Spring 2014 Newsletter

App Rising

Our Water, Our Future

Planning is getting off the ground for Our Water, Our Future. RSVP for this exciting event, September 8-9th, 2014 in Washington DC. Way back in 2009, the Obama Administration made a promise to take measures to protect the people, waters and mountains of Appalachia from the dangerous impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Five years later the toll of coal on water and people in Central Appalachia is increasing — punctuated by the recent coal ash, slurry, and coal-processing chemical spills across our region. This powerful op-ed outlines some of what citizens go up against when they ask their government to regulate the worst abuses of the coal industry.

Earlier this month, citizens from Appalachia joined with the Citizens Coal Council and leaders from coal-impacted regions across the country for an unprecedented meeting with the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, in Washington, DC.

Community members made the journey because this year, Secretary Jewell will make major decisions that impact the water and future of Central Appalachia. This important meeting is just one step in our work to ensure that Appalachians have a seat at the table during this critical time.

Join us this September in DC to tell the administration that we’re done waiting – it’s time to protect our water and our future.

jewell_meeting

Citizens Coal Council meets with Secretary Jewell at the Department of the Interior.

At the Legislature

March and April have been busy months for The Alliance for Appalachia and our member groups. Many groups have been working hard as state legislature seasons wrap up. On the national level, we worked to fight off a bad bill that would allow coal companies to dump coal waste into our mountain streams with little regard for the impacts on our water and our communities. This terrible bill did pass in the House, but our advocacy inspired threats of a White House veto, impassioned speeches on the House floor about the dangers of mountaintop removal to community health, and a strong assurance that this bill would have no traction in the Senate.

Appalachian Transition Work

We’re so excited to be moving forward with the Appalachian Transition Fellowship program through our partners at the Highlander Center!  This program places emerging community leaders with host communities to provide capacity with the host group and build the skills of the fellow. Fellows will have the opportunity to network, mentor and train with leaders from across Appalachia and across sectors of work. The Alliance for Appalachia’s fellow will work with our Economic Transition team and allies across the region to create a regional plan of action towards building a resilient and healthy Appalachian economy.

 

Allies in Action

The Alliance for Appalachia helps local community groups engage with national campaigns to protect our mountains. Here is a snapshot of some of the exciting work happening right now.

Victory! JP Morgan Chase Drops Mountaintop Removal! Our friends at Rainforest Action Network announced exciting news! JPMorgan Chase updated its environmental policy, revealing that it will be ending financial relationships with Mountaintop Removal coal mining companies. This is the result of a powerful grassroots effort!  JP Morgan Chase joins Wells Fargo and BNP Paribas/Bank of the West who are already moving away from Mountaintop Removal. Tell the rest of the banks to drop Alpha Natural Resources and adopt a policy to phase out MTR financing.

The Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) traveled 900 miles to Tampa, FL for the PNC shareholder meeting for the fourth year in a row to protest the bank’s financing of mountaintop removal.  According to organizers: “If PNC does not adopt a full sector exclusion by June 1, the Earth Quaker Action Team will be back in Pittsburgh in early July with Quakers, allies and supporters from across the country.” To follow or support their exciting actions, visit their facebook.

Thanks to all who donated to the Lone Mountain Book project - over $15,000 was donated to publish this unique children’s book about mountaintop removal.

Dozens of members of Gainesville Loves Mountains spoke out at an important City Commission meeting, demanding a ban of the use of mountaintop removal coal  to power their city.  Commissioners voted to draft a proposed resolution opposing mountaintop removal as well as to draft a policy that would ban local utilities from purchasing coal from mountaintop removal sites. To learn more about this campaign or how you can support this powerful group, visit https://www.facebook.com/GainesvilleLovesMountains
Donate To Support This Work

This year will be one of our hardest financially even as we move forward with a strong workplan, firmly rooted in local leadership from our steering committee and our busy work teams. Please donate to support our work for clean water and a healthy Appalachian future!