KFTC Blog

Have you renewed your KFTC membership?

Posted by: KFTC Staff on February 16, 2016

 

Building our power so we can use our power is one way we often describe KFTC’s work. We used our power to win in 2015 on minimum wage, voting rights and litigation against coal companies. Those wins were possible because we built our power through grassroots organizing, leadership development, and membership.

Membership takes many forms: attending chapter meetings, lobbying during the General Assembly, registering voters, learning about issues, developing leadership skills, bringing new people into the work, and supporting KFTC financially.

What’s next after U.S. Supreme Court delays Clean Power Plan?

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on February 11, 2016

In a highly unusual move, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to issue a stay on implementation of the Clean Power Plan. The federal rule, which was issued by the U.S. EPA last summer, aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector. The court’s order halts the Clean Power Plan from taking effect until a legal challenge to the rule filed by more than two dozen states and many fossil fuel interests is resolved.

Dana Beasley Brown

The decision was an unprecedented procedural ruling – not a determination about the merits or validity of the rule – that temporarily pushes the pause button until the larger legal issues are considered and resolved. In fact, in its one page order, the Court did not provide its reasons for issuing the stay. According to an article in the New York Times, the Supreme Court has never before granted a request to halt a regulation before its review by a federal appeals court. The justices themselves did not take long to consider the details of this complicated case. Final legal briefs from the parties defending the rule were filed on Thursday afternoon; the court’s position was announced the following Tuesday.

The broader legal case about the validity of the Clean Power Plan rule is expected to move forward on an expedited timeline, but even so it could take as long as two years to reach a final resolution. The DC Circuit Court is scheduled to hear the case on June 2, 2016. It will likely issue a ruling by the fall of 2016. Regardless of that outcome, the issue is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court issues another stay and takes the case, it could rule as early as the spring of 2017 or as late as the following spring. Only then could the EPA move forward to enforce the rule, if it is ultimately upheld.

Early reactions news from KFTC members and allies across the country made it clear that people working for a just transition and climate justice are troubled but undaunted by this decision.

“I’m so glad we called this part of KFTC’s work ‘Empower Kentucky,” because that’s exactly what we are doing, and what we continue to do,” reflected KFTC’s chairperson Dana Beasley Brown shortly after the news broke on Tuesday evening.

 “Our work has to go on,” said Lexington KFTC member Chris Woolery. “Energy efficiency and renewable energy are no-regrets solutions that literally pay for themselves. That’s the direction the world is moving. That’s where jobs are booming. And that’s the kind of leadership Kentuckians want. But we can’t wait for our leaders. We have to move on without them.”

The day after the court ruling, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet announced it was suspending plans to hold public hearings this spring about ways Kentucky might comply with the Clean Power Plan. In contrast, KFTC’s public engagement process will ramp up this spring, including public meetings in each congressional district.

 “This gives us more time to build an even better Empower Kentucky plan and keep pushing forward,” reflected Steve Wilkins of Berea. “Unfortunately, some states like Kentucky may take this as an excuse to sit on their hands and do nothing. If so, we’ll just keep falling further and further behind. The gap will just grow wider between us and leading states that are making smart investments in clean energy. It seems nobody in a position of power has a vision for a new Kentucky. With a few exceptions, they are all looking backwards. We deserve better.”

 In many ways, the court ruling doesn’t change the important work in front of us here in Kentucky. KFTC members already knew that making meaningful progress on clean energy will require long-term, creative, and determined organizing to change the conversation and build political will. In fact, that’s what the Empower Kentucky project is all about.

In announcing the project last fall, KFTC member Elizabeth Sanders said, “It won’t be easy to transform the ways we generate and use energy in Kentucky. Our economic, energy and political systems have long been shaped by fossil fuels, especially coal … We will not wait for our politicians to do the right thing … We are Kentuckians. We are our best hope for change. And together we will write a plan ourselves to make our communities more livable, strengthen our economy and support a just transition while meeting or exceeding the Clean Power Plan’s goals for cutting climate pollution.”

 Empower Kentucky will take a major step forward in April, when KFTC will host a series of community conversations in each congressional district. These forums are an opportunity for Kentuckians to learn and share ideas about the energy future we want to see. Public input from those meetings – along with additional ideas gathered through an on-line survey, interviews and listening sessions – will help inform KFTC’s Empower Kentucky plan.

A schedule of the April events, which are open to the public, will be announced soon.

Congressman Rogers hears eastern Kentuckians' call for just transition, introduces RECLAIM Act

Posted by: KFTC Staff on February 3, 2016

A strong grassroots movement toward just transition in eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia, including major federal investment in the region, has resulted in new legislation.

Carl Shoupe sends Congressman Hal Rogers the resolutions that were passed by local governments asking him to support the POWER+ Plan. Carl is a retired coal miner, member of KFTC, and member of the Benham Power Board, which passed a resolution in August 2015.Today U.S. Representative Hal Rogers introduced the RECLAIM Act (Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More). The bipartisan bill aims to accelerate the use of $1 billion in funding in the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Fund to help revitalize coal communities hardest hit by the downturn of the coal industry.

Retired Kentucky miner delivers POWER+ resolutions to Congressman Hal Rogers

Posted by: Carl Shoupe on February 2, 2016

Carl Shoupe, a retired UMWA coal miner in Harlan County, Kentucky, mailed a letter to Congressman Hal Rogers today encouraging him to push the POWER+ Plan through Congress in 2016. The letter was accompanied by copies of the 14 resolutions that local governments and organizations have passed in Rogers' 5th District supporting the POWER+ Plan.

Carl serves on the Benham Power Board, one of the 14 Kentucky localities that have passed POWER+ support resolutions. Read Carl's letter here:

Dear Congressman Rogers,

Chase Gladson and Carl Shoupe

My name is Carl Shoupe and I am a retired, third-generation coal miner and a member of the Benham Power Board, which passed a resolution in support of the POWER+ plan last year. The Benham Power Board and the Benham City Council, along with 12 other local governments and organizations in the 5th District in Kentucky, and 14 more throughout the Central Appalachian region passed these resolutions to demonstrate our commitment to building a bright future here in our beautiful mountains as the coal industry continues to decline. We believe the investments from the federal government that the POWER+ Plan calls for would be an important component of helping our struggling region transition to a new, strong economy good for all eastern Kentuckians.

I am writing to share with you the resolutions that have passed in the 5th District, the list of resolutions from other areas, and to ask you to pass POWER+ through Congress this year.

Jefferson County members attend Environmental Justice Summits

Posted by: Aaron Pardieu on February 2, 2016

January is a time to not only look forward to the new year but to also reflect on the successes and failures of the previous twelve months. While it is easy to get hung up on our mistakes and failures,  it is also important to celebrate our personal successes, as well as those made by our neighbors and compatriots. During the past year, taking actions to address climate change has been in both national and global news. Representatives from nearly two-hundred countries met at the U.N. Climate Change Conference held in Paris, France in December to discuss and agree on ways to curb the detrimental effects of climate change. In August, President Obama and the EPA announced the Clean Power Plan- federal legislation that will commit state governments to reducing carbon emissions.

10 Years of I Love Mountains Days

Posted by: KFTC Staff on February 1, 2016

I Love Mountains Day slideshow

KFTC and friends have had 10 years of great success with I Love Mountains Day, bringing thousands to the capital in February to let elected leaders know of our love for Kentucky’s people and mountains, our determination to stop their destruction, and our vision for Appalachia’s Bright Future. Last year KFTC leadership decided that the 2015 I Love Mountains Day would be our last.

Just as we tried over the decade to evolve the theme of I Love Mountains Day from one of just protest against mountaintop removal, valley fills and environmental destruction to one that also included value-based solutions like clean energy and economic justice for all, KFTC’s legislative strategy also has evolved.

Economic benefits of clean energy described at hearing

Posted by: KFTC staff on January 31, 2016

A Renewable and Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) in Kentucky would create jobs, save money, improve public health and invigorate the economy members of the House Economic Development Committee

Members push back on Governor's Budget

Posted by: Kentuckians For The Commonwealth on January 27, 2016

Members gathered all over the state, from Madison County to Whitesburg to Covington to Lexington, last night to watch, process, and come up with action plans to push for adequate funding for healt

NKY member hosts Tax Justice powerbuilding party

Posted by: Kentuckians For The Commonwealth on January 13, 2016

NKY member Serena Owen hosted a Tax Justice Powerbuilder party in Covington a few weeks ago, and we're just now getting the chance to show off some of the photos!

KFTC members attend Equity Summit 2015

Posted by: Tanya Torp & Jessica Bellamy on January 13, 2016

Last October several KFTC members and staff traveled to Los Angeles, California for PolicyLink's Equity Summit 2015: All in for Inclusion, Justice, &am

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