Coal and Water News

Lifting our voices from Home during the General Assembly

February 3, 2014 at 01:53pm

It’s a long drive from eastern Kentucky to Frankfort; a full day’s work, to say the least. That’s why members of the Letcher County Chapter of KFTC are getting creative to lift their voices around important issues this Legislative Session. 

The chapter is wrapping up a solid week of terrific work around Kentucky’s General Assembly, right here at home. Last Wednesday, several members hosted a Mountain Talk program on local community radio station WMMT 88.7 FM. The program’s theme of Voting Rights in Kentucky followed up on a recent radio news piece covering a lobby day and rally at the State Capitol in Frankfort organized by the Kentucky Voting Rights Coalition. The Mountain Talk featured clips from that rally as well as commentary from former felon Kristi Kendall in Floyd County,WMMT Mtn Talk on HB 70 retired judge Jim Bowling in Bell County, and the father of a former felon/ coal miner, Carl Shoupe in Harlan County.  

Besides the too often told story of firsthand disenfranchisement of themselves or family members, Judge Bowling gave powerful testimony of his experience sitting on the bench, forced to hand down harsh felony convictions for offenses that once were misdemeanors.

Footprints for Peace begins annual walk to I Love Mountains Day

January 31, 2014 at 05:01pm

Perry County member Russell OliverOn Friday, more than a dozen people met in Prestonsburg and began a two-week walk to Frankfort, where they will join more than a thousand other people at I Love Mountains Day.

Long-overdue rules to limit coal ash exposure coming after court settlement

January 29, 2014 at 07:06am

In response to legal action by a broad coalition of national and local groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must finalize first-ever federal standards for the disposal of coal ash by December 19, 2014.

The settlement does not dictate the content of the final regulation, but gives the agency a deadline to finalize standards after years of delay.

Gov. Steve Beshear's Budget Cuts Deep for Some Kentucky Energy and Environment Programs

January 23, 2014
WFPL-FM

Some departments of the Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet will see deep cuts over the next two years, if the General Assembly approves Gov. Steve Beshear’s proposed budget.

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
WFPL-FM

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.”