Grassroots Progress Report Evaluates Obama’s Legacy in Appalachia
As we near the end of 2014, it seems yet another year has passed without significant action from The Obama Administration to end the worst abuses of mountaintop removal.
Five years ago, in June, 2009, the Obama administration created a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) among federal agencies responsible for protecting Appalachian communities from the extreme damage of mountaintop removal coal mining. Last week, The Alliance for Appalachia released a report evaluating the progress that the Obama Administration has and has not made in the last 5 years regarding the MOU and other big promises to protect Appalachian communities.
Much work is needed to complete the MOU process, to ensure effective regulatory enforcement in our region, to create sound rule-makings, to strengthen citizen engagement and to invest in a bright future for Central Appalachia. Our coalition of organizations represents thousands of citizens who are ready to work. This report is an invitation for the Obama Administration to do the same.
“This is about the long term health of our people; it’s about the future of our economy. It’s not just this generation, but future generations. Inaction should not be the legacy of the Obama Administration,” says Davie Randsdell, Kentucky native and contributor to the report.
You can find coverage of the report on Louisville Public Radio, SNL Financial, Eco-watch, Huffington Post and the Lexington Herald and you help turn this report into action by lending your voice here.
You can also check out great quotes from our recent press conference on our Facebook page – share them with your friends!
The Alliance for Appalachia attends the Building Equity and Alignment Gathering
Over 50% of “environmental” funding and resources go to 2% of “environmental” organizations; the other 50% of funding and resources go to the other 98% of organizations, mostly base-building groups. This fact was the seed from which a new national project called the Building Equity and Alignment for Impact initiative grew!.
Building Equity and Alignment for Impact (BEAI) is a unique, movement-building initiative involving representatives of the environmental justice grassroots organizing sector, national environmental organizations and the philanthropic sector who have come together because we know that in order for our organizations to have impact, we must lift up the leadership, achievements, and importance of grassroots organizations; the value of principled collaboration between grassroots and big green groups; and, the reality that in order to build a powerful movement that can effectively address the most critical environmental crises of our times, we need to significantly increase resources to the grassroots organizing sector.
We are honored to be a part of this visionary work and to have attended the BEAI strategy meeting this November. We see this effort as an important piece of building the sort of power we need to strengthen our environmental justice movement.
AppFellows Gather to Map the Sustainable Energy Landscape in our Region
The AppFellows Program hosted it’s second regional gathering December 4-5, Strengthening Sustainable Energy, at the historic Benham Schoolhouse Inn in Harlan County, KY. This gathering focused on conversations around sustainable energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and legacy costs of energy production with an eye towards economic transition. AppFellow Joshua Outsey working with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, MACED, the City of Benham and COAP (Christian Outreach with Appalachian People) highlighted the exciting Benham Energy Project, where one former coal camp has the opportunity to weatherize homes and choose responsible energy sources after discovering their contract with Kentucky Utilities will expire soon.
Other AppFellows who presented their work at the gathering were: Kendall Bilbrey and Eric Dixon’s AML Project (The Alliance for Appalachia and ACLC), Tyler Cannon (OVEC), Carol Davey (ACEnet), Tom Torres (University of Tennessee), and their host communities. Topics moved from basics of the abandoned mine lands fund to highlighting savings and success after West Virginia businesses make the switch to being energy efficient. Aside from the fellows, there was a large representation from Central Appalachian organizations, agencies, and businesses working towards a sustainable energy climate here in our mountains.