Open Invitation to Secretary Jewell to Visit Appalachia

The Honorable Sally Jewell
Secretary
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Jewell:

On behalf of our 15 grassroots groups throughout Central Appalachia, the Alliance for Appalachia invites you to visit Appalachia to meet with community-based organizations and impacted citizens that face the direct consequences of mountaintop removal coal mining.

We understand that you recently met with coal industry representatives in West Virginia. They  represent only one perspective on the communities where they operate. They fail to acknowledge the broad and harmful impacts mountaintop removal has on the communities near mines and on the region as a whole. We invite you to visit Appalachia to see firsthand the ongoing challenges caused by mountaintop removal mining operations and allow us to showcase concrete examples of initiatives that could benefit Appalachian communities now and build a more resilient future.

Communities across much of Central Appalachia have for decades been under persistent and increasing threat from adverse impacts to our health, our environment, and our economic opportunity as a direct result of mountaintop removal and related coal industry practices. It is critical that you understand the personal toll that lax regulations and poor enforcement have placed upon many members of communities across the Appalachian region.

The Alliance for Appalachia can be a catalyst to help your agency develop sensible solutions that will protect public health and promote and strengthen the regional economy. We want to facilitate a constructive dialogue to address the impacts of mountaintop removal in a manner that closes serious gaps in oversight and works toward more effective policymaking. We look forward to working with you to solidify a date for this visit, specific locations, and determining any resources you need to make your trip as productive as possible.  Please let us know how we might move forward with assisting you with the execution of this visit with citizens of the region.

Sincerely,

Jane Branham,
Coordinating Committee Chair

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth ● West Virginia Highlands Conservancy ● Ohio Valley Environmental Council ● Coal River Mountain Watch ● Appalachian Voices ● Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards ● Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment ● Keepers of the Mountains ●  The STAY Project ● Heartwood ● Sierra Club Environmental Justice ● Southwings ● Highlander Educations and Research Center ● Gainesville Loves Mountains ● Hands Off Appalachia