Coal and Water News

Jefferson County co-hosts Citizen Lobbying 101

December 17, 2013 at 03:18pm

How does a bill become a law in Kentucky? What’s the best way for people to arrange a meeting with their legislators? How can ordinary citizens hold lawmakers accountable?

These questions, and more, were brought to the forefront during Jefferson County's citizen lobbying training on Wednesday, December 11, which took place at the First Unitarian Church in Louisville.

Images that are often associated with the word “lobbyist” are those of corporate lackeys treating policymakers to expensive drinks over a round of golf. It’s a misconception that was quickly broken as community organizers from throughout the state shared their lobbying experiences on both local and state levels.

Groups challenge EPA decision allowing Kentucky officials to gut clean water protection

December 13, 2013 at 08:57pm

Spinal deformities in fish resulting from selenium exposure. Photo: Wake Forest University.

On Friday, community and environmental groups took legal action against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a recent decision allowing Kentucky to weaken its water quality standards for selenium, a pollutant common to mountaintop removal coal mines.

"KFTC and our allies have worked for years to make EPA fully aware of the systemic failures of Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet to protect our commonwealth’s people, waters and environment,” said Doug Doerrfeld, a member of KFTC’s litigation team. “In light of this history it is disgraceful that EPA would approve a weakened selenium standard that will not only leave aquatic life at risk but will make citizen enforcement all but impossible."

Hollowed Mountains, Now Hollowed Towns: Coal in Eastern Kentucky

December 11, 2013

Coal is embedded into the culture and image of Eastern Kentucky, but the industry is declining in the region. And it's declining permanently. The coal miners—who've known coal through the generations—are being left behind.

A day to honor miners' work, commit to their safety

December 6, 2013
Lexington Herald-Leader

Today, we celebrate the fourth annual National Miners Day. American miners work every day to provide the necessities of life. They deserve protection on the job from workplace hazards that have killed tens of thousands and injured hundreds of thousands of miners throughout our history


Blue Morals

November 14, 2013 at 03:52pm

I remember one day I walked into my home after school, my father was in tears and had not yet broken his fast. After I succeeded in convincing him to eat, he requested that I listen in private and so I did. My father could see the challenging future I was about to face, yet how could I know when I was barely nineteen years of age? He recommended that I hold on to courage and faith, and that I remember the strength of those whom I might or should leave behind, wisdom in choices, justice in actions, and if I speak let it be the truth even if it leads to an unpleasant ending. My siblings and I may have not had the greatest childhood, but we had the greatest father, a warrior, and a mother that did better than her best to ensure our safe survival.  

We experienced serious issues and shortages with water. My mother was one of the hundreds of women who traveled miles searching for a source of water, but how much can one woman carry this burden across many miles through cold and heat? She must have ignored her pain to protect us, her needs to provide for us, her own sufferings to ensure our survival, and she must have lost the feeling of life just to see us prosper of ours.

Unsafe roads: another of the True Costs of Coal

October 31, 2013 at 12:02am

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.”

Judge tells EPA it's time for coal ash disposal rules

October 11, 2013 at 04:10pm

In a positive step for community throughout Kentucky, a federal judge last week agreed with a broad coalition of local, state and national groups that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to set federal regulations for the safe and proper disposal of toxic coal ash.

Scott County & NKY Chapters Mountain Witness Tour

October 3, 2013 at 08:56pm

 On September 13th and 14th KFTC members and allies, anchored by members coming from Scott County, attended a Mountain Witness Tour visiting members from Letcher and Harlan counties. The group, which included members from the Northern Kentucky and Scott County chapters, a blogger named Stormy, her daughter, allies from the Georgetown College Sustainability Initiative, and members of Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, began the weekend by visiting Wiley’s Last Resort on top of Pine Mountain.

Series of water testing workshops successfully concludes in Letcher County

September 26, 2013 at 11:40am

LetcherCSPHThirty people from nine counties in three different states came to Appalshop in Letcher County to learn how to do basic tests of local streams, to talk about water quality issues we face in the mountains, and to learn how to get involved with work organizations from around the region are doing related to clean water.

Stacy Branch residents spared while ruling appealed

September 24, 2013 at 04:02pm

Residents of the Stacy Branch and Lotts Creek communities in Knott and Perry counties were relieved last week when a federal judge placed a temporary halt on mining activities that involve a massive valley fill.