Alliance for Appalachia Creates New Teams

 View of Smokey Mountains at Highlander Center in Tennessee. 

View of Smokey Mountains at Highlander Center in Tennessee. 

The Center for Coalfield Justice attended the most recent Alliance for Appalachia Steering Committee Meeting, where member groups decided to try a six month trial period that involves a restructuring of the current “teams” with a hope that the new teams are more issue specific and inspiring to those who choose to be apart of them.  Also, plans were started for a trip to DC with the goal of meeting with decision makers and sending a clear message that people in Appalachia want a healthy future, rather than more coal mining.

Previously, only an Econ Team and a Federal Team had existed.  Now, there will be 4 groups; Corporate Accountability Team, Citizen Enforcement Team, New Economy Team, Black Lung Team and an Internal Communications Team, which will have representation from each team. Below are the description of the teams, please contact Nick at nick@coalfieldjustice.org if you want to get engaged in any of the teams.  

The Corporate Accountability Team will focus on planning regional actions to put pressure on corporate targets, especially Jim Justice and Alpha Natural Resources.  

The Citizen Enforcement Team hopes to convene a space for member groups to learn from each other’s work around water monitoring and enforcement, organize trainings, share resources, and contribute data to the Appalachian Citizen Enforcement Database. Also, they plan to share strategies between states on enforcement-related issues such as citizens engagement in bond proceeds, tracking and challenging mine permits, submitting citizen complaints, using the clean water act to enforce the law and more.  

New Economy Team will focus on real solutions/research around building wealth by moving resources to acquire and redistribute land. Research Community Reinvestment Act and Land Trust Connect resources to communities/people trying to purchase land.

Black Lung Team will focus on a DC Action Planning Team around Black Lung Trust Fund that will expire at the end of the year and advocate the renewal of the fund in order to protect former and current mine workers.

Internal Communications Team will keep the connectedness and coordination between teams and increase transparency of the Coordinating Committee work. This Team will be comprised of representatives from each of the new teams who will join a coordinating call monthly.

The new teams were formed with the mission of the Alliance in mind and will continue to move forward the efforts to end mountaintop removal, put a halt to destructive coal technologies, and create a sustainable, just Appalachia.    

After the six month trial period, the Steering Committee and member organizations will assess the progress and vote whether to keep the new structure with more issue-specific teams, or make additional changes.  The DC trip may be upon us before you know it, so stay updated!