July-August Newsletter

News from The Alliance

July Steering Meeting and Team Summits

July was a busy month around The Alliance while we geared up to host a Steering Meeting, two team summit convenings, and a 10-year anniversary celebration in Hindman, KY at the beautiful Hindman Settlement School.  

At the Steering Meeting, our member organization representatives came together to share collective space, recall early Alliance history at our 10-year juncture, and strategize our next 6-months work and beyond.  The Steering Committee approved a new standing team– the Leadership Development Team. This team’s work plan already includes a six-month facilitation mentorship program and plans for an anti-oppression/collective liberation training.

Takeaways from the Federal Strategy team summit include a renewed commitment to work on bonding-related research and ideas around how to navigate the presidential election and first 100 days of a new administration.  The Economic Transition Team’s summit focused on AML priorities, including continued work on the POWER Plus Plan and related legislation, and discussion around how this team is going to effectively share our collective knowledge with ours and other communities working towards a just future.

New Alliance Member Organization- Welcome CCJ!

In other Steering news, this summer we welcomed the Center for Coalfield Justice as a new member organization of The Alliance.  CCJ was formed as the “Tri-State Citizens Mining Network” in 1994 by a coalition of grassroots groups and individuals concerned about the effects coal mining had on communities and the environment. The people involved recognized the need to work together to build a strong voice in the coalfield community. Tri-State was re-organized into Center for Coalfield Justice in 2007 and has since expanded to work on fossil fuel extraction issues generally.

CCJ, based in Southwest Pennsylvania, has worked with The Alliance and its members for years. There are no MTR sites in Pennsylvania.  However, citizens there are dealing with other harmful coal practices, like long-wall mining and legacy mining issues.  Our shared experiences lead to collective learning and collective action, for the betterment of our region; we’re excited to be working together towards a healthy Appalachia.  Learn more About CCJ.

Celebrating 10 Years

We capped off our meetings with another 10th Anniversary Celebration, where we came together with food, music and memories. Check out our good-times reel…


Thank you Joanne Golden Hill Photography for the photos!

& Congratulations to Bill Price– the lucky winner of the Appalachian activist quilt!


News from our partners

Environmental Groups Secure Settlement from Coal Mine Owner to Restore Mining Sites Across West Virginia- news from OVEC

When the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund (VCLF) purchased coal mines from Patriot Coal during the company’s bankruptcy last year, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates, succeeded in making sure that mine reclamation obligations were not foregone. The $6 million settlement will fund pilot reforestation and stream restoration projects on mine scarred land in West Virginia.


Movement Momentum– let’s keep it up!

OSMRE commissions health study on the effects of MTR

At the request of the State of WV, OSMRE will fund an independent examination of existing research concerning the potential correlation between increased human health risks and living near surface coal mine sites in Central Appalachia. Our communities don’t need another health stud to prove what we already know, but to OSMRE address the issues is better late than never.  See the press release here.

Victory: Appeals Court Upholds EPA Veto of MTR Permit

U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. affirms district court; finds U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reasonably and lawfully decided that huge mountaintop removal mine in WV would cause unacceptable environmental harm. Learn more from EarthJustice

Mark your calendars for the Central Appalachia Brownfields Conference

The inaugural Central Appalachia Brownfields conference will take place at the Marriott Town Center September 7-8 in Charleston, West Virginia.  The event will include sessions covering all aspects of brownfields redevelopment, interactive workshops, specialty training on remediation, and two networking receptions for community leaders, development specialists, entrepreneurs and project planners. For more information: http://wvbrownfields.org/2016-conference/  

Psst– Alliance representatives are also part of the presenter line-up! Get excited by checking out the Draft Agenda, then Register Here.

OSMRE to look at new rules to change self-bonding

Director of the Federal Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), Joe Pizarchik: saying the agency will start making a new rule to end the failing policy of “self-bonding”, which lets companies neglect the cost of mine reclamation, and push the burden to our tax-paying communities. See the announcement here. & Read the Press Release here.