The Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest mountains in the world and one of the most biologically diverse locations in this hemisphere. Our communities here are culturally rich. Most importantly, they are home.
And there are some people focused on destroying them.
In the past two years, nearly 20 peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown strong links between coal production, including large-scale surface mining, and impacts on human health in Central Appalachia.
Eastern Kentucky is rich in human, ecological and natural resources. Our people, coal and land have contributed much to the nation’s economy and culture – often at great sacrifice. Now we face new challenges. Coal production and employment have been dropping for decades, and those trends are accelerating.
Coal ash is a residue left over from the burning of coal. The smokestacks and furnaces of coal combustion plants are required to have filters that keep coal ash from spewing directly into the air; however, this leaves a leftover deposit (also known as coal combustion waste) that contains concentrated amounts of toxic heavy metals. This residue is then either stored in landfills (dry storage), in impoundments (wet storage), or is reused in various daily products.
Coal ash is the largest industrial waste stream in the U.S. and has never been regulated to protect the public.
All across the commonwealth, Kentuckians have a vision for New Power, with healthy communities, good jobs that don’t destroy our land and water, and a place where our children will want to stay and raise their families.
In counties where coal is mined, that means we have to work to protect ourselves, our neighbors and the land we love.