KFTC Blog

Faith communities say No to the proposed hazardous liquids pipeline

Posted by: KFTC on November 7, 2013

Members of Kentucky’s faith communities brought the support of thousands of their fellow believers during an event at the capitol on Tuesday, focused on stopping a proposed hazardous liquids pipeline.

“When people of faith around the country learned of our efforts here to care for Kentucky’s people, land, water and heritage and oppose this dangerous hazardous liquids pipeline, they responded in large numbers,” explained Rev. Cynthia Cain, a minister with the Unitarian Universalist Church.

“More than 36,000 of our sisters and brothers in Kentucky and across the nation signed a petition from Faithful America asking Governor Beshear to share our love for our land and help us protect it from this proposed and unwanted pipeline.”

Rev. David Whitlock of the Lebanon Baptist Church acknowledged that, “For too long too many of us have stepped aside and [let corporations rule]. We are simply here to say enough is enough. It’s time for a change. The stakes are high."

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Senator Carpenter visits Madison County chapter

Posted by: Cory Lowery on November 3, 2013

Last Monday, October 28, the Madison County chapter invited state senator Jared Carpenter to Berea for a lobby meeting, where the senator and KFTC members discussed the upcoming legislative session, including the possibility of Carpenter’s support for KFTC legislative priorities. The meeting began with a brief talk by Carpenter about his own legislative priorities, which included encouraging the growth of industry and infrastructure in Madison County and stopping the heroin trade in Kentucky, which he believed could be done with “tougher punishments for the folks producing and selling heroin.”

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Unsafe roads: another of the True Costs of Coal

Posted by: KFTC on October 31, 2013

A state highway is getting cleaned up this week after a KFTC member got tired of waiting for the coal company to clean up its messes, and for any state mining official to force them to do so.

A portion of Route 7 in the Deane community in Letcher County was covered with muck last week, tracked onto the highway by coal trucks running from a strip mine to a nearby tipple.

The muck – a combination of mud from the mining operation combined with coal dust turned to sludge – was so bad in spots that the yellow center line could not been seen.

“I hit my brakes and it was like black ice,” said KFTC member Chris Yonts who lives in the area. “There was a good inch and a half packed on the road. I’d never seen mud that slick. I’m afraid someone is going to get hurt. I don’t see how they get away with it.”

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Getting the word out about the Affordable Care Act

Posted by: Leslie McBride on October 29, 2013

Shelby County KFTC member Leslie McBride wanted to help get the word out to people in her community about signing up for the Affordable Care Act.  After being turned down by several grocery stores management to have an official table in front of the store, Leslie decided to just take large stacks of handouts and a clipboard to the parking lots of those stores.  Below is what she wrote about the experience.

"A couple of weekends ago, I handed out information about the Affordable Care Act to people in parking lots in Shelbyville. Nine out of ten people wanted the information; they were hungry for it, even though it was pouring down rain for the last half hour. I heard powerful stories of people who needed healthcare, whose children needed healthcare, who had been to the library to connect to the kynect link. People of all races, ages and walks of life approached me. I gave out everything I had, and could have given out ten times as much. People need this, and I urge everyone to support this movement." 

Click here for a link to the Kynect fact sheets that you can download and print from home and handout to your neighbors as well!

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Public officials welcome to the conversation about a just transition in Appalachia

Posted by: KFTC on October 29, 2013

KFTC members welcomed Monday’s announcement by Governor Steve Beshear, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and others about a public process to gather and share ideas about ways to build a healthy, diverse economy in eastern Kentucky.

“I’m really excited,” said Letcher County KFTC member Elizabeth Sanders. “These elected leaders now appear to be whole-heartedly joining the conversation that is already alive in this region. That’s a welcome step that we haven’t seen in recent years. I’m glad they are calling for genuine involvement and collaboration with people living in southeastern Kentucky, and anyone with an interest in moving this part of the state forward.”
 


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Clean Energy Collaborative plans to continue meeting

Posted by: KFTC staff on October 25, 2013

The Clean Energy Collaborative, formed nearly three years ago when KFTC and allies stopped the coal-burning Smith plant, held its final meeting October 23 in Lexington.

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Jefferson County Chapter discusses local issues

Posted by: Ryan Fenwick on October 22, 2013

Jefferson County Chapter recently chose to identify local issues as a way to both improve the county and also reach out to a broader section of the urban population that is not yet connected to KFTC’s statewide work. The process for local issue selection is not obvious. Assembled KFTC members have no shortage of issues, quickly identifying years worth of issues worthy of grassroots attention. There is no shortage of cooperative attitude, but there are many potential approaches to this important decision process. 

Chapter members agreed the first step to selecting the chapter issue was to brainstorm issues to be discussed at the April chapter meeting. KFTC principles for issue selection were presented by Jefferson County organizer Alicia Hurle, and discussion led to additional criteria being added. The group determined a local issue should be one that is winnable with opportunities for action in the short term, even if completely winning would ultimately take focus over a longer time horizon. The group also agreed the ideal local issue would be important to people in areas not currently connected to state wide work. We want an issue that will energize the chapter and get members involved in our work. Outreach to chapter members encouraged them to contribute issues they would like to see considered and were invited to participate in discussion of issues and the process for selecting issues at the next chapter meeting.

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Task force hears testimony on voting rights bills

Posted by: KFTC Staff on October 22, 2013

For the first time, some members of the Kentucky Senate got to hear testimony on the issue of restoring voting rights to former felons.

Myrna Perez

The Interim Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs, with members from both the House and Senate, heard testimony on bills that would allow Kentucky voters to amend the state constitution to automatically restore voting rights to former felons once they’ve served their debt to society.

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Pipeline Action: Tell the Corps and FERC to Protect Our Water

Posted by: Kentuckians For The Commonwealth on October 21, 2013

A growing number of Kentuckians continue to stand up for our water, land and health by standing against the proposed Williams & Boardwalk hazardous liquids Bluegrass Pipeline.

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Investing in the Economic Future of Eastern Kentucky

Posted by: KFTC Staff on October 14, 2013

The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) recently released an important report calling for the creation of an Appalachian Planning and Development Fund to oversee a strategic planning process that emphasizes “community participation, accountability and democracy.”

MACED proposes that 25 percent of annual eastern Kentucky coal severance tax dollars should be allocated to this fund, starting immediately. Under this plan, some portion of those dollars would be available on an annual basis to invest in economic development projects and strategies in coal-producing counties. The remainder would be set aside in a “permanent fund” for future use. The proposal also calls for the creation of a board of directors and a broader citizens advisory panel to evaluate development strategies and direct the use of funds.

"The loss of so many coal jobs and our diminishing severance taxes are on everyone's minds," said Justin Maxson, president of MACED. "As our resources become scarcer, it's even more important that we spend them as wisely as possible. The longer we wait to act, the deeper the challenge becomes."

One important aspect of MACED’s report is the emphasis on the process used to make decisions about investments from the permanent fund. The report references a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which concluded that the key to a struggling city’s revitalization isn’t geography or industry mix, but rather “broad, innovative leadership and collaboration.”

MACED’s report can be found here.

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