Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is a grassroots citizens group working for statewide political, social, and environmental justice. The organization works to protect the environment and preserve Kentucky's natural resources; to make government open, honest and responsive; to protect and advance human and civil rights; and to create a sustainable economy that promotes public health and protects resources for the future.
Location: London, KY
Group website: Kentuckians For The Commonwealth
Contact: info [at] kftc.org
2011: EPA visit to Kentucky
In August 2011, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency went to eastern Kentucky to meet with residents affected by coal mining, with members of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth escorting the officials from Clay County to Knott County to Letcher County, ending the trip in Harlan County. In Knott County, many residents said they were concerned with a proposed permit by Leeco Coal for the Stacy Branch Surface Mine. That permit is one that was subjected to increased scrutiny by the EPA in 2009 and is still under review.
Besides asking the EPA to not issue the permit, the residents talked about broader health, environmental, and economic concerns related to coal mining, packing into a theater in Whitesburg and testifying about water pollution, the risks of an economy that’s too dependent on coal, and the industry’s political influence.
“I want to talk for a moment about another insidious form of coal pollution," said former Kentuckians for the Commonwealth chair Doug Doerrfeld. “It is hard to overstate the degree to which the influence of coal has also polluted our democracy. While coal mining provides just 1 percent of all jobs in the state and the industry contributes 2.5 percent of Kentucky’s economic output, the power of the industry’s money in our political system is overwhelming.”
Some coal industry supporters, including Congressman Hal Rogers and chairman of the Pikeville-based Coal Operators and Associates Charles Baird criticized the EPA for not meeting with miners and state regulators during the trip, although many members of the mining industry were at a conference in Lexington, KY.
- "KFTC Platform", Kentuckians for the Commonwealth website, accessed March 2010.
- Erica Peterson, "EPA Wraps Up Tour of Eastern Kentucky Amid Coal Industry Criticism" WFPL, Aug. 22, 2011.
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