.Va.
Thurs. Sept. 17, 2015
5-9 p.m.

The coal industry has spent years trying to stall the rulemaking process and prevent science-based protections for Appalachian streams. If it succeeds in weakening the rule, hundreds of more miles of streams would be threatened by mountaintop removal.

Appalachia’s economic future depends on sustainable communities and a healthy environment. It’s crucial that we demonstrate to the agency that we’re united in support of a strong Stream Protection Rule.

Join us at a hearing near you to demand a rule that protects Appalachia’s land, streams and people.

 

Press Release: Central Appalachian groups publish paper demonstrating economic potential of reclaiming abandoned mines

Central Appalachian groups publish paper demonstrating economic potential of reclaiming abandoned mines

CONTACT

Kendall Bilbrey, The Alliance for Appalachia

(276) 620-9264

Kendall@TheAllianceforAppalachia.org

 

Eric Dixon, Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center

(865) 202- 8688

Eric@appalachianlawcenter.org

 

The AML Policies Priorities Group, a multi-stakeholder group examining the abandoned mine lands fund is releasing The Abandoned Mine Lands Program: A Policy Analysis for Central Appalachia and the Nation, an assessment of the opportunity for Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program. The paper provides recommendations for specific policy changes that would provide distribution of special funds to states based on criteria such as number of remaining abandoned mine lands sites, unemployment rates, and opportunity for economic development, rather than rates of coal production as the current law mandates.

The central aim of the research paper, which includes input from a broad range of stakeholders across the region, is to analyze the AML program and identify potential improvements.

As project advisor Betsy Taylor stated, “For this to work it’s really important that people in the community are able to help design what happens. You’ve got to have local creativity involved.”  Taylor is a cultural anthropologist at Virginia Tech.

Some key findings of the paper include:

  • The AML program supported 1,317 jobs in Central Appalachian states, and delivered a value-added impact of $102 million in these states.

  • It will take at least $9.6 billion to remediate the remaining 6.2 million acres of lands and waters ravaged by abandoned mine problems.

  • Congress should initiate a five-year wholesale update of the federal inventory of AMLs so that complete, reliable data is available on the remaining size and geographical distribution of all coal AMLs—not just high priority AMLs—in the United States.

  • AML funding is not distributed according to need. Congress should enact legislation that replaces all AML sub-funds with a single distribution mechanism based on a state’s percentage of the updated federal AML inventory. This would distribute funding to states and tribes that have the largest AML problems and would simplify an unnecessarily complicated funding system.

This research paper comes on the tails of a major proposal to address the AML issue from the Obama Administration. In February, the POWER+ Plan was introduced as part of the FY 2016 budget. This plan would prioritize opportunity for economic diversification and development in coalfields communities.

“The POWER+ Plan is a step toward recognition for the potential for new and just economies to thrive in Central Appalachia, but it is far from the beginning of the conversation,” noted Kendall Bilbrey, AppFellow for the Alliance for Appalachia and co-coordinator of the AML Policy Priorities Group. “In recent years, organizations across the region have begun campaigns that look at economic diversification needed to re-establish thriving economies in the coalfields, and address the legacy costs that industry has left behind. Leveraging the AML fund to support our community needs has been a key priority for grassroots groups.”

One recommendation of the white paper is for Congress to seriously reconsider how the AML program could operate more efficiently, and to enact policy changes necessary to use the funds for communities most in need.

Besides engaging community members, policy experts, and organizers, the AML Policy Priorities Group has been engaging state and federal AML officials since the beginning of the project. The group developed a survey for AML state officials in 28 state and tribal programs, and the data is included in the report.

The AML Policy Priorities Group is a multi-stakeholder group group formed in the fall of 2014 to inform the research released in The Abandoned Mine Lands Program: A Policy Analysis for Central Appalachia and the Nation . This group is co-coordinated by Kendall Bilbrey and Eric Dixon, working for The Alliance for Appalachia and The Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, respectively as a part of the Appalachian Transition Fellowship Program through the Highlander Research and Education Center. The group consists of over 200 members mostly from the Central Appalachian region representing impacted citizens, community organizers, activists, scholars, lawyers, civil society groups, and state officials.

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Spring Updates

We’re hiring!

We’re so grateful for our funders large and small who’ve allowed us to expand our staff! We’re excited to announce that we’re hiring an economic transition coordinator to continue the work of our amazing AppFellow Kendall Bilbrey.

Applications are due June 29th. Please share this job description with your networks and be sure to share it to your Facebook page!

Abandoned Mine Lands Discussion Continues

Our Economic Transition team has been busy with a tour to discuss our plans to work with the AML fund and to learn from our local leaders about what’s needed. Our whitepaper on the AML fund, co-written by our AppFellow Kendall Bilbrey and Eric Dixon with the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, along with other leaders in our AML Policy Priorities group, is coming out later this summer. The release has been delayed a bit as the whitepaper has grown to a comprehensive guide to the complicated fund – the current draft is over 140 pages long! We’re excited to reveal this important new resource to the community.

In addition, the AML Policy Priorities Group hosted an educational tour across the region to share the information gathered through a participatory research process about the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund. The tour included a variety of presentations and discussions with community members, conference presentations, organizational presentations, and an in-person summit, totaling to ten presentations across the region both in-person and virtually.

The number of attendees varied from a large in-person summit to a handful of community leaders at other stops. Through our tour we were able to reach well over 150 people, and put tools and resources in their hands to learn more about Abandoned Mine Lands issues in their communities and beyond.

Updates from the Movement: 

Two Hearings in DC
Appalachian advocates traveled to DC twice last month to discuss the need to end mountaintop removal. Dustin White (pictured below with Thom Kay behind him on CSpan) testified at a hearing on the hotly anticipated Stream Protection Rule (SPR)  we expect to see from the Obama administration later this month.

Dustin explained the need for federal action to protect Appalachia:

“Most of the Appalachian states with mountaintop removal have their own regulatory agencies that are supposed to be the first line of defense for communities when coal companies violate the law.  These agencies exist in Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. In West Virginia we know them as the DEP or Department of Environmental Protection. But many in WV say DEP stands for something else… ‘Don’t Expect Protection’ as citizens often find themselves doing the job of the DEP to monitor the impacts of mining.”

And our friend Michael Hendryx testified at another hearing also regarding the SPR – and a bill called “The Stream Act” that would block the Obama administration from writing the Stream Protection Rule, and thus take away one of the administration’s avenues for limiting mountaintop removal. Dr. Hendryx was frank, at one point telling The Energy and Mineral Resources subcommittee:

“The Stream Act in my view is an unnecessary delay and a threat to human health. Instead, I call for the complete enforcement of existing stream buffer rules, or stronger rules that the [Office of Surface Mining] may put forth, to prevent the dumping of mining waste into streams.”

Read more about the hearings here.

Victory! Mining Operations Halted Near Kanawha State Forest
Our friends at the Kanawha State Forest (KSF) Coalition have been working hard the past few years to stop a mountaintop removal mine from destroying this beautiful forest near Charleston, WV. The mine has had more than 20 violations in the last years, putting the area community at risk.


In great news, the WV Department of Environmental Protection finally took action, ordering the mine to cease operations until the company can show the DEP that they fully abate the violations and eventually reclaim the site. Quoted in this Charleston Gazette article, local resident Chad Caldwell pointed out, “If [the] DEP had listened to our concerns, they never would have issued this permit in the first place. We sent a petition to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin with 5,000 signatures. He ignored it.”

We’re certain this victory is due to the constant vigilance and fearless organizing of KSF members. Congratulations!


Outlaw Coal Baron Billionaire Sets His Sights on WV Governor’s Mansion
Jim Justice – target of the regional Justice to Justice campaign, recently expressed interest in becoming governor, much to the dismay of the thousands who have been cheated out of wages by Justice bad business practice, or had their communities damaged by outlaw mines he owns.

As Tom Torres, an activist with the Justice to Justice campaign and the group Hands Off Appalachia, says in this Grist article, “He has this public persona as a down-home charitable member of the community, and at the same time he owes millions of dollars to unpaid contractors and all these state and federal agencies for labor violations and environmental violations and safety violations.”

Sign this petition against Jim Justice‘s bad actions here to join the campaigning for him to clean up his mess and pay off his debts.

Frasure Creek Continues to Pollute Kentucky Communities
Under the Clean Water Act, polluting industries monitor their own water pollution and submit quarterly reports to the state environmental agency.

Five years ago, KFTC, Appalachian Voices and other groups found evidence that many large coal companies – including Frasure Creek – had submitted thousands of false water pollution records.

Five years later, they are still at it – a look at Frasure Creek’s recent reports shows that 25% of the reports submitted by The company appear to contain false data, hiding actual findings of water pollution violations.  Read more about this ongoing problem and the work activists are doing to stop this reckless behavior in this article.

Appalachian Regional Commission Hosts Listening Sessions On Economic Transition
Last week, citizens from across Appalachia attended a listening session hosted by the Appalachian Regional Commission in Morehead, KY.

Organizers are still curious to see what the outcome of these listening sessions will be, given the checkered history of the ARC’s work in the region, but are showing up to join the conversation. The focus of member groups of The Alliance for Appalachia and our allies include the inclusion of youth and grassroots wisdom, as well as a frank discussion about the economic future of our region as coal reserves dwindle. As Sierra Club Beyond Coal Organizer Gabby Gillespie says in this article:

“We have seen a lot of progress on this front in Central Appalachia over the past five years. It seems that more and more citizens every day are willing to let the “coal is our future” rhetoric fall to the wayside and are far more open to talk about new economic opportunities in the region. Many folks in the groups I engaged in at the event wanted to see more spaces for sharing intergenerational knowledge and skills, as well as seeing much more youth engagement.”To learn more about these listening sessions, visit the ARC website.

We’re Hiring!

 

Job Title: Economic Transition Coordinator

Hours: 30 Hours per week
Salary: Commensurate with Experience
Location: Appalachia

Background:

The Alliance for Appalachia is a regional grassroots coalition with the goals of ending mountaintop removal coal mining, putting a halt to destructive coal technologies and supporting a just and sustainable transition in Appalachia. The Alliance for Appalachia began in 2006 and consists of 15 organizations across four states, as well as regional organizations and allied groups.

The Alliance for Appalachia is governed by a Steering Committee made up of one representative and an alternate from each of the member organizations. We have Coordinating Committee and Work Teams on federal strategy, and economic transition, as well as other ad-hoc teams working on special projects.

Duration:

The position is 30 hours a week

Reports to:    

The Economic Transition Coordinator reports to the Economic Transition Team of The Alliance for Appalachia, with direct oversight by the Coordinating Committee.

Scope:

The Economic Transition Coordinator will be responsible for the facilitation of participant lead groups focusing on federal programs that support a sustainable economic transition in Appalachia. This position will also be required to research federal policies, share information, organize meetings and events, and serve as an educator.

  1. Facilitating Appalachian participation in Power+ advocacy
    1. role of this group focusing on federal and supporting state based strategy
  2. Facilitating Appalachian participation in national Abandoned Mine Land (AML) reauthorization campaign
  3. Conducting and sharing/distributing findings of research on Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield redevelopment opportunities
  4. Organizing and facilitating Alliance/stakeholder events and meetings, including:
    1. Alliance and Economic Transition Team meetings
    2. Engaging with federal, state and local leaders and government bodies
    3. Stakeholder meetings with ARC, EPA, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), US Department of Labor (DOL), state AML offices, and other appropriate state and federal agencies
  5. Serving as an educational resource for Alliance partners and other stakeholders
    1. strategy within focus areas
    2. educational outreach as base building

Qualifications:

  • Have an understanding of the Appalachian region and communities impacted by lack of  economic diversification issues
  • Dedicated to a sustainable and just transition in Appalachia
  • Experience working with multiple stakeholders in a fast-moving and collaborative environment
  • Organizing and facilitation of large group events (e.g. lobby days, stakeholder meetings, etc)
  • Ability to support working in a team environment
  • Experience in research methodology
  • Exceptional analytic and writing skills
  • Ability to break down and communicate complicated public policy
  • Reliable and self starter
  • Flexibility to travel frequently

Compensation:

Compensation is commensurate with experience. A pro-rated benefits package, meaning that a half-time employee will receive half of a standard benefits package, is available. We provide annual cost of living adjustments and annual salary bumps to credit experience. Staff will earn vacation days, holidays, sick days and personal days. We also have a compensation time policy.

Location:

This Coordinator must be located in the Central or Southern Appalachian area, specifically near the coalfield areas of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia

Please submit a cover letter, resume, a short writing sample and three references with emphasis on research and organizing/facilitation-related experience to A4Ahiring@gmail.com with Economic Transition Coordinator in the subject line.  

For a description of The Alliance for Appalachia member groups go to: TheAllianceForAppalachia.org.

The Alliance for Appalachia is an equal opportunity employer. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

New Feature Released

We’re excited to see the roll-out of a powerful new feature at iLoveMountains.org that works to show the ongoing impacts of mountaintop removal.

For years, it was impossible to track the spread of mountaintop removal coal mining in Central Appalachia over the course of time. Appalachian Voices has compiled 30 years of satellite imagery and other data to show how this destructive form of coal mining is gradually getting closer to communities, even as coal production in the region is declining. The tool, shown below, allows you to explore a map of the region.

communities at risk map tool

Of the thousands of communities at risk, the research identified the top 50 where the adverse effects of mountaintop removal — including water pollution, increased health risks, poverty rates and population loss — is greatest.

Take a moment this week to explore this new powerful feature and learn more about the communities at risk from mountaintop removal!