Chapter: Harlan County

In Harlan County and eastern Kentucky, we have a rich culture, natural beauty, valuable resources such as mountains, forests and water, and a history worth preserving. We are a chapter of KFTC because we believe that these assets and characteristics define who we are, and in preserving and protecting them we are defending a way of life and leaving what is most special about this place for future generations.

Harlan County residents helped create KFTC, and we are one of its earliest chapters. Our local chapter was built on the dedication and struggles of many who came before us, and since 1981 we’ve continued their efforts. Through the years, we have been involved in successful campaigns to save the upper elevations of Black Mountain (Kentucky’s highest peak) from strip mining and logging, help communities win water lines and a new bridge, and so much more.

Today we are working to build new power in the mountains to protect the water and a way of life threatened by destructive mining methods, while  supporting KFTC’s broader efforts to make coal mines safer for miners, fully fund schools and keep college affordable, bring clean energy jobs to this area and expand voting rights.

Recent Activities

STAY Together Appalachian Youth 4th Annual Summer Institute

The STAY (Stay Together Appalachian Youth) Project will host the 4th Annual STAY Summer Institute (SSI) from July 31 to August 3 at Camp Bethel in Wise, VA.SSI is STAY's largest gathering of the year and is open to 14-30 year olds from Central Appalachia, including eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, West Virginia, southwest Virginia, and western North Carolina.

The STAY Project is a diverse regional network of young people throughout Central Appalachia who are working together to advocate for and actively participate in their home mountain communities. STAY is about the need for communities now and in the future to have the basic human rights that everyone deserves no matter where they live, their economic background, their race, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or cultural background.

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Kentuckians want better protection than what's in the general permit

Members of KFTC and ally groups asked state officials to care about the quality of the water where they live, and recognize its importance for social and economic activity, during a public hearing

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General permit for coal falls short, June 18 hearing set

A public hearing will take place on June 18 to receive comments on proposed drafts of the state’s General Permit for Coal Mining.

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Eastern Kentuckians work to guide Promise Zone process

“The idea of the Promise Zone is encouraging,” said Elizabeth Sanders, Letcher County Steering Committee Rep., back in January. “We have a vision for a future for eastern Kentucky and know we have a lot of promise here in the mountains. If the resources from the federal government through the Promise Zone will coordinate with things like the SOAR Initiative and other existing and future programs, we may begin to see some steps toward the change the people of eastern Kentucky have been ready for and working toward.”


Since KFTC’s Appalachia’s Bright Future Conference in Harlan nearly a year ago, some big announcements and initiatives have surfaced to build wider support for a just economic transition in eastern Kentucky.

Governor Steve Brashear and 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers worked together to launch the SOAR initiative with a well-attended summit last December, and in January we welcomed the declaration of eight eastern Kentucky counties as federal ‘Promise Zones’. Since then, KFTC members have worked hard throughout the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly to lift up our best opportunities for statewide legislation and stay connected to all these efforts to guide the economic future of eastern Kentucky.

Last week KFTC members of the Harlan and Letcher chapters turned out for listening sessions to guide the regional plan of the federal Promise Zones. On Tuesday evening in Harlan, local members represented nearly a third of the 70 or so people who turned out at the Harlan Center. In the same room that hosted large group discussions at Appalachia’s Bright Future conference, Harlan countians shared a vision of hope and possibility.

Federal Promise Zone listening sessionVisions of parks, small businesses, trails and renewable energy made their way to large newsprint at the front of the room as a microphone was passed from table to table. Much of this spoken feedback was from young SKCTC students who traveled from the nearby community college campus with their entire evening class for the listening session.

Benham’s City Manager and longtime KFTC member Roy Silver shared the outline of an evolving "Benham Energy Project" collaboration between the city, Benham Power Board, COAP (Christian Outreach with Appalachian People) of Harlan, and KFTC. 

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Shining a light on Benham Power

Benham Power Project -- March 2014On Tuesday, March 4, the City of Benham in Harlan County took a big step forward in charting its energy future. KFTC, along with the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) and MIT, presented research and proposals on how the municipally-owned electric utility in the town can save money on their power bills to their wholesale power provider, as well as help local residents and businesses save energy and money, and help stabilize the town's distribution grid. After the presentations, the town leaders were asked if they were interested in continuing forward with the design and implementation of the project and the response was an overwhelming "yes," with lots of great questions and suggestions shared that evening.

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Chapter Feature:

DSC_0931"Many of us are working to create a better future for our children and grandchildren - and we've got lots of possibilities and real ideas about how to do that. We've got a bright future if we want it."

- Carl Shoupe, Benham, KY

 

Visions from Black Mountain coverVisions from Black Mountain

Residents of Benham, Lynch and Cumberland share their visions for the unique Tri-Cities area.

Regular Meetings:

We meet every other month on the second Monday at 6 p.m. We move our meeting locations around the county.  Check the calender!

Chapter Organizer:

Tanya Turner
Whitesburg, KY 41858
606-632-0051

Upcoming Events:

July 31

4th Annual STAY Project Summer Institute

Wise, VA

Contact Tanya@kftc.org by July 13th to join the KFTC delegation with a full scholarship and travel assistance! 

 

August 4

Multi-chapter potluck at Lilley Cornett Woods

91 Lilley Cornett Branch
Hallie, KY 41821

Join the Harlan, Letcher, and Perry County chapters for a multi-chapter potluck at Lilley Cornett Woods on Monday, August 4th! There will be an optional guided tour of the old gro