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.