Harlan County | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

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

RECLAIM Act and AML pass the House as part of The Moving Forward Act

Kentucky will have a better chance at seeing its $400 million backlog of mine reclamation projects move forward thanks to legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 1.

Both the RECLAIM Act and reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Lands Program were included in the INVEST in America Act (a.k.a The Moving Forward Act), a broad bill addressing the country’s infrastructure needs.

"I am overjoyed that Congress is finally helping to clean up abandoned mines and polluted waterways," said Joanne Hill, a retired nurse originally from Harlan County now living in Pulaski County. "For too long, Kentuckians have been pleading for action with no response.”

Blackjewel has environmental debts, bankruptcy court told

KFTC and allies have asked a federal bankruptcy judge to consider the environmental liabilities created by Blackjewel LLC and its affiliate mining companies in settling the company’s bankruptcy case.

Blackjewel – the company that gained notoriety last year when it shut down while owing its workers unpaid wages – has unreclaimed mines throughout eastern Kentucky, as well as in Virginia and West Virginia.

In filings earlier this year, Blackjewel assured the court that the majority of its permits and reclamation obligations had been assumed by other operations, which would be responsible for maintaining and reclaiming the sites.

However, there has been no activity to transfer 149 of the 213 permits the company holds in Kentucky, research has revealed. In the meantime, environmental violations continue to grow at many of the sites.

“We’re alarmed by the fact that so few permit transfers have even been initiated, let alone completed. We’re also alarmed by high, and increasing, number of permit violations at the non-transferred permits,” stated the letter written by Mary Cromer with the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, based in Whitesburg.

Many affected as Revelation Energy files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

KFTC members and residents of many other coal producing states and regions have followed the activities of Revelation Energy, LLC with increasing alarm in recent years.

They watched closely as the company went a buying spree, acquiring hundreds of mine permits and hundreds of thousands of acres of mines in Kentucky alone from 2014 to 2018. They tracked notices of dozens of safety, health and environmental violations and overdue taxes charged against Revelation Energy, many of which remain outstanding. (According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Revelation Energy has been the top violator of reclamation and environmental rules in each of the last three years.)

And throughout this year, KFTC members actively organized against proposed mining permits and permit amendments sought by Revelation Energy that threaten water quality and community well-being in Harlan and Pulaski counties.

Enterprise Coal Co. "Big Branch" mountaintop removal mine Knott County KY

RECLAIM Act is approved by U.S. House committee

After reintroduction in April, the bipartisan RECLAIM Act was debated and voted on during the May 1 House

Exciting! Benham$aves energy efficiency project receives $200,000 pledge

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KFTC members took part in a special called meeting of the Benham Power Board on February 12 to share the good news that an anonymous donor pledged $200,000 to support the Benham$aves Program.

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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 even month on the second Thursday at 6 p.m. We move our meeting locations around the county. Check the calendar!

Chapter Organizer:

131 N. Mill Street
London, KY 40741
606-261-4955