Coal and Water News | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Coal and Water News

Amid KY coal bankruptcies, who cleans up the environmental mess left behind?

September 18, 2020
Lexington Herald-Leader
Big Sandy, Harlan County

More than 15 months after seeking bankruptcy protection, Blackjewel still holds 209 Kentucky mine permits. Though most have sold, the buyers have yet to transfer the permits and assume the responsibilities of environmental compliance and reclamation. Those responsibilities remain with Blackjewel. Unless they don’t.

Whatever Happened to the RECLAIM Act? Mitch McConnell killed it.

October 26, 2020 at 02:31pm

We are two women who have different connections to Appalachia, but who share a passion for the mountains. Melissa grew up in Van Lear, the home of Loretta Lynn.  Her mom and dad still reside there. Many of her relatives worked in the mines, including both of her grandfathers. Rebecca lived much of her adult life in the hills of North Carolina.

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

July 3, 2020 at 12:50am

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

June 25, 2020 at 01:40am

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.

A road map to a Just Transition

June 9, 2020 at 10:05am

A new report from a diverse set of frontline organizations outlines a set of comprehensive solutions needed to respond to the cascading and interlocking crises our communities face, including the climate crisis, COVID-19, and structural racism and inequality. 

The report, A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy, offers community groups, policy advocates, and policymakers a pathway to solutions that work for frontline communities and workers. These ideas have been collectively strategized by community organizations, including KFTC, and leaders from across multiple frontline and grassroots networks and alliances to ensure that regenerative economic solutions and ecological justice.

Tackling the A-Z Impacts of Plastics

May 14, 2020 at 05:21pm
Northern Kentucky

Members of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth have built connections with allies across the Ohio River valley over the past few years around the fight to protect ORSANCO's regulatory mission.

Media campaign pushes Congress to act on RECLAIM Act and black lung fund

February 24, 2020 at 03:12pm

In January, KFTC and several ally groups launched a paid media campaign – including 10 billboards plus radio, newspaper and digital ads in central and eastern Kentucky – calling on members of Congress to stand up for coal miners and communities by passing a package of Just Transition bills in 2020.

Ohio Valley Residents Among Millions In U.S Lacking Access To Clean Water, Sanitation

November 19, 2019
Ohio Valley ResSource

Communities across the Ohio Valley are among an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. who do not have consistent access to clean drinking water and basic indoor plumbing, according to a report by two nonprofits, DigDeep and the US Water Alliance.

Disastrous Disconnect: Coal, climate and catastrophe In Kentucky

October 29, 2019
WEKU-FM

Flash floods have troubled Kentucky for decades. Now, extreme rainstorms are worsening with climate change, increasing the odds of more disasters like the one Bentley’s community endured. For Kentucky’s poorest residents, the people living in flood-prone hollows with surface mines nearby, that means an ever-present threat to both life and hard-won possessions.

We Need a Just Transition—Because We Should Abandon Coal, Not Coal Workers

October 28, 2019
On Earth

Taking care of those communities distressed by the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is an economic and ethical imperative.

The coal industry is dying. But we can’t allow the communities that have been dependent on coal to die along with it.

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