This week, we are supporting a strong team of Appalachian leaders from West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee gathering in Washington DC to meet with federal agencies, including the EPA and the Office of Surface Mining, to apply pressure on several key water decisions slated for 2014.
In addition to these high-stakes meetings, our team is fighting bad budget riders on the Hill that would threaten our mountains and our water. It is more important than ever to build relationships with our champions in the Senate and the House who speak up when terrible proposals to gut already flimsy water protections are presented in Congress. What’s more, beyond this critical defense work, we’re continuing to build relationships for positive action on this Hill this week by bringing on new co-sponsors to the Clean Water Protection Act. Thanks to our friends at Earthjustice and Appalachian Voices for making the week possible.
Save the Date for September
Appalachian action in DC this week is an important part of the “Our Water Our Future” campaign to push for stronger protections for our water. We’re telling the Obama administration that we are done waiting for clean water! You can join us at the national day of action September 8-9, 2014!
Can’t be there but want to help? We’re currently fundraising to support this important campaign and need you to be a part of it. Help make this event happen!
Extreme Energy Extraction Summit
In May 2014, members of the Alliance for Appalachia joined allies from across the country working on Extreme Extraction issues in Albuquerque, NM. It was an amazing learning opportunity and an inspiring way to connect with the wisdom of other movements for energy justice across North America. As part of the event, Appalachia leaders went on a tour of local communities dealing with the toxic legacy of uranium mining. Read more about the tour here. In the photo below, summit participants are viewing Navajo land that is threatened by a proposed uranium mine. Learning about how the local community is resisting destruction in New Mexico had a lot of connections to the battles we are facing in Appalachia. Click here to learn more about the voices at the summit.
The Alliance for Appalachia has been a core part of the Extreme Energy Extraction group and we are excited to begin planning for the next summit, which is slated to be hosted in the gulf South.
We are also excited to be working with the Climate Justice Alliance’s Our Power campaign, which highlights key areas for just transition. Youth from The Alliance for Appalachia and our member group the STAY Project will be attending the youth gathering in Detroit this month to connect with other young people who are facing energy injustice in their home communities.
Justice to Justice Campaign Launches
Visit JusticetoJustice.com to get involved in a new campaign to tell Jim Justice Clean up his mess, pay of his debts, and stop poisoning our water! This deadbeat billionaire had wreaked havoc on communities across Appalachia. The campaign started in Wise County, VA, where Justice’s mountaintop removal coal mine have poisoned water, blasted communities, mistreated workers and left the towns to foot the bill.
Keeper of the Mountains Land Trust
Read more at the ilovemountains.org blog. Keeper of the Mountains Foundation has begun a land trust which works with small landowners to protect their land with support from Coal River Mountain Watch. They began by working with Sid and Dana Moye to protect their 24 acres of farmland, pictured above. Unlike many land trusts, Keepers will work with small landowners and those who don’t have their mineral rights, making land protection accessible to more residents. By the end of 2014, Keepers aims to have 1,000 acres of land protected in easements – an important step towards giving residents power over their own land and future.
Appalachian Transition Fellowship Launch
This exciting and ambitious program has 15 aspiring Appalachian leaders in host communities across the region working on a diverse array of projects to build economic resiliency towards a just economic transition in Appalachia. Stay tuned to learn more about this work throughout the year!
Members of the Alliance for Appalachia met recently at beautiful Breaks Interstate Park in Virginia to plan our upcoming strategy.
Alliance for Appalachia staff has been working to support West Virginia Water Roundtables, bringing together a a diverse community of leaders who are continuing to take action following the WV Water Crisis to ensure West Virginians have access to safe drinking water.
Victory in the Battle for Blair Mountain! The West Virginia Department of Protection has set aside a section of Blair Mountain for protection until at least 2018. Thanks to all who worked so hard on this campaign over the years – including over 1,000 who marched for it’s protection in 2011!Tenth Anniversary of Mountain Justice: Celebrate a decade of work, learn new skills, hear great music, and find ways to get involved in the movement at this year’s camp, June 14-22nd.Breaking Clean Tour Coming Near You? Appalachian Voices is working with former coal miner Nick Mullins to tour with his family to share “stories of struggle and hope” about coal and the future of Appalachia.Check the website for tour dates.
Strong Selenium Protections Needed. Protecting our water from selenium is an important part of the fight against mountaintop removal – you can learn more about selenium dangers and EPA’s proposal to address them in this excellent article by Chris Espinosa with Earthjustice.