Just Transition

KFTC members and many ally organizations are working to shape a Just Transition to an equitable and sustainable economy, one that works for all people. The term Just Transition describes an all-in, inclusive, and place-based process to build economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative one.

A Just Transition requires solutions that ensure the well-being of workers and communities; address racial, economic and gender injustice; protect our health, environment and climate; and create meaningful, good jobs and a thriving and sustainable economy.

In 2013, KFTC members identified the following principles for a just transition:

  • Improve the quality of life for people and communities affected by economic disruption, environmental damage, and inequality

  • Foster inclusion, participation and collaboration

  • Generate good, stable and meaningful jobs and broad, fair access to them

  • Promote innovation, self-reliance and broadly held local wealth

  • Protect and restore public health and environment    

  • Respect the past while strengthening communities and culture

  • Consider the effects of decisions on future generations

KFTC’s work to build a Just Transition takes many forms, and there are many ways for you to get involved. Here are just a few examples:

  • In 2011, 14 KFTC members occupied Governor Steve Beshear’s office for 3 days to protest mountaintop removal mining. Demands for a Just Transition were at the top of their list.

  • In 2013, KFTC hosted a 3-day convening in Harlan, Kentucky called Appalachia’s Bright Future to spark a public conversation about what a Just Transition for Appalachia means, and what it would take.

  • In 2013, KFTC members released an Appalachian Transition Policy Platform, describing “a set of public policies and positions that can be part of building a bright future in eastern Kentucky and across our Commonwealth.”

  • Since 2015, KFTC members have partnered with allies in Kentucky and across Central Appalachia to build a campaign to pass the federal RECLAIM Act, a bill that would create thousands of good new jobs by investing $1 billion from an existing federal fund to reclaim abandoned mine sites.

  • From 2015 to 2017, KFTC members created the Empower Kentucky Plan, a people’s plan for a Just Transition to a clean energy economy in our state.

  • As part of the Empower Kentucky Plan, we produced an environmental justice analysis of Kentucky, describing which communities are most impacted by cumulative pollution and related poor health outcomes.

  • In 2018, KFTC released a report called “Fixing What’s Broke” describing why Congress must support a Just Transition by passing the RECLAIM Act, protecting miners’ pensions, and strengthening the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. Our members also worked to pass 16 local resolutions through their city and county governments in support of these measures.

  • In 2019, KFTC members announced exciting new resources for the Benham$aves Program, an innovative energy efficiency program in Benham, KY created by local residents and community leaders in partnership with KFTC and ally organizations.

  • In 2019, two KFTC members from Harlan County, both former miners, visited organizations and leaders in Australia’s Hunter Valley, a coal-mining region that is facing its own economic transition.

There are many other examples of KFTC’s work for a Just Transition in Kentucky! KFTC members are organizing for voting rights, for renters rights and against gentrification. We are fighting to protect access to health care, defend public pensions, pass fair tax reforms, and strengthen our public safety-net. We are organizing locally to build inclusive communities that are safe and just for all residents, including LGBTQ folks, people of color, and immigrants. We are supporting participatory budgeting efforts. We are building relationships and understanding across communities. And so much more.

Learn more and get involved through your local KFTC chapter or contact lisa@kftc.org.