KFTC Blog

KFTC asks for public hearings on Stream Protection rule

Posted by: KFTC staff on March 31, 2015

KFTC has asked the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement for a series of public hearings in eastern Kentucky concerning that agency’s plans to propose a new Stream Protection Rule.

The letter, sent to Robert Evans, director of OSM’s Lexington office, asks for a “formal public hearing and public education event as part of the rule outreach strategy.

“In order to assure the best participation by impacted citizens, we request that the hearing be held in the evening if possible. We also suggest that the public education outreach occur before the actual hearing so that citizens will be better informed as to the actual contents of the proposed rule,” stated the letter from Joanne Golden Hill and Mary Love, co-chairs of KFTC’s Land Reform Committee.

The “Stream Buffer Zone” rule, as it was formerly called, was removed through a rule-making process late in the Bush administration in 2008. The Obama administration agreed the change was unlawful but so far has failed to follow through on restoring the law.

However, a lawsuit that KFTC and other Appalachian groups initiated resulted in a 2013 ruling that vacated the rule change under the Bush administration and reinstated the 1983 version of the Stream Buffer Zone Rule, which calls for a 100-foot buffer aroiund streams.

OSM says the court decision is not expected to affect the development of the Stream Protection Rule now underway. The agency says that it is “revising its regulations, for the primary purpose of applying updated science and reinforcing the need to minimize the adverse impacts of surface coal mining operations on surface water, groundwater, fish, wildlife, and related environmental values, with particular emphasis on protecting or restoring streams and aquatic ecosystems.”

In the meantime, the Sen. Mitch McConnell and the Republican Congress are trying to find ways to prevent OSM from completing or implementing a new stream protection rule.

Mountaintop removal coal mine in Floyd or Magoffin County Kentucky

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Big Sandy chapter hosts sixth annual Growing Appalachia conference

Posted by: Jessie Skaggs on March 30, 2015

Sharing ideas about community!On Saturday March 21, more than 80 people from around eastern Kentucky came to the sixth annual Growing Appalachia conference in Prestonsburg, which is a day of workshops about small-scale farming, energy efficiency and renewables.

Workshops were organized so that whatever scale you were working at or whatever your interest was, there was something for everyone that day. Covered topics included beginning beekeeping, learning about the cooperative business model, planning your home garden, a discussion on growing our own clean energy future in the mountains, soil building and nutrient management, do-it-yourself energy efficiency, seed saving, and more!

Madison County KFTC celebrates Pi(e) Day with 5th annual Pie Auction

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 27, 2015

More than 60 people came out for the Madison County KFTC chapter’s 5th annual Pie Auction, and it was a rousing success, chock-full of laughter, puns, cheers for KFTC, and, of course, lots of pie! This year’s annual event was held on Saturday, March 14 at Union Church in Berea. The Pie Auction was extra special this year as it landed on Pi Day – 3.14.15, making this a once-in-a-century Pie Auction. 

Northern Kentucky Returning Citizens Forum

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on March 23, 2015

The Northern Kentucky chapter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth held a forum on March 15th raising awareness about the challenges facing former felons upon returning to their community. Member Rick Traud opened the event by welcoming the 40 people who attended, and talking about his personal expreience dealing with former felons trapped in a cycle of poverty as the result of mistakes in their past while working as a volunteer with Saint Vincent De Paul in Northern Kentucky.

Growing Appalachia on WMMT’s Mountain Talk

Posted by: Jessie Skaggs on March 19, 2015

Growing Appalachia on WMMT's Mountain TalkLast week, members of the Growing Appalachia planning committee were guests on WMMT's Mountain Talk, which is a weekly program that covers a wide range of topics pertaining to life in the mountains. Floyd County’s Sister Kathy Curtis and Letcher County’s Valerie Horn were in the studio to talk with host Elizabeth Sanders about the history of the conference, how they got involved, and what people can expect at Saturday’s conference. They were joined in the studio by Jonathan Hootman and Hillary Neff and then joined over the phone by Mark Walden.

SOKY members work toward statewide renters’ rights bill

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 12, 2015

KFTC Southern Kentucky chapter members used the 2015 General Assembly to give their local work on renters’ rights a statewide platform.

The Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA) is a set of codified best practices to clarify the terms of agreements between tenants and landlords.

It simply clarifies and standardizes the terms of a lease and protects renters from retaliatory evictions for reporting housing that is not up to code.

Based on best practices from the rental industry, URLTA is called a “win-win” for renters and landlords. Several states have adopted URLTA statewide. Kentucky’s state law, however, only allows individual communities to opt in to URLTA; it falls short of adopting it statewide.

How$martKY offers money-saving energy efficiency improvements

Posted by: Chris Woolery on March 12, 2015

Many KFTC members who are interested in making their homes more comfortable and energy efficient are now able to make it happen!  

How$martKY is an on-bill energy efficiency financing program that doesn’t require a credit check. This means that rural electric cooperative members with high utility bills can often get energy upgrades with no down payment, add the financed payment to their electric bill, and still save money every month.  

Jefferson chapter stands with adjuncts for economic justice

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 12, 2015

Linda Stettenbenz, a Jefferson County member who serves on KFTC’s Economic Justice Committee, reached out to Jefferson Community and Technical College professors who are involved in an international movement to demand fair treatment for adjunct professors – professors who don’t have tenure and who often work for near-poverty wages with no job security from one semester to the next. Adjuncts at several colleges and universities opted for walk-outs; JCTC organizers opted for a teach-in.

Jefferson County co-hosts grassroots lobby training

Posted by: KFTC staff on March 10, 2015

The Jefferson County Chapter of KFTC (JCKFTC) partnered with eight local allies to host a Grassroots Lobby Training on January 27.

March Jefferson County Chapter Meeting reportback

McElroy explains the need for more affordable housing.
Posted by: Ryan Fenwick on March 10, 2015

Last night's JCKFTC meeting brought out twelve members of the chapter to deliberate, discuss, and take action on affordable housing, an LG&E rate change, the local air quality and economic jus

Kentuckians call on Senate committee to hear HB 70, dragged from room

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on March 6, 2015

Wearing buttons that read "Let Us Vote," about two dozen voting rights supporters attended the last regularly scheduled meeting of the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Wedneday to bear witness as Senate Republicans yet again refused to act on HB 70, a proposed constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to nearly a quarter million Kentuckians. As expected, they did not see senators take action on the bill. But there was plenty of other action in committee room that day.

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