Congress

Congressman Rogers hears eastern Kentuckians' call for just transition, introduces RECLAIM Act

A strong grassroots movement toward just transition in eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia, including major federal investment in the region, has resulted in new legislation.

Carl Shoupe sends Congressman Hal Rogers the resolutions that were passed by local governments asking him to support the POWER+ Plan. Carl is a retired coal miner, member of KFTC, and member of the Benham Power Board, which passed a resolution in August 2015.Today U.S. Representative Hal Rogers introduced the RECLAIM Act (Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More). The bipartisan bill aims to accelerate the use of $1 billion in funding in the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Fund to help revitalize coal communities hardest hit by the downturn of the coal industry.

Retired Kentucky miner delivers POWER+ resolutions to Congressman Hal Rogers

Carl Shoupe, a retired UMWA coal miner in Harlan County, Kentucky, mailed a letter to Congressman Hal Rogers today encouraging him to push the POWER+ Plan through Congress in 2016. The letter was accompanied by copies of the 14 resolutions that local governments and organizations have passed in Rogers' 5th District supporting the POWER+ Plan.

Carl serves on the Benham Power Board, one of the 14 Kentucky localities that have passed POWER+ support resolutions. Read Carl's letter here:

Dear Congressman Rogers,

Chase Gladson and Carl Shoupe

My name is Carl Shoupe and I am a retired, third-generation coal miner and a member of the Benham Power Board, which passed a resolution in support of the POWER+ plan last year. The Benham Power Board and the Benham City Council, along with 12 other local governments and organizations in the 5th District in Kentucky, and 14 more throughout the Central Appalachian region passed these resolutions to demonstrate our commitment to building a bright future here in our beautiful mountains as the coal industry continues to decline. We believe the investments from the federal government that the POWER+ Plan calls for would be an important component of helping our struggling region transition to a new, strong economy good for all eastern Kentuckians.

I am writing to share with you the resolutions that have passed in the 5th District, the list of resolutions from other areas, and to ask you to pass POWER+ through Congress this year.

Senators Voting to Block EPA Rules Received 17 Times as Much Money from the Coal Mining Industry

U.S. Senators voting to block EPA’d climate change rules received, on average, 17 times as much money ($75,802) from the coal mining industry compared to senators voting against them ($4,464) between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2015. Thirteen senators, including both Kentucky senators – Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul – received more than $100,000 from the coal mining industry.

President proposes major new investments in Appalachian transition

The budget proposed by President Obama today calls for significant new investments in economic transition in Central Appalachia. The President's ideas for the region are being called the "Power + Plan." 

Among the highlights of the President's plan are the following:

  • $1 billion over five years to restore lands and waters degraded by decades-old mining and support related sustainable development projects.

  • $56 million to invest in job training for laid-off miners and to support economic development efforts in Central Appalachian mining communities. This figure includes an additional $20 million in job training for miners and power plant workers; an increase of $25 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission's annual budget, to be directed at "communities most impracted by coal economic transition"; $6 million more to the Department of Commerce for "place-based regional innovation efforts," including grants to economically distressed communities; and $5 million more for the EPA's brownfields program to help communities deal with the closure of coal-fired power plants.

  • $3.9 billion over 10 years to shore up health and retirement benefits for many retired miners.

Cutting food stamps

In Kentucky, food stamps helps about 878,000 people get enough to eat. That’s about 20 percent of all Kentucky residents, roughly about the same number of those who live in poverty. But many are likely to get hungrier as cuts take effect.

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