KFTC Blog

Stanley Sturgill talks of MTR mining consequences and moving to a Just Transition

Posted by: KFTC staff on June 16, 2017

Harlan County member Stanley Sturgill helped a ranking member of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources understand the hopes and efforts of people in the Appalachian region to build a brighter future through a Just Transition.

“We have proved we are hard working peoples that have provided our nation with coal for the past 100 years,” said Sturgill at a round table discussion with Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona. “That is why I truly have a vision we can now achieve our Just Transition goals for our communities and our workforce in eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia. I truly believe we can build a new future for the generations that will follow in our footsteps.”

He pointed out the health impacts that many in the region continue to experience.

“I’m sick and tired of so many people dying from the many health problems that are a direct result from coal mining, especially mountaintop removal mining. Our people are exposed to and must breathe the dust emissions from the blasting of millions of tons of dirt and rock plus the millions of pounds of explosives our citizen continue to be exposed to,” Sturgill said. “These tragic, untimely deaths don’t have to continue.”

Grijalva is the ranking Democrat on the House committee. His visit to southwest Virginia was arranged by Earthjustice to learn about the consequences of mountaintop removal and how people in the region are creating and embracing new opportunities.

After the roundtable in Big Stone Gap, which involved statements from people from several states, Grijalva took a tour to the top of Black Mountain.

“We went up right to where the road gets to the top of the mountain coming into Kentucky and we looked at the wonderful, terrible view of mountaintop removal that the illustrious James Justice, governor of West Virginia, left us,” Sturgill reported.

(Justice made millions of dollars in the mining business, leaving many sites unreclaimed and fines unpaid. He won the governorship of West Virginia in 2016.)

“Rep. Grijalva was kind enough to come and look at it. He’s gathering information. I invited him back, and he said he’d come back.”

That could be an important relationship if Democrats win a majority on the U.S. House, with the possibility that Grijalva could become the committee chair.

Sturgill also asked Grijalva to work for passage of the RECLAIM Act, which would add an economic development focus on efforts to repair land damaged by mining

Sturgill, from Lynch which is on the Kentucky side of Black Mountain, and his neighbors have opposed additional mining in the watershed above their homes, which also provides a drinking water source for several towns.

“It was a very good meeting. The congressman was real easy to talk to. I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Sturgill added.

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SOKY members canvass for Tax Justice

Member Deane Oliva ready to talk taxes in a neighborhood doorway
Posted by: the Southern Kentucky Chapter on June 16, 2017

Members from the Southern Kentucky chapter engaged the Bowling Green community in conversations about tax justice last Saturday as part of a deep canvass session.

The day began with a training to equip members with deep canvassing skills and review the key conversation points before hitting the streets.

Between the three groups of participants we had 18 high-quality conversations with folks about what an equitable tax system looks like. Member Deane Oliva reflected, “Even though the folks we spoke with had little knowledge of the tax structure, the script gave us a comfortable entrée to discussion and the folks were all visibly engaged with the powerful graphics. In a short time, we raised awareness and made good contacts.“

The day was productive and has members loooking forward to next steps. As member Dr. Alex Poole said, "It wasn't always easy, but if not us, then who? Getting together with like-minded people gives me hope. We can all do our part."

KFTC members speak out at hearing on mountaintop removal

Posted by: Anne Otieno, KFTC Intern on June 14, 2017

On June 10, several members of KFTC went to Virginia for a congressional committee hearing on mountaintop removal in Virginia. This was a public forum with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona), the ranking Democratic member of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. Rep. Grijalva was interested in hearing about the current and legacy impacts of mountaintop removal, including health impacts, and recent decisions by the Trump administration and Congress to take away stream protections and weaken environmental safeguards.

Northern Kentucky Celebrates 1st Ever Pride Parade!

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on June 13, 2017

Over 1000 people marched in the first ever LGBTQ+ Pride Parade in northern Kentucky!

Cincinnati People's Climate Rally!

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on June 13, 2017

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth was a co-sponsor of the People's Climate Rally of Cincinnati!

Kentucky Trivia Success!

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on June 13, 2017

The Northern Kentucky chapter held Kentucky Trivia, which the chapter called Make Kentucky Great, to celebrate Kentucky's 225th birthday!

New local jobs! Better health! Just Transition! Here's how.

Posted by: KFTC staff on April 19, 2017

There is a clear path forward for creating thousands of new Kentucky jobs in the energy industry while cutting pollution, lowering electric bills and investing billions of dollars in workers and c

KFTC launches Organizing Academy, Apprentice programs

Posted by: KFTC Staff on April 17, 2017

Amid a fast-changing political and organizing landscape across Kentucky and the nation, KFTC is launching the Organizing Academy and Organizer Apprentice programs.

The Organizing Academy, starting in June 2017, will be a multi-track leadership and organizing training program and the foundation of KFTC's expanding leadership development strategy.  

Build grassroots power: support Organizing Academy, Apprentices

Posted by: Elizabeth Sanders, KFTC Chairperson on April 13, 2017

Our values are being challenged every day – here at home in Kentucky and across the country.

But KFTC members are standing for the Kentucky we know is possible. In the halls of Frankfort and in our communities, we’re resisting with a vision for affordable healthcare, clean energy solutions, fairness and equality, and a healthy democracy.

Benham solar represents a much deeper transition plan

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on April 7, 2017

The mountain community of Benham, Kentucky received a healthy dose of national attention recently when the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum announced it has installed solar panels to save thousands of

Kentuckians organize for climate justice

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on April 6, 2017

This is a critical time in the movement to create jobs, protect our health and climate, and advance a just transition for affected workers and communities.

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