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Clean Water Act back in the picture as EPA releases new conductivity standards


April 27, 2010

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth P.O. Box 1450 London, Ky. 40743

Volume 29 Number 3

Change Service Requested

balancing the scales

Inside... • Scotia then and now: Lessons are still being learned 34 years later • State lawmakers fail to pass a budget, special session next

Communities, streams may be protected through water quality approach Story page 12

• Week In Washington: Building new power, one voice at a time • Listening Project begins to shape discussion for an Appalachian transition • Celebrating a success: EKPC pulls funding request for Smith One

KFTC remembers the 29 fallen miners Page 

KFTC submitted the following message to West Virginia University, which is collecting condolences for the families of the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion on April 5: We at Kentuckians For The Commonwealth send our condolences to the families of the lost miners. Our organization began in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky, and our members have always included coal miners, active and retired, along with many relatives of miners. We know the remarkable courage and work ethic of miners who risk their lives every day to support their families and supply energy to our country. They are truly heroes, and the deaths of your loved ones are a devastating loss for our country and especially those of us who live in mining communities. You are in our thoughts and prayers. If you would like to add a condolence, go to These condolences will be compiled for the families of the dead miners, so please keep your message respectful and supportive. This is not the place to promote KFTC’s agenda around coal issues. KFTC has also established a space on our website to provide links to news and analysis about the West Virginia mine explosion. To visit this space, click on the button on our home page:

Table of Contents

KFTC remembers the 29 fallen miners Member Profile: Patty Wallace Member Commentary Scotia then and now: Lessons are still being learned 34 years later

page 2 page 3 page 4

Local Updates Communities in action: Benham and Lynch residents fear for the safety of their water source Nathan Hall awarded fellowship Central Kentucky chapter co-host a city council candidate forum Two new areas of members begin process to formalize KFTC chapters

page 5 page 6 page 6 page 7 page 7

Economic Justice State lawmakers fail to pass a budget, special session next Recent reports state Kentucky lawmakers are sacrificing families’ future

page 8 page 8

Canary Project Update Week In Washington: Building new power, one voice at a time Appalachian and Colombian coalfield exchange deepens commitments New conductivity standards released by EPA a step in the right direction KFTC and allies petition the EPA What is conductivity and why is it important?

page 9 page 11 page 12 page 13 page 13

High Road Initiative Update Growing Appalachia conference Listening Project begins to shape discussion for an Appalachian transition Help represent KFTC in meeting with governor The energy discussion that never happened during the legislative session

page 14 page 15 page 15 page 16

Rural Electric Cooperative Update Celebrating a success: EKPC pulls funding request for Smith One Looking towards co-op reform, members generate their platform KFTC members gear up for electric co-op annual meetings Downstream organizing

page 17 page 18 page 18 page 19

Voting Rights Update Voting rights campaign regroups for 2011 General Assembly 2010 U.S. Census in full swing 2010 General Assembly wrap-up

page 20 page 20 page 21

KFTC members reflect on what did and did not happen during the session Membership recruitment made easy: host a film screening

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Cover Photo provided by Matt Wasson, Appalachian Voices: Is mountaintop removal in Appalachia an environmental problem or a human rights catastrophe? You be the judge. This mine is in Pike County, Kentucky, just off US 23 between Jenkins and Pikeville.

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth is a statewide grassroots social justice orga­­ni­ zation working for a new balance of power and a just society. KFTC uses direct-action organizing to accomplish the following goals: • foster democratic values • change unjust institutions • empower individuals • overcome racism and other discrimination • communicate a message of what is possible • build the organization • help people participate • win issues that affect the common welfare • have fun KFTC membership dues are $15 to $50 per year, based on ability to pay. No one is denied membership because of inability to pay. Membership is open to anyone who is committed to equality, democracy and nonviolent change.

KFTC Steering Committee K.A. Owens, Chairperson Steve Boyce, Vice-Chairperson Pam Maggard, Secretary-Treasurer Doug Doerrfeld, Immediate Past Chair Susan Williams, At-Large Member

Chapter Representatives

Dana Beasley-Brown (Bowling Green) Jerry Moody (Central Kentucky) Rick Handshoe (Floyd) Carl Shoupe (Harlan) Becki Winchel (Jefferson) Cari Moore (Knott) Patty Amburgey (Letcher) Becca Parrish (Madison) Randy Moon (Perry) Vanessa Hall (Pike) Sue Tallichet (Rowan) Alternates: Donna Aros, Matt Heil, Bev May, Stanley Sturgill, Martha Flack, Bobby Hicks, Jeff Chapman Crane, Ray Arnold, Truman Hurt, Erica Urias, Ted Withrow

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth P.O. Box 1450 London, Kentucky 40743-1450 606-878-2161 Fax: 606-878-5714

balancing the scales is published by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and mailed third class from Lexington, Kentucky. Reader contri­butions and letters to the editor should be sent to 250 Southland Drive Suite #4, Lexington, KY. 40503 or Subscriptions are $20 per year.

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010


Member Profile: Patty Wallace As she contemplated her 80th birthday in April, Patty Wallace reflected on her 20-plus years of fighting for justice as a member of KFTC. Wallace never planned to become an activist. She just didn’t like what she saw. At first she was shy to speak up, and she never said a curse word until she was over 70. “Certain words, you need ’em for emphasis, and I don’t care to use them anymore.” She calls KFTC “the most important organization I’ve ever belonged to. I’ve learned so much and met the best people. I wouldn’t take anything for my years with KFTC.” Wallace first got involved with KFTC in the 1980s when a company called Pyrochem wanted to build a hazardous waste incinerator in her community in Lawrence County. As a Girl Scout leader, she had learned about environmental issues in Eastern Kentucky and she was ready to defend her community. She heard about the Kentucky Fair Tax Coalition, as KFTC was first known, and got help from KFTC to organize and fight the incinerator. She and her neighbors learned leadership skills, how to talk to local officials, and how to lobby in Frankfort. Working with other KFTC members, they helped pass a Hazardous Waste Local Control Bill in the Kentucky General Assembly in 1988 and defeated Pyrochem for good. They also supported other KFTC

chapters in different battles across the state. Wallace became KFTC chairperson in 1988, when the broad form deed campaign was at its peak. Of all her many moments in KFTC, one of her proudest was when the broad form deed amendment passed in 1988 and guaranteed landowners some protection from surface mining. As she became more active in KFTC’s statewide work, Wallace kept an eye on her own community. She and her niece Ruth Colvin attracted national media attention when they fought asbestos disposal at the nearby Roe Creek landfill. When the local sheriff suggested they not enter Roe Creek without a gun, Colvin got deputized and started carrying one. Audubon magazine dubbed them “Housewives from Hell,” and the television show Expose featured them in a program about the influence of organized crime in the garbage business. Dr. Richard Leakey’s Earth Journal television program and AARP’s Modern Maturity magazine also told their story. “Those were things where our message got out,” she said. Wallace graduated from Berea College in 1952 with a degree in home economics, and another proud moment was when the Berea College Magazine featured her on its cover in 2002 for her activism. On more than one occasion, Wallace has answered the question of why she became an activist in this way: “Because I am responsible and answerable to God for the things that are within my power to change, even if only by the way I live and speak out when I see a wrong. “Because there are many other children and adults who have no one to speak for them. “Because I agree with two-thirds of the state who favor clean air and water. “Because there are alternatives to the problems of this dispose-all society.” Wallace’s current goal is to end mountaintop removal. “To me, the most beautiful areas are these little hollows with the rhododendron, the hemlock, the rocks. I love to discover a place like that … and to think that we can just cover that up and destroy it all, it just makes me sick,” she said. She’s also been involved recently in a fight to improve her local school system. If you’d like to honor Wallace’s 80th birthday, here are a couple of suggestions: • Donate $80 to KFTC in her honor (visit or use the form on page 23). • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper calling for an end to mountaintop removal and a transition to a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous economy. For tips and help on writing a good letter, visit

KFTC Offices and Staff MAIN OFFICE Morgan Brown, Robin Daugherty & Burt Lauderdale P.O. Box 1450 London, Kentucky 40743 606-878-2161 Fax: 606-878-5714


Central Kentucky

Jessica George, Jerry Hardt, Colette Henderson, Shameka Parrish-Wright and Nancy Reinhart 901 Franklin Street Louisville, Ky 40206 502-589-3188

Tim Buckingham, Jessica Hays, Erik Hungerbuhler, Heather Roe Mahoney, Dave Newton and Ondine Quinn 250 Plaza Drive, Suite #4 Lexington, Ky 40503 859-276-0563

Berea Lisa Abbott, Amy Hogg, Carissa Lenfert, Sara Pennington Kevin Pentz, and Martin Richards 435-R Chestnut St, #2 Berea, Kentucky 40403 859-986-1277

Berea Teri Blanton 118 Baugh Street Berea, Ky. 40403 859-986-1648

Whitesburg Colleen Unroe and Patty Tarquino P.O. Box 463 Whitesburg, Ky 41858 606-632-0051

Floyd County Brittany Combs Floyd County, Ky. 606-422-0100

e-mail any staff member at except for Jessica Hays use


Member Commentary

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Scotia then and now: Lessons are still being learned 34 years later KFTC member Mimi Pickering wrote the following reflection on the 1976 Scotia Mine disaster for The Daily Yonder in March. Even though it was written before the recent Massey Energy mine explosion that killed 29 miners, its themes are perhaps even more relevant now than they were a month ago. by Mimi Pickering On March 9, 2010, a crowd of around 300 gathered in the lot next to the small house that serves as the Scotia Employees Association headquarters for a memorial ceremony. We were in the far southeastern corner of Kentucky to witness the unveiling of a historical marker commemorating the Scotia Mine Disaster of 1976 and the 26 coal miners who died there in two explosions within two days. On March 9, 34 years ago, we got word in Whitesburg of an explosion at Scotia. The mine employed a lot of local men. It paid good wages, but everyone knew Scotia was “gassy” and a dangerous place to work. We weren’t reporters, but as documentary filmmakers we figured we had some responsibility to cover a disaster taking place in our own county. I was only 23, but sadly this was not my first coal mine related tragedy. I had just completed a documentary on the 1972 Buffalo Creek Flood, a horrendous West Virginia disaster in which 125 men, women and children were killed when a dam collapsed due to coal company negligence. It was a gray, drizzling afternoon in 1976 when we drove Highway 119 up and over Pine Mountain past the Oven Fork post office to where the Scotia Mine road joins the highway. Family, friends and neighbors of Scotia miners were gathered near the road, where a gate and guardhouse prevented entry to all but police and various officials. No one knew what exactly had happened in the mine. There had been an explosion. Everyone knew that much. But no one knew who was trapped inside. As the hours passed a trickle of miners walked down the mine road to the highway, their faces black with coal dust, their wives sobbing as they ran to embrace them. They said they were ok. They weren’t working the section where the explosion had taken place. They were alive.

Among the family and friends gathered at the mine gate were Scotia miners, past and present. As we waited they talked about conditions in the mine with reporters from our local paper The Mountain Eagle. “There’s not enough air there,” said one six-year Scotia veteran. “There’s never been enough air in there.” Underground coal mines are built so that fresh air is pulled in from the outside and then sweeps through the mine. Every coal mine produces natural gas, but in properly ventilated mines, the gas is diluted and forced out. The Scotia mine produced a lot of gas and needed a very good ventilation system. On the day of the first explosion, however, this miner was telling us that a federal mine inspector had been in the mine the day before and given the company three notices for insufficient ventilation. “They got the ventilation up by yesterday evening but they did it by shunting air from other sections to the southeast,” the miner said. “They do that every time an inspector comes in.” The mine didn’t have good air and so the company was monkeying with the ventilation system, stealing air from some parts of the mine to ventilate the section where the federal inspector was making measurements. As the dreary afternoon turned to foggy dusk and then black night, we stood in the cold and rain and waited. Network news crews arrived, wondering where in God’s green acres they had been sent, and primarily concerned that the damp night air would ruin their hair before they did their standups (and these were men). More than 12 hours after the explosion, the names of the 15 miners trapped inside were released. By 1:30 a.m. the last body was found and it was announced that all were dead. Their average age was 27 years. At dawn, hearses dispatched from every funeral home in Letcher and Harlan counties carried their bodies away. I went home, numb with cold and sadness but also angry. It was just like Buffalo Creek. Once again laws intended to protect miners had been violated or ignored in the push for production, and lives had been sacrificed. Unbelievably, two days later, on March 11, a second methane explosion

ripped through the mine killing 11 members of a work crew, including three federal inspectors, who had been sent inside to begin repairs. By the end of the week, 26 men had died at Scotia. So here we were 34 years later gathered in Oven Fork for a long overdue public recognition of the disaster. The prayers and speeches were for the most part somber and muted, describing the deep hurt the community continues to feel and hopeful that some good had come out of the tragedy. Several of the victims’ family members mentioned the legislation that had passed in 1977 to increase mine safety and better train and protect the miner. Maybe Scotia was a lesson that had been learned. The family of Dennis “Bud” Boggs posed in front of the Any illusions that new state history plaque commemorating the Scotia coal mining today is a disaster where he died: (l-r) his brother, Everett Boggs, kinder and gentler oc- his sisters Kaye Cantrell and Iva Stidham, his son, Dencupation were dashed nis Boggs, and his widow, Jennifer Boggs Fuller. just a few hours later at Photo provided by Mimi Pickering a Whitesburg meeting At the hearing these statistics came on the Mine Safety and Health Adminto life as middle-aged men tethered to istration’s (MSHA) newly announced oxygen tanks and pulling aside breathprogram to stop black lung disease. Dr. ing masks to speak described the deGregory Wagner, MSHA Deputy Asbilitating smothering that defines the sistant Secretary for Policy, and Anita disease and the years they had spent Moore, from the National Institute for fighting coal company efforts to deny Occupational Safety and Heath, exthem compensation. A miner who is still plained the urgency. working said he had been employed by MSHA/NIOSH studies find that good companies, but far too many that for the last 10 years both the rate and he had worked for cut corners, never adnumber of U.S. coal miners with black equately controlling the dust or the venlung disease have been rising, reversing tilation until the day the mine inspector decades of steep decline that came from came. safety standards imposed in the 1970s. His words took me back 34 years to In addition, the severity of the disthe people waiting at the Scotia Mine ease and the rapidity of its progression gate. are increasing, and black lung disease The Scotia memorial and MSHA is occurring more frequently among hearing took place in the midst of a younger miners. Officials cited a nummulti-million dollar public relations ber of possible causes for these increascampaign by the coal industry to cones; Dr. Wagner said that coal operators’ commitment to maintaining low dust (continued on next page) levels “isn’t what it should have been.”

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010


Local Updates

Communities in action: Eastern Kentucky members continue education efforts while keeping pressure on enforcement officials

Last month KFTC members in the community of Caney in Floyd County met with a slew of officials that ranged from Joseph Blackburn with the federal Office of Surface Mining to Jim Dickinson with the state Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement. KFTC members in the Caney community are concerned with the threat from two more mining permits planned for their area. Because the community had dealt with busted gas lines, two flyrock incidents, and a host of other problems due to existing mining, they were afraid to find out that there could be more to come. Folks in the Caney community had done their work to prepare for the meeting. They gathered maps, researched health impacts, taken pictures and wrote letters to try to convince the panel that granting two more permits to the same company that had already caused these impacts would not be a good idea. During the meeting, the community got the news that the permits had already been “accepted,” which basically meant they were in one of the final processes of being granted. Even more discouraging was that the community was not given the chance to participate

in the public comment period (a permit conference). They learned that the public comment period had expired even before the first boulder from a nearby Frasure Creek Mining operation struck the home of Billy and Eileen Tussey last September. This meant that the regulatory agencies had made judgment on accepting the permits before any of the damage had taken place in Caney. Community member are upset that none of the disasters the mining caused were taken into account in giving these other two permits to Frasure Creek Mining. Even though the community was discouraged, they did not stop there. They decided to come together to write a letter asking Blackburn of OSM and the state DMRE to re-open the permits for public comment. On April 21, members Terry and Melinda Hager and Marvin and Wanda Hughes met at the church in Caney to draft a letter that will go to both the sate DMRE and the federal OSM. Anyone interested in giving support to this community in a variety of ways may contact Brittany Combs, Floyd County KFTC organizer, at 606-422-0100 or

Scotia, 34 years later continued...

(continued from previous page) vince everyone — from our federal, state and local politicians to the very youngest school children — that there is a “war on coal.” The overwhelming message in coal country is that efforts to regulate or reduce the mining and burning of coal must be stopped, that coal mining is our future, the only possible future we can hope for. This “war on coal” campaign has succeeded in badly frightening our people, people who already fear they are close to losing what little they have. And with the fear comes a growing hostility towards those who speak out, even timidly, against coal industry abuses of the

land or the people. As I reflected on the all too avoidable tragedy of the Scotia Disaster and the mine disasters before and after it, on the more common individual fatalities and disabling injuries, and on the more than 10,000 miners who have died from black lung in the past 10 years, I can’t but wonder how we got here. How can people be put in such a position that they feel they must fight to preserve an industry that is killing them? Literally. Around here it’s called being between a rock and a hard place.

Mountain Witness Tours

On March 12, KFTC member Jim Welch hosted five students from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and two KFTC Central Kentucky chapter members to fly over mine sites in Perry and Harlan counties. The students had already visited several KFTC members and mountaintop removal sites in eastern Kentucky. The students plan to present information about mountaintop removal coal mining to fellow students at Yale and hope to inspire action around the issue. On March 19, KFTC member Beverly May along with tour hosts Jim and Marianne Welch took Terry Cook, Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy in Kentucky; Mark Wourms, Executive Director of Bernheim Forest; Peter Crane, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry, and his assistant, Eugenie Gentry; and student Colin Lauderdale on a flyover and visit of eastern Kentucky mountaintop removal sites. They visited KFTC members McKinley Sumner and Truman Hurt on the ground in Vicco. Conversation was free-flowing at first, but Laudedale said, “The trip down the mountain was a lot more subdued than the trip up — everyone was affected by the destruction of a mountain on the beautiful first day of spring.”

Frasure Creek Mining Filling Streams Without Permit KFTC and the Sierra Club have put the Frasure Creek Mining company on notice for destroying streams at three mountaintop removal coal mines in eastern Kentucky without permits to do so. The notice gives the company 60 days to correct the violations or face legal action from the groups. The illegal stream destruction has occurred at Frasure Creek’s mines along the Floyd/Magoffin border and in Pike County. The company has constructed at least three valley fills and eight sediment holding ponds in streams, despite concerns about water pollution and without necessary approval. Pollutants entering the water as a result of these practices are known to cause cancer in humans. “When you live here, you know that many coal companies mine as outlaws without regard to public health or safety. They regularly violate the law, often with little or no cost to the company,” said KFTC member Doug Doerrfeld. “This shirking the law is part of the standard operating procedure around here, but that is going to change – we will hold these companies to their word and to the law.”

Mimi Pickering is a filmmaker who lives in Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Blake Troxel, a student from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Program, filmed during a recent flyover mountain witness tour.

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balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Local Updates

Benham and Lynch residents fear for the safety of their water source if a proposed mine permit is granted to Massey Energy During the last year, residents of Benham and Lynch have been involved in an ongoing effort to protect their high quality public water from both strip mines and deep mines. Over this time period hundreds of people have taken action in response to past KFTC action alerts. Now there is a proposal for a new mine that creates another threat. Harlan Reclamation Services (which will soon be purchased by Massey Energy), is proposing to mine 812 underground acres. This mine threatens the water supplies of Lynch and Benham. Thirty percent of Lynch’s water reservoir is fed by Gap Branch. This mine would go close to that water intake and underneath the stream. Residents believe mining should not be allowed east of Gap Branch to ensure the protection of Lynch’s drinking water. In Benham the mine would come within 150 feet of the underground water reservoir. Benham’s water quality is good enough to be considered for a water bottling facility. Residents want at least a 1,000-foot buffer zone to ensure the protection of the underground water reservoir. “The quality of the Benham city water is so pure, the only reason we need to treat it is because the law tells

us we have to,” said Roy Silver. Many Benham and Lynch residents participated in a recent permit conference challenging the mining plans and asking state permitters to make sure the communities’ water is protected. There are also serious questions about Massey’s ability to mine coal responsibly. “Mining 40-60 feet above our reservoir, to me, anything is possible, such as breaking through into our reservoir below. I’ve worked in the coal mines for 41 years, was a mine inspector and I’ve seen this happen,” said Stanley Sturgill. “It says in the permit that if something goes wrong with our water system because of the mining we will be provided water for the next 20 years. I find it hard to believe that Black Mountain Resources or Massey and Don Blankenship will be around for the next 20 years making sure we have good water.” KFTC member Benney Massey agreed. “Sixty feet is nothing. I worked underground. It just takes a little mistake and you’ve caused a big problem. We don’t have enough of a buffer around that water system. We don’t need to be playing games, coming in and mining so close to our water system.”

Letcher and Harlan County members, including Vanessa and Chrlie Hall above, helped with KFTC’s participation in the recent Artwalk in Whitesburg. This local event brings together artists from across the region to display and sell their work in local venues in the downtown area. The KFTC office was used to display various artwork related to social justice, which included sculpture, photography, painting, posters, literature, and music. It was a great event that raised awareness in the local community about KFTC and helped raised money through commissions on art sold and merchandise sales.

Nathan Hall awarded fellowship

Volunteers from all over Perry County cleaned up litter in the creeks and around the community. The Perry County chapter cleaned up one of the forks off of Montgomery Creek near their homes. Later that evening chapter members participated in a permit conference to help protect their homes and water from a pending coal mine.

Nathan Hall, a KFTC member from Floyd County and soon to be Berea College graduate, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship this year. The Watson Fellowship Program provides grants of $30,000 for a year of travel to 40 students from selected colleges across the nation to pursue an independent international study program.

Hall’s proposal, titled “Inspiring Vision for a New World: Rural Economies as Sustainable Pioneers,” is a year of travel to Argentina, India, Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina to live and study local solutions to a variety of economic and energy challenges facing rural communities.

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010


Local Updates

Central Kentucky chapter co-host a city council candidate forum About 50 Lexingtonians came out April 14 to La Roca/The Rock United Methodist Church to participate in a Lexington Fayette Urban County Government city council candidate forum hosted by KFTC and the Martin Luther King, the North Limestone, and the William Wells Brown Neighborhood Associations. First-district candidates Christopher Ford and Marty Clifford were given the first opportunity to speak and respond to questions prepared in advance by the planning committee. The at-large council candidates followed the first-district candidates and responded to the same prepared questions. Candidates in attendance were Steve Kay, Linda Gorton, Christopher Hignite, Kathy Plomin, Don Pratt, Ralph Ruschell, Chuck Ellinger and George Brown. Outgoing First District Councilwoman Andrea James was the moderator for the event, and representatives from the neighborhood associations and KFTC helped keep the responses within

the time limits with a tambourine. Following the forum, James discussed why she felt obligated to be involved. “I’m trying to find my place in the transition to becoming a regular citizen again. Since I have the experience, I want to act as a liaison between government and citizenry, in order to educate both sides, and in order to ensure a smooth transition for future councilpersons.” Angela Baldridge with the MLK Neighborhood Association was integral in planning the forum. “I think that it is important to educate voters, so that they can make informed decisions about who they want to represent them,” she said. “There are voters in our district without access to computers, so our neighborhood association and I felt the need to plan a live candidate forum.” Questions at the forum covered a broad range of issues including affordable housing, crime, police inadequacy, government spending, economic and development issues, environmental and health issues, energy, and jobs. KFTC member Doug Rigsby felt like

New KFTC groups in Scott County and Northern Kentucky are set to have their official chapter formation meetings in the month of May, hopefully becoming KFTC’s 12th and 13th chapters, respectively. Members are very excited to be close to becoming chapters and have done a lot of community organizing around the General Assembly and out in the community to build power and support for KFTC’s issues. Scott County KFTC members held four active days of voter registration events leading up to the April 19 deadline, including canvassing in the Boston neighborhood, a two-day community kite festival, and registration at Georgetown College. They also had a good screening of Deep Down, organized by KFTC intern Matt Doolin. They will have an art project meeting in late April with Rosanne

Klarer to make light switch covers to remind people of our connection to the mountains (and to mountaintop removal mining). In addition to sending many people to lobby in Frankfort throughout the General Assembly, Northern Kentucky KFTC members had a Budget Bake Sale on Northern Kentucky University’s campus last month and a Euchre for Justice fundraiser headed up by Joe Gallenstein. They have done a great job organizing themselves into functional work teams on chapter development, tax justice, environmental justice and voter empowerment that are each planning actions and meeting once a month outside of the full monthly group meetings. Anyone living near either of these growing KFTC chapter areas is invited to come out to the big May chapter formation meetings and spread the word.

By Jordan Panning

he may have shored up his votes for city council candiddates at the forum. “I already knew that I would probably support two candidates whom I am familiar with come election time, so I came here for my third vote. Since the forum was educational, I may have found my third vote.” Janet Tucker, a KFTC member and First District resident, was excited about the forum and that it was held at La Roca, which is in the First District. “I wanted to educate myself about the [candidates]. The Council at-large forum was interesting because I wanted to inform myself to ensure good representation.” There was a wide range of answers to the proposed questions that covered the spectrum of political ideology, but there was one thing that every candidate agreed on: the need for change. Spending, housing, jobs and corruption were the dominant issues the candidates discussed. The differences of opinion and the personal stories told by some candidates allowed attendees like Rigsby and Tucker to inform themselves on how the candidates will represent

them in office. After the forum, those in attendance were buzzing with excitement about how informative the event was. One woman told the candidates she was looking forward to a great primary season and election cycle.

Outgoing First District Councilwoman Andrea James (and KFTC member) moderated for the candidate forum.

Two new areas of members begin process to formalize KFTC chapters

Scott County KFTC Chapter Formation Meeting Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m. St. John Church (604 Main St., Georgetown)

Northern Kentucky KFTC Chapter Formation Meeting Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m. Florence City Building (8100 Ewing Blvd., Florence)

Northern Kentucky University students hosted a Budget Bake Sale.


balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Economic Justice Update

State lawmakers fail to pass a budget, special session next

State lawmakers’ duty to pass a budget was made more difficult by their failure to pass meaningful revenue reforms to Kentucky’s tax structure. Legislators have not ended the session with a budget two other times, in 2002 and 2004. In those years, the next fiscal year’s “spending plan” was written by the sitting governor so that all the services and programs that depend on state funding could continue. This is no longer possible. In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that if the legislature doesn’t pass a budget only “essential” parts of government, outlined in the state constitution, could be funded. There is very little clarity around what is and isn’t “essential,” even according to the state constitution. State media outlets have joined people across the state pointing out the

irresponsibility in the legislators’ failure to pass a budget. Madison County member Toby Wilcher and her family are living in one of the income brackets that are disproportionately impacted by state and local taxes. Wilcher ’s face is on KFTC’s handout urging legislators to support House Bill 13, along with a caption in which Wilcher urges legislators to pass a tax structure that “lets us all work together for Kentucky’s future.” Wilcher is disgusted with their lack of leadership. “It’s more about posturing and less about taking care of business. I wish it were about truly wanting to pass a budget that is fair and with better priorities!” To get a budget, Governor Beshear will call a special session, likely for May.

Two reports released in March explain how the legislature’s failure to pass fair revenue reforms are creating long-term impacts on families and communities. A March 2010 report from the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center (KLTPRC) examines the “buoyancy” of the state’s revenue, which refers to how well Kentucky’s revenue keeps pace with the economy. Here’s what the report, The Long-Term Decline in Kentucky General Fund Revenue Buoyancy, found: • Over the last 30 years, Kentucky's General Fund buoyancy has steadily declined. In short, Kentucky hasn’t been buoyant at all; the state has sunk. • Kentucky's national ranking also has declined: "From 1998 to 2008, Kentucky's General Fund growth lagged behind economic growth more than the nation or surrounding states." Kentucky’s national ranking has fallen from 20th to 30th. Some calculations give Kentucky a rank of 46. • And the conclusion: "The long-term decline in buoyancy will likely continue in the absence of fundamental revenue modernization ... Fixing the decline in General Fund buoyancy will go a long way toward solving Kentucky's structural deficit." KLTPRC is a nonpartisan group of policy analysts commissioned by

the 1992 General Assembly to study Kentucky’s best courses of action for long-term well-being. This is not the first time that the KLTPRC has urged the need for tax and revenue reforms, but it might indeed be the last. The budget proposal the Kentucky House and Senate could not agree on eliminated funding for the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center.

Economic Landscape Quick Hits

• While national unemployment rates are just starting to decrease, unemployment in Kentucky is still on the rise. Statewide rates rose to 12 percent in February. Unemployment for Magoffin County was the state’s highest at 23 percent. These numbers don’t reflect underemployment. • According to a report by Congress’s Government Accountability Office, big corporations have not been paying their fair share. Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, despite having reported trillion of dollars in income. • Turns out, the Tea Party claims about the impact of federal taxes are inaccurate. According to the Congressional Budget Office, middle-income U.S. taxpayers are now paying federal taxes at or near historically low levels. • The U.S.’s 400 wealthiest households have not been paying their fair share either since the Bush administration tax cuts in 2001. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the effective tax rate for the wealthiest 400 households (with an average income of $345 million) dropped about 10 percent since 2001 because of cuts to the federal estate tax and federal income taxes, including a very steep tax cut for investment income.

Recent reports state Kentucky lawmakers are sacrificing families’ future

The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) also released a report that points to needed policy changes, including comprehensive and fair revenue reforms. According to MACED’s report, Investing In Kentucky’s Working Families: A path to shared prosperity in the commonwealth, about a third of Kentucky’s working families are low-income. The report offers a staggeringly stark picture of how difficult state policies make it for workers to lift themselves out of and away from poverty, as well as policy solutions that would free up more state dollars to help people access education and afford to work. MACED’s report also detailed the challenges faced by low-income working families, like the percentage of income that goes to pay off energy costs, the inadequacy of support for child care, adult education, health, and

housing — all impacted by Kentucky’s elected leaders’ refusal to pass tax and revenue reforms. Other information in the report:

• Kentucky’s 105,000 poorest households spend an average of 55 percent of their household income on energy, including heating, cooling and gasoline. To put an even finer point on it, if a household makes $50,000 a year — and these households don't — it would cost $25,000 just for energy. • Sixteen percent of Kentuckians between the ages of 18 and 64 lack a high school diploma or GED; more than half of adults read at basic or below basic literacy levels. Still, Kentucky's investments in adult education — even before

the legislature’s budget proposal — are inadequate. In 2006, Kentucky invested about $48 a year for every adult without a high school diploma or GED. The national average is about $77. • In 2008, payday loan stores stripped an estimated $158 million in predatory fees from Kentucky’s working families (for more information, including county data, visit MACED also described policy recommendations for each of the focus areas of tax reform supported by KFTC, including a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and revenue reforms, and policies to support workforce and economic development.

KFTC members held Budge Bake Sales throughout the legislative session to bring attention issue that legislators were ignoring revenue reform.

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010


Canary Project Update

Week In Washington: Building new power, one voice at a time For five years, KFTC members have built new power and a healthy democracy through “Week in Washington.” During this event, organized by the Alliance for Appalachia, citizens from across the country met with hundreds of federal legislators to discuss legislation that would protect streams from coal mining valley fills. This year, more than 220 people aged 16 to 76, including 20 KFTC members and staff, traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate. Efforts to build power through Week in Washington are paying off. Since its inception:

Attendance has grown – This year’s total attendees more than doubled last year’s number. By attending, regular folks deepen their understanding of the issues, become more confident in lobbying abilities, and return home empowered. Eliza Lamb, a native Kentuckian currently studying in New York but longing to come back home, said the week “was the best week of her life.” Legislators and federal agencies are listening – In 2006, attendees partici-

pated in 50 legislative meetings and met with one federal agency. This year, they participated in more than 200 meetings and met with representatives of 10 federal agencies and departments, including senior level staff at the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bipartisan legislative cosponsorship has increased five fold – In 2006, there were 36 cosponsors in the House of Representatives of proposed legislation to protect streams from being filled with mining waste. As of April 19, 2010, there were 170 cosponsors, both Republican and Democrat, in the House and Senate. National awareness of mountaintop removal has grown – When WIW started, participants were mainly from coalfield states. Since then, citizens from every state including Hawaii and Alaska have participated in the Week in Washington, advocating for better protection for Central Appalachian communities and streams. (Californians came after seeing the documentary Coal Country.) Perry County member McKinley

“We just took over 200 ordinary citizens and turned them into experienced lobbyists.” KFTC Antonio Mazzaro, Northern Kentucky

2008 2006

People: 60 (States: 13) Meetings: 50 Cosponsors: 37


People: 100 (States: 19) Meetings: 100 Cosponsors: 65

Sumner felt the impact of a growing national awareness about mountaintop removal during his experience at this year’s Week in Washington. “I was so glad that young people from all over the country are involved,” Sumner said. “The word is getting out and we’re getting noticed. I was surprised that so many people wanted to hear my story and learn about what’s going on.” During the lobby week, also his first ever visit to Washington, D.C., Sumner told legislators about growing up in the eastern Kentucky mountains, loving his family land and watching nearly everything around him destroyed by coal mining. Unlike meetings he has had with Kentucky state legislators, he found many federal legislators receptive and anxious to help. “It’s nice that there are some politicians who are sticking their necks out to ensure the protection of people’s health,” Sumner said. Other KFTC Week in Washington participants echoed these comments, finding federal legislators very supportive on these issues when compared to the majority of elected officials at the state level. After hearing about community devastation that results from coal mining valley fills, Rep. Sanchez from California asked, “What can I do to help?” She donned an “I Love Mountains” button and said she would write a followup letter to every California delegate and ask them to co-sponsor the Clean Water

2009 2008

People: 125 (States: 20) Meetings: 140 Cosponsors: 77


People: 120 (States: 19) Meetings: 150 Cosponsors: 153

The Bills KFTC Members Lobbied For During Week In Washington 2010 Clean Water Protection Act (H.R. 1310):

This bill would outlaw the dumping of mining wastes into streams. It was first introduced to address a 2002 Bush administration executive rule change that altered the long-standing definition of “fill material” in the Clean Water Protection Act.

Appalachia Restoration Act (S.696):

This is the Senate version of the Clean Water Protection Act. Look in your email for a call-in day of action about these bills later this month! Protection Act. Another supportive representative spoke about being struck by the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains while hiking the Appalachian Trail and was appalled to learn of the devastation wreaked by mountaintop removal and valley fill practices. (continued on next page)

2010 2010

People: 220 (States: 27) Meetings: 200 Cosponsors: 170 CWPA + 10 Senators for Senate Companion ARA

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balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Canary Project Update

Week In Washington: Building new power, one voice at a time

(continued from previous page) The receptivity that members experienced in meetings with Representative Sanchez and other legislators during the Week in Washington is a direct result of their tireless efforts to build new power at the federal level. In addition to the WIW, members visit Washington throughout the year to lobby on the bills. They also write and call federal legislators about the issues on a regular basis. Rowan County chapter member Cody Montgomery participated in the Week in Washington for the fourth time this year. Cody knows well what is at stake and says he will continue to lobby until something is done. “Much of who I am is tied to

these hills, and as they are blasted and scraped away, I can’t help but feel that it is me that is being stripped. Despite possible ridicule and persecution from family and community I come to Washington, and will continue to speak out in defense of common sense, and my ties to my Appalachian heritage.” Like Montgomery, Mickey McCoy works tirelessly for change both at the federal and state levels. He sees a big difference between the two. McCoy says KFTC members are continuously ignored in Frankfort, even while being heard nationally. “The folks in Kentucky are trying to get clean water, clean air and to keep our homeland from being blasted away

by Mountain Bombing, and we are not being heard. We people of Central Appalachia have nowhere left to go. We go to D.C. as a last hope for clean water, for our mountains, and for our future.” Building on successes at the federal level, KFTC members have a constant presence in Frankfort during the legislative session, hoping that each year the

General Assembly will hear the Stream Saver Bill – the state version of the federal Clean Water Protection Act. It hasn’t happened yet, and that is why continuing to support Kentucky legislators who do listen and continuing to build new power are so important, KFTC Chair K.A. Owens said. “We are our best hope for the future.”

KFTC members held many meetings with federal officials during the Week in Washington Environmental Protection Agency

EPA told attendees that they have the President’s blessing to enforce the law using sound science. Agency representatives mentioned plans to issue guidance with a clear set of criteria and a framework supported by the law about how they plan to do this. EPA issued interim guidelines to that affect on April 1. To learn more about these guidelines, see page 12.

Department of Interior

The Stream Buffer Zone rule was discussed. Attendees noted that DOI has stimulus money to do renewable energy on public lands out west and requested that a similar program be initiated in Appalachia. Joe Pizarchik, director of the Office of Surface Mining, was present at the meeting. Another meeting will be planned with DOI.

Army Corps of Engineers

Citizens had a chance to express strong concerns about a wide variety of issues to senior staff at the Corps, including the lack of control demonstrated at the nationwide permit hearings held in the region. Corps representatives communicated that they are paying attention to these issues and affirmed that the Cumulative Hydrological Impact Assessment is now being used in the mine permitting process.

Council on Environmental Quality

Representatives from KFTC and Mountain Association for Community and Economic Development (MACED) presented ideas around Appalachian Transition and regional job growth to a host of agencies, including USDA (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) and Appalachian Regional Commission at this meeting.

United Mine Workers Associatio

Helped to build the relationship between the Alliance for Appalachia and UMWA. Common ground was found around diversifying the workforce in Central Appalachia. During the meeting, Carl Shoupe received a pin for 40 years of union service.

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Page 11

Canary Project Update

Appalachian and Colombian coalfield exchange deepens commitments

In 2008, Pike County member Rully Urias traveled with two other KFTC members to Colombia, South America, as part of a leadership development opportunity and connection with coalfield residents in the Gaujira region. While there, Urias heard an all too familiar story from Jairo Fuentes Epiayu. Epiayu is the leader of the Indigenous Wayuu village of Tamaquito, Colombia, and the governor of its Traditional Council. The village of Tamaquito has been profoundly impacted by the proximity of the internationally-owned Cerrejón mine, the largest coal mining operation in Colombia and one of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines. All of the coal mined in Colombia by Cerrejón is exported to many parts of the world, including Massachusetts. “Even though Jairo and I may be continents apart we share the same loss of air and water quality at the hands of coal extracting companies,” said Urias. “He and I have a kinship, a brotherhood of sorts. We are in the same struggle to continue to tell our story and preserve our way of life.” Epiayu came to eastern Kentucky to meet with KFTC members as part of a continuing Appalachian/Colombian Coalfield Exchange. Since 2008 KFTC members have traveled to the coalfields of Colombia to witness the impacts of coal mining. KFTC has been partnering with Witness For Peace (WFP) in hosting members in Colombia and also having WFP delegates participate in Appalachian

Mountain Witness Tours and learning about the adverse affects of mountaintop removal mining. Epiayu spent the first days of April in Appalachia meeting with KFTC members and touring mountaintop removal sites in Leslie and Pike counties. He hiked to Bad Branch Falls in Letcher County, gave several presentations, and recorded a radio interview with Randy Wilson about the effects of large scale mining on an impoverished and isolated region of Colombia in the context of international investment, indigenous and human rights, and the hidden costs of coal power generation. In Leslie County, Epiayu took a ride in Daymon Morgan’s six-wheeler up to Huckleberry Ridge. Morgan shared with Epiayu how he, too, has lost access to his ancestral land. They shared stories of medicinal plants they have used to keep themselves and their communities healthy. “It meant a lot to share my story with Jairo,” said Morgan. “It’s encouraging to meet someone doing the same as I do – taking an interest in protecting the environment, protecting our resources and natural habitat.” In both communities the coal companies have mined all around Morgan’s and Epiayu’s land, every day inching closer and closer to their homes and further destroying land once used for hunting and growing food. Letcher County member Vanessa Hall invited Epiayu to speak at her Wisdom Retreat and Wood Panel Quilt Square Workshop in Seco. “In order to make true, sustainable change in eastern Kentucky, we have to broaden the world view of our young l e a d e r s . W h e n Jairo shared his community’s story and art with the Itty Bitty Seco Committee, it definitely began changing their worldview. The eight-pointed star with the turtle symbols that Jairo Daymon Morgan shows Epiayu around his home which is created and the surrounded by a mountaintop removal mine site. Tree of Life [with

KFTC members Daymon Morgan, Jeff Chapman-Crane, and Sharman Chapman-Crane visited with Jairo Fuentes Epiayu at Daymon’s home at the base of a massive mountaintop removal mine site. the Colombian coin] that Charlie made are wonderful examples of how all communities everywhere are alike,” Hall reflected. The women of the community of Tamaquito have organized an arts cooperative that produces hand crafted traditional bags. The community in turn sells the bags to supplement their income due to the loss of land they once cultivated. Epiayu brought the mochilas on his tour and shared the stories and symbols depicted on the bags. “So often we hear about an injustice and we have no way to help, but purchasing and selling these Colombian bags is a way to help. Just carrying my bag invites questions and opportunities to share the story of Jairo and his community,” commented Sharman Chapman-Crane. The exchange of personal stories of struggle in the coalfields and the loss of heritage that is at stake had a compelling impact on artist and long-time KFTC member Jeff Chapman-Crane. “I felt a real connection to Jairo, despite the language barrier,” Chapman-Crane said. “I feel like we became friends, even if we couldn’t talk directly to each other. I admire Jairo’s courage in the face of very real danger. The thing that impressed me the most about his story is how unified his com-

munity has remained. They refuse to be divided and will only talk to the coal company as a body, not as individuals. We could learn something from that.” Epiayu was taken aback by the sight of Jeff’s sculpture, The Agony of Gaia, a life-sized, figurative sculpture that depicts Mother Earth suffering the abuse of strip mining. “To our people, Mother Earth is sacred,” said Epiayu. “This is a living work of art. Her pain is real, and her agony is shared with all of us.” “I wanted to give Jairo a picture of The Agony of Gaia for several reasons. One is that he was really moved by the sculpture; I also wanted him to be able to share the image with his community, and I wanted to share something with him that was a reminder of our struggle here and how connected we feel to him and his people. His story is an inspiration to me and helps give me the will to continue our own fight for justice,” added Chapman-Crane. Jairo will be returning to Kentucky and Appalachia at the end of May for a speaking tour to raise funds and help send Eastern Kentucky KFTC members back to Colombia for a tour of Jairo’s region in July. He also will be attending the Mountain Justice Summer training in Letcher County May 27-June 6.

Page 12

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Canary Project Update

New conductivity standards released by EPA a step in the right direction On April 1, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a bold step toward ending the pollution of central Appalachian streams by surface mining. The agency proposed new conductivity standards will make it very difficult for coal companies to continue using current surface mining practices and get permits for valley fills from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “This has been a long time in coming,” said Rick Handshoe, who sees the streams around his home in Hueysville regularly run orange from mine runoff. “It sounds like they’re going to finally enforce the law, the Clean Water Act.” “If these guidelines are enforced, in the future we should see smaller mines with much less disturbance and few if any valley fills,” added Doug Doerrfeld, who has represented KFTC on several water quality working groups. EPA is proposing to put a numerical limit of 500 µS (microsiemens) for the conductivity of central Appalachian streams. This limit is to be implemented immediately for all new and renewed permits as EPA collects comments on this new guideline between now and December 1. EPA will then review the comments and may modify the guidelines. In announcing the new rules, EPA

Administrator Lisa Jackson said, "Let me be clear, this is not about ending coal mining. This is about ending coal mining pollution. Coal communities should not have to sacrifice their environment, or their health, or their economic future to mountaintop coal mining.  They deserve the full protection of our clean water law." Because many streams in the Central Appalachian coalfields are already so polluted from mining, in some areas it may be impossible to get new pollution permits. Near Handshoe’s home in Floyd County, for example, Raccoon Creek recently was tested for conductivity. It measured 1910 µS, nearly four times higher than the limit proposed by EPA. The conductivity was measured directly below a valley fill from a Miller Brothers Coal company strip mine, and according to Handshoe, “this was after the company had been treating the water for about a month.” EPA’s new conductivity standards also should have far reaching effects on the Kentucky Division of Water’s enforcement efforts. While the federal agencies have jurisdiction over permitting of valley fills, the state has authority over individual pollutant sources, such as wastewater discharge from sediment ponds that are supposed to catch and

filter runoff from mine sites. This program, known as the Kentucky Pollution Discharge Elimination System (KPDES), is so seriously flawed that KFTC and other groups are asking EPA to take it over. “The Kentucky Division of Water has bent over backwards to prevent this day of reckoning from coming,” said Doerrfeld. “In my opinion the state will have to stop using general permits, and these conductivity standards will make it very difficult for coal companies to get permits.” In a February 1 letter to President Obama, Gov. Steve Beshear asked that

EPA “continue to evaluate” what were then proposals still being developed because “there are no existing water quality standards [for conductivity] at either the state or federal level.” But EPA released two studies along with its April 1 announcement that lay out the rationale for the 500 µS standard. The Kentucky Division of Water’s own 2008 list of impaired waters provided to the EPA under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act identified 1,199 stream miles in the Upper Kentucky River watershed, 487 stream miles in the Upper (continued on next page)

Action Needed: SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting public comment on the issues addressed in two EPA guidance memoranda released on April 1 titled Improving EPA Review of Appalachian Surface Coal Mining Operations under the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Environmental Justice Executive Order. Effective immediately, these memoranda —one labeled “Summary Guidance” and one labeled “Detailed Guidance”— seek to clarify EPA’s roles and expectations, in coordinating with its federal and state partners, with regard to environmental review of Appalachian surface coal mining operations under the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Environmental Justice Executive Order (E.O. 12898). DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 1, 2010. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2010-0315, by one of the following methods: http:// Follow the on-line instructions for reviewing comments. E-mail: Mail: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC) Water Docket, MC 2822T; 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Timothy Landers, U.S. EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460; 202566-2231;

KFTC member Rick Handshoe knows first hand the reasons for these new standards. The stream next to his house is a constant shade of orange.

The guidance memoranda are available at: owow/wetlands/guidance/mining.html.

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Page 13

Canary Project Update

New conductivity standards released by EPA a step in the right direction (continued from previous page) Cumberland River watershed, and 780 stream miles in the Big Sandy/Little Sandy/Tygarts Creek watershed as impaired, primarily from coal mining. Furthermore, for coal mines with existing permits the Kentucky Division of Water only requires those mines to take a single water testing sample from their wastewater discharge once every five years. And the Division of Water has only four permitting officers who manage more than 2,300 KPDES permits. By comparison, West Virginia has 15 permitting officers who manage just over 1,600 permits. The recently failed state budget proposal did not address this shortage. Another administrative maneuver the state might take to relax the EPA conductivity standards would be to implement what are called “compliance schedules.” Compliance schedules might allow coal companies to exceed the conductiv-

ity standards for two or three years over the five-year life of a permit, but in years four and five the coal company would be expected to be able to comply with the standards. Kentucky and other states have used compliance schedules; however, the EPA does not recommend their use for the new conductivity limits. We tried to contact the Kentucky Division of Water to When asked by KFTC how they intended to implement the new conductivity standards set by EPA, Allison Fleck, the Public Information Officer for the Kentucky Division of Water, replied, “We [DOW] are working with the EPA to identify an appropriate way forward. I am sorry I cannot be more specific at this time.” The EPA guidance document can be found on the internet here: http://

KFTC and allies petition the EPA to remove Kentucky’s pollution discharge permitting authority Due to Kentucky’s pattern of nonenforcement of the Kentucky Pollution Discharge Elimination System (KPDES) program, KFTC along with the Sierra Club, Public Justice and the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment in March asked the U.S. EPA to rescind Kentucky’s authority to enforce the pollution discharge permitting program under the Clean Water Act. Cited as evidence: • Nearly 2,500 miles of streams already fail to meet water quality standards, most because of coal mining; • Numerous additional miles of streams are being polluted as a result of DOW’s lax or sometimes non-existent water standards and pollution permit requirements; • The DOW has regularly issued permits that fail to address key pollutants associated with coal mining and known to be harmful, such as toxic selenium

and aluminum.

• In most cases DOW requires almost no water testing to actually determine whether or not the water is being contaminated. • The cumulative pollution level in a stream is currently not considered when setting limits for specific mining operations. As a result the toxicity of downstream waters in recent testing was between 3 and 55 times higher than state standards. “The problem is much more widespread and more serious than the state admits. We found high conductivity downstream from almost every mine site we tested,” said Tim Guilfoile, deputy director of the Sierra Club’s Water Sentinels program, which has done extensive water testing in Kentucky. A copy of the petition to EPA is on the internet at: Kentucky has had the authority to run its own KPDES program since 1983.

What is conductivity and why is it important? Water conductivity is, simply, the ability of the water to conduct an electric current. It is an indicator of how much pollution is in the water. Conductivity is very easy to measure. A conductivity instrument has two probes and measures the ability of an electric current to travel from one probe through the water to the other. According to Dr. Alice Jones, the director of the Environmental Research Institute at Eastern Kentucky University, measuring conductivity is almost foolproof. Conductivity is measured in microsiemans (µS) per cubic centimeter. The higher the µS reading the more salts or metals are in the water. That’s why Dr. Jones calls conductivity the “magic marker.” Measuring conductivity does not identify what specific salts or metals are in the water, only that they are present. In central Appalachia the conductivity of headwater streams is naturally between 100 µS and 200 µS. This is important because the plants, insects and animals in local streams have adapted to living in this level of conductivity. Recent studies conducted by the EPA show that when the conductivity in central Appalachian streams rises above 300 µS the plants, insects and animals begin to be affected. When the conductivity of these streams goes above 500 µS the plants, insects and animals are drastically affected. And when the conductivity measures above 1000 µS everything in the stream is effectively dead. In other regions of the country the natural conductivity may be higher or lower than in central Appalachia, and the plants, insects and animals there will have adapted over thousands of years to live within those natural conductivity levels. Measuring the conductivity of streams is like taking a pulse or blood pressure, according to Dr. Jones. If either are high it is a clue that something may be wrong, and if they are consistently high then there may be a serious problem. Likewise, if the conductivity of a stream is consistently high this points to the presence of a serious pollution source. Through her work with the Environmental Research Institute, Dr. Jones, with the help of AmeriCorps/VISTA members, collected 917 water samples from the headwaters of the Kentucky River. More than 53 percent of the testing samples showed conductivity levels higher that 500µS, and 28 percent of the test samples had conductivity levels greater than 1000 µS.

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balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

High Road Initiative Update

Growing Appalachia conference gave members the opportunity to discuss what a new economy could be like in Eastern Kentucky

About 50 people envisioned a new future for Appalachia in which agriculture and renewable energy offer opportunities in an economy and culture not dominated coal. The Growing Appalachia: Moving Forward in the Mountains conference on April 24 gave these folks a unique opportunity to come together for a day to focus on planning a better future for the region. “What we’re looking at is the fact that this area needs economic diversification. It needs diversification in terms of our energy sources and where our food comes from,” said KFTC member Nathan Hall of Floyd County in opening remarks. “There’s also a lot of ways that people in this area could start making a decent income for themselves within these areas,” Hall added. “We’re looking at really promoting these ideas, putting the information out there and actually helping folks find the funding to start up businesses and also get plugged into existing business where they can make an income for themselves or have a good paying job within some of these realms.” The conference was divided into two tracts: agriculture and renewable energy. Agriculture topics included starting a small mountain farm, new markets for

small farmers, forest farming, and forest management for carbon credit income. On the renewable energy side, participants learned about micro-hydro energy, energy efficiency and green building, getting started in solar energy, and the basics of biomass. Presenters from the University of Kentucky, Pine Mountain Settlement School, Kentucky Solar Partnership, and other organizations and small businesses shared practical, step-by-step information on starting new ventures in agriculture and renewable energy/energy efficiency. Dr. Deborah Hill, extension professor of forestry at the University of Kentucky, talked about forest farming opportunities such as Christmas trees, crafts, fence posts, mushrooms, and ginseng. When asked whether a person could make a living from forest farming, Hill said combining several of these forest farming ventures could produce adequate income, especially if a person were willing to live simply. Hall talked about biomass energy options for Appalachia, focusing on his own experiences in converting used food oil into biodiesel. Hall has started his own business, East Kentucky Biodiesel LLC, and hopes to encourage others to follow his lead and create their own opportunities. Randy Wilson, a KFTC member


Sustainability Symposium at Pine Mountain Settlement School May 14-16, 2010 The Pine Mountain Settlement School and Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) will co-host a Sustainability Symposium designed to bring together specialists, practitioners, educators, and organizers to share their experiences and learn about model projects throughout southeastern Kentucky. The participatory, solutions-oriented, and fun symposium will include hands-on trainings, workshops, woodland hikes, and garden tours with local and regional experts. For more information and to register, visit www.pinemountainsettlementschool. com or call Randal Pfleger at 606-558-3594.

Will Bowling (left) was one of the presenters at the Growing Appalachia Conference. Bowling, is an eastern Kentucky farmer that emphasizes “farming with nature instead of farming against nature” and eating locally. from Clay County, offered the keynote address. Wilson said he often speaks on the topic of finding local solutions for Appalachia, but in the past he often spoke about steps people were taking in other countries halfway around the world. Not anymore. “Something’s happening in Kentucky now. … People are thinking through the options for the future. It’s going to be an exciting time,” Wilson said. Participants finished the day by coming together for a large-group discussion about next steps. They agreed they wanted to keep people connected and talking to each other beyond formal meetings, but they also wanted more events around transition. KFTC member Rick Handshoe of Floyd County said the day “got people’s gears going,” but he’d like to see more workshops in the near future. Participants will in fact get another opportunity in less than a month at a three-day Sustainability Symposium at Pine Mountain Settlement School, May 14-16. The symposium will focus on food, energy and forests. For more information, contact Randal Pfleger at rpfleger@ Participants also talked about ways to navigate difficult conversations about transition in their own communities. KFTC member Cody Montgomery of Morehead asked how to respond to people who want to shut down the conversation.

“I just try to be real nice,” Hall said. Handshoe offered a different approach: “Sometimes you have to make them mad to listen to you.” KFTC member Cari Moore of Knott County said the way people talk about transition needs to change. Rather than ending coal overnight, transition means a gradual process. Although ending mountaintop removal immediately is a goal, deep mining production would be lost more gradually as the world turns away from coal, and this message needs to be clearer, Moore said. Participants also talked about the need to educate children about growing gardens, get more local food in school lunches, build positive relationships with local media, talk more about what we’re for and less about what we’re against, and provide more information about funding opportunities for small businesses. The conference was co-sponsored by KFTC and the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) and hosted by the Floyd County KFTC Chapter at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg, The day-long conference drew both KFTC members and non-members. Some folks came to gain specific information for their own small businesses, while others just wanted to join the conversation. To join the Appalachian transition conversation, contact Martin Richards at martin@ or 859-986-1277.

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Page 1

High Road Initiative Update

Listening Project begins to shape discussion for an Appalachian transition by Doug Doerrfeld

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and USDA Rural Development, in cooperation with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and many other federal agencies, recently launched The Appalachian Regional Development Initiative to diversify and strengthen the Appalachian regional economy. This spring a series of “listening sessions” were held in various locations around the region. The final meeting was held in Morehead on April 15. The purpose of the sessions was to gather opinions from local stakeholders on the challenges facing communities across Appalachia and potential opportunities for economic and community development. More than 100 people attended the Morehead session, which the facilitator said was the best turnout in the series. Attendees formed into 12 groups, each working separately on what they thought were challenges facing their communities and then on what were possible opportunities. These were then reported to the entire group and recorded. KFTC member Doug Doerrfeld and staff person Martin Richards attended the session and took the opportunity to inform the federal agencies and attendees about The Appalachian Transition Initiative principles and goals. These included developing measures to geographically target resources to counties most in need of support, promote initiatives that build community, leadership and entrepreneurial capacity, and design ways to ensure the investments reach low-income people and communities. To achieve these goals, several ideas were suggested including improving low-income housing, a green jobs program, expansion of renewable energy options, expansion of a sustainable local food system and investment in environmental remediation and restoration lands. Martin Richards spoke about the work being done in Benham and Lynch for Community Energy. Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency were in attendance and representatives of the coal industry took the opportunity to criticize EPA’s recent increased scrutiny of the indus-

try’s water pollution and new Comprehensive Mountaintop Mining Guidance Document. Doerrfeld spoke thanking EPA for “its long overdue yet very welcome recent actions to protect the people and environment of central Appalachia.” Doerrfeld went on to say that a clean and healthy environment is essential to Kentucky’s future economic development in its mountains.” Also in attendance were a number of

KFTC allies offering important information about their respective work. They were Tom Carew from the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, Rick Clewett with the Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club, Jason Bailey from Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Stacey Epperson of Frontier Housing and Dave Kreher of Peoples’ Self Help Housing. People who were not able to participate in the sessions are encouraged to

share ideas on what the federal government can do to help support economic and community development locally and across Appalachia. Comments will be incorporated into the feedback generated from the listening sessions and will be accepted through April 30. To submit comments go to the I Love Mountains website

Help represent KFTC in meeting with governor: members seek to further transition conversation On May 13, KFTC will have its first meeting with Governor Steve Beshear. KFTC has tried to meet with the governor for the past three years, without a positive response. We are excited to have the opportunity to talk about ending mountaintop removal coal mining, moving beyond coal, and transitioning to a new economy in eastern Kentucky that protects our land, water, and people. Because we have only a half-hour and the governor is willing to meet with only seven KFTC members, we need your help. Help us convey the importance of this issue, the size and scope of the devastation that mountaintop removal coal mining is creating, and how many Kentuckians care about this issue. Please submit to KFTC artwork, photos, essays, letters, poems, personal stories, or any other forms of expression you have. How do you feel about mountaintop removal? What do you think transitioning to clean energy means for future generations? How do you feel about the people and land of eastern Kentucky? Please tell us with your words, pictures, and ideas! All work will be compiled and hand-delivered to Governor Beshear during the meeting. KFTC will also use all of the wonderful submissions in our work year-round to promote a healthy and sustainable future for Kentucky!

Letter to the Governor My name is Makayla Jo Mutter Urias. I am 6 years old. I would like to talk to Governor Beshear because I want to have clean water. I want to have nice mountains that we can ride on. I want the Governor to know how the water makes my hair smell bad. I want the Governor to know that I cannot take a bath because there is orange, yellowish water that is not safe. The water makes spots on the clothes that are orange, yellowish color. I have a dog named Samson and he has to take a bath in the water too. I think it could hurt him because sometimes he accidently drinks it. I think the water is bad because of TECO. We have streams outside and sometimes they are black. They are not as deep. I just want the Governor to make it safe. It is not fair that the Governor has good water and we do not. Here’s how you can submit your work: 1.) Email your submissions to 2.) Mail your submissions to KFTC, 435-R Chestnut St., Suite 2, Berea, KY, 40403

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balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

High Road Initiative Update

The energy discussion that never happened during the legislative session The Kentucky General Assembly let the opportunity for meaningful discussion on clean energy slip away in the 2010 legislative session. Four bills – HB 408, HB 3, HB 562 and HB 567 – were introduced that could have made small but important steps in providing Kentuckians with energy options beyond coal. Three of these bills were introduced into the House Natural Resources Committee; however committee chair Rep. Jim Gooch refused to bring HB 408, supported by KFTC and our allies in the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance (KySEA), and HB 3, sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Rocky Adkins, up for votes. In speaking about HB 562, an expansion of net-metering to include feed-in tariffs sponsored by Rep. Tanya Pullin, Andy MacDonald of the Kentucky Solar Partnership referred to HB 408. At the mention of HB 408, Rep. Gooch told MacDonald “We are not going there!” and immediately closed all testimony. With Gooch’s refusal to consider HB 408, the clean energy bill sponsored by Rep. Harry Moberly, KySEA members concentrated on providing positive testimony for the clean energy provisions in HB 3. Twice members of KySEA prepared to testify for HB 3. The first time, Rep. Gooch failed to bring it up despite putting it on the agenda. The second time, Gooch allowed no other testimony other than the avid testimony of Rep. Adkins. Below are excerpts of the intended testimony that KySEA members were prepared to give supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy in Kentucky. HB 3 Testimony: March 17, 2010 Jason Bailey, Research and Policy Director, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development Kentucky is an energy intensive state. We have the third-highest kilowatt hour used per customer among the states, and our residential sector is 24 percent more energy-intensive than the national average. That means that while our rates for now are still comparatively low, our electricity bills are not. A study by the University of Louisville and the American Council for an

Energy Efficient Economy found that Kentucky had the potential for between $3.7 and $6.8 billion in cost savings from energy efficiency measures over a ten-year period. Governor Beshear’s energy plan released last year rightly listed energy efficiency as strategy #1, and it should be our state’s top priority. Given the huge amount of efficiencies to be gained across the Commonwealth, that is both a smart move and a reasonable expectation. Dave Kreher, Executive Director, People’s Self Help Housing (PSHH) Electric bills in the Fleming Mason Energy service area rose about 10 percent in 2009 and PSHH has seen a rise in homeowners on the verge of losing their mortgage-free homes because of inability to pay utility bills. PSHH recently built two new homes in Lewis County powered by solar panels and containing solar hot water heaters, reducing total unit energy load by 67 percent. Fleming Mason Energy installed net meters on the solar-paneled homes and offered EKPC staff to do the necessary energy auditing for a HERS rating on the homes at no cost to PSHH. The houses are also affordable. Each 1,200-square-foot unit costs $140,000 to build, and with a HUD grant they will be sold to low-income households for just $85,000. By expanding residential EE/RE programs, we can provide jobs and help local families have affordable utility bills – maximizing the benefit for everyone. Mary Love, KFTC, Oldham County Because building codes in Kentucky did not require insulation in homes until some time in the 70s, we are leaking energy out of these homes at an appalling rate. There are many families and individuals in manufactured homes throughout the state who have $500-amonth electric bills in the winter — often more than the cost of their rent or mortgage. Adding help for these folks will probably raise rates. But let’s face it: they’re already going up. And we’re already paying to help folks. Every time we give a charitable donation or provide state funds to help people pay their power bills or have their service reconnected we are in effect paying a tax to

help the poor. My guess is that each of you [legislators] can name right now areas in your district where 100 homes is just a drop in the bucket. Matt Partymiller, Operating Manager, SOLAR ENERGY SOLUTIONS, LLC Solar energy works. On average Kentucky receives 4.5 hours of ideal sun — as much or more than many other states investing heavily in solar like New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, and Ohio. As a new industry, renewable energy needs a driving force in Kentucky. A small solar RPS “carve out,” a temporary solar tax credit, or a feed-in tariff are all good examples of incentives that have spurred the industry elsewhere. Such requirements stimulate investment in the industry, which in turn leads to jobs and manufacturing. These policies and the resulting advantages of solar are already being realized in our neighboring states. Ohio and Tennessee are two examples. The renewable energy industry in Ohio and Tennessee has realized rapid growth. We watched the solar industry in Ohio grow from a few companies statewide to over a dozen companies in

the Cincinnati area alone one year after Ohio began providing grants to the solar and wind industries. Kentucky is being left behind. We are losing jobs to other states. The Commonwealth of Kentucky recently selected an Ohio solar installer to provide installation of two Kentucky-based solar arrays with a cost of $1 million. The choice of this installer was undoubtedly influenced by the benefits of an economy of scale and a history of similarly sized projects. Ohio installers had a real leg up after a year of significant Ohio grants for solar development. This year solar installers in the region are anticipating the release of numerous multi-million-dollar federal solar projects. Without the installed capacity and economies of scale realized by competitors in surrounding states, it is unclear that Kentucky companies will be able to compete for these federal projects. Kentucky will continue to lose out on opportunities for job creation and revenue growth. We will be host to out-of-state installers who install solar in Kentucky and ship wages and profits home. To read the testimonies in their entirety visit Check out the new book by award-winning journalist and cultural historian Jeff Biggers, Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland (Nation/Basic Books). “Jeff Biggers exposes the truth about coal in America—how the myth of “clean coal” destroys even family histories. But Biggers is a long-time warrior in another fight—to stabilize climate and preserve a good life for young people. Let us hope his message about dirty coal is read far and wide.” —James Hansen, NASA Goddard Center, author of Storms of My Grandchildren Watch the book trailer:

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

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Rural Electric Cooperative Update

Celebrating a success: EKPC pulls funding request for Smith One

On April 16, KFTC learned some great news: the East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) has delayed its proposed coal-burning Smith plant! This is a wonderful step forward in the campaign and proof that the hard work of KFTC members and allies is paying off. It’s not the final nail in the plant’s coffin — there is still much work to do — but it could very well be the beginning of the end of this ill-conceived and harmful project. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that EKPC filed a motion before the Public Service Commission (PSC) to withdraw its request for approval to seek more than $900 million in private financing for the Smith plant. In October, KFTC along with the Sierra Club, the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, and co-op (and KFTC) members Wendell Berry, Father John Rausch and Dr. John Patterson petitioned the PSC to revoke EKPC’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Smith plant. Coming out of that action, EKPC was required to ask the commission’s approval to seek private financing now that the federal government will no lon-

ger fund coal-burning power plants. Even before the Public Service Commission had time to decide on the petition, EKPC withdrew its request for financing approval. In its motion to withdraw its request, the co-op stated: “EKPC believes that financial prudency requires that it step back and reassess its immediate needs for this financing.” EKPC said that it intends to refile its application for this approval “pending this reassessment.” While EKPC stated it doesn’t intend to abandon the project, KFTC members hope the co-op takes this time to decide differently. “Sometimes a pause comes as a blessing to reassess what originally appeared as the best plan,” said Father Rausch. “This delay is a ray of sunshine for the cooperative to make a more prudent financial decision. I hope this gift allows EKPC to see the bigger picture, which includes clean drinking water for our children and fewer breathing problems.” This success is not an ending point for this campaign, but a pivot. According to Steve Wilkins. “Now’s the time for them to vigor-

“Woohoo!” KFTC members Steve Wilkins, Rachel Harrod and Mark Konty celebrate the news that EKPC has withdrawn its request to the Public Service Commission seeking private financing for the proposed coal burning Smith plant. Steve, Rachel, and Mark recorded a short celebratory video to share with members, which can be viewed at

ously reassess the extent to which they can direct their money and efforts on their most affordable ‘fuel’ – programs that help people save energy and reduce their power bills.” KFTC will work all the harder to promote the solution of energy efficiency and clean energy programs, now that the campaign has shifted. But members also plan to keep the pressure on in order to stop the Smith plant once and for all. Although EKPC is not seeking financing for the plant for the time being, the pollution permits for the plant are still moving forward.

From “Woohoo” to What You Can Do ... This month, many voices will be needed to speak up for clean drinking water. There has been movement in April on the federal water permit required for the Smith plant. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and the “dredge and fill” permit that EKPC must acquire for the plant are now available for public comment. This permit, officially known as a 404 permit — the same kind of permit required for mountaintop removal mining valley fills — is required for EKPC to impact public waters by building a reservoir and dumping coal ash into nearly seven miles of streams. The Draft SEIS is meant to address the environmental impacts that the dredging and filling allowed by the 404 permit and the Smith plant in general would create. The Corps of Engineers is accepting public comments on the Draft SEIS and the 404 permit until May 24. The Corps will will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on June 8 at the Clark County Extension Service, 1400 Fortune Drive in Winchester. The hearing will include a presentation by the Corps summarizing the proposed project and the findings of the Draft SEIS. The hearing will also provide attendees with an opportunity to submit both oral and written comments. KFTC is encouraging members to attend, and will be working on turnout during the

month of May. Watch for email alerts, or check the KFTC blog, for more information about the public comment period and the public hearing. For those not online needing more information, call Sara Pennington at 606-276-9933.

Update on Smith plant Air Permit The Kentucky Division for Air Quality formally approved the air pollution permit for the Smith plant on April 9, the last day possible before new federal air pollution limits on smog-forming nitrogen compounds took effect, meaning that EKPC’s Smith plant will be allowed to emit higher levels of harmful pollutants than officials now recommend as safe. DAQ officials acknowledged in the permit that they were aware of the deadline for the new rules in their decision-making. In February, nearly 1,000 KFTC members and allies, including health experts, business owners, coalfield residents, students and other Kentuckians whose air and water would be harmed by pollution from the Smith plant, submitted written comments to DAQ asking the agency to deny the permit for the 278-megawatt plant because of the dangers pollution from its smokestacks would have. Many of those folks also attended the public hearing in Winchester, as was reported in the last issue of balancing the scales. The state permit now goes to the U.S. EPA for a 45-day period. The EPA has oversight on the state permitting process. During this time, the agency can choose to bring up concerns to the Kentucky Division for Air Quality about the permit, or it can choose to do nothing, which would mean that at the end of the 45 days the permit would be finalized. KFTC is working to make sure that the EPA takes action on the permit.

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balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Rural Electric Cooperative Update

Looking towards co-op reform, members generate their platform For the past few months, KFTC’s rural electric co-op / Stop Smith campaign strategy committee has worked to develop a series of reforms that KFTC and individual co-op members may seek in the co-ops. This platform comes from conversations with other coops across the nation working on reform and from KFTC members’ own interactions with co-ops in Kentucky. Among many other uses, this platform can be used by members seeking election to their co-op boards or in introducing and working to pass resolutions at the co-op annual meetings. This document will guide KFTC’s work to not only stop the coal-burning Smith plant, but also to bring the rural electric cooperatives served by EKPC back to their full democratic, and truly cooperative, potential. The platform in its entirety follows: KFTC Rural Electric Co-op Reform Platform

enact and to which they must adhere in order to truly serve their members.

In the first half of the twentieth century, Kentucky’s rural electric cooperatives formed to provide an important service to Kentucky residents that other for-profit utilities failed to provide: affordable and reliable power to rural residents. These co-ops were founded on the following seven important cooperative principles: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; members’ economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training, and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.

From each rural electric co-op in Kentucky, we want affordable energy; clean, renewable energy choices; good local jobs; sound financial decisions; respect for landowners; open and fair elections; open meetings; and open records. The details of the reforms we seek in each co-op are as follows: Affordable Energy

dential solar hot water, high efficiency appliance replacements and retrofits, and geothermal heating and cooling. • Upon approval by the Kentucky Public Service Commission, the co-op shall establish or participate in an on-bill financing program, which shall be designed to help households overcome the upfront costs of efficiency and weatherization measures through low-interest loans to members to be paid back in full to the co-op with members’ energy savings. This financing shall remain with the real property upon the sale of property. • The co-op shall prioritize low-income member households when providing residential energy efficiency and weatherization programs.

Clean, Renewable Energy Choices

Whereas Kentucky’s rural electric coops have strayed from the democratic and participatory ideals of their early days, and no longer fully live up to their cooperative principles, we the co-op members set forth the following platform of reforms that the co-ops must

• The co-op shall aggressively invest in and promote a vigorous energy efficiency and weatherization program, aimed at reducing the co-op’s demand for expensive new power generation and to offset the skyrocketing costs to all members from fossil fuel-based power. • The co-op shall provide its members with substantial financing and incentive programs to help and encourage members to participate in efficiency and weatherization programs including resi-

• The co-op shall provide incentives and financing for members to generate power at home by solar photovoltaic, wind, micro-hydroelectric and other forms of low-impact renewable sources. • The co-op shall advocate for a feed-in tariff that will allow members to be paid for the clean energy they generate at home. • The co-ops shall provide their members more energy sources on the

It’s that time of year again. The trees are in bloom, the Bluegrass and the hillsides are starting to green up, and the rural electric co-ops are beginning to plan the annual meetings of their members. And KFTC members are beginning to bring democracy back to their co-ops. From early May to mid-July, the coops hold their annual meetings. During the gathering a business meeting is held at which any co-op member has a vote on any item brought before the membership. The board of directors is often introduced during the meeting and reports are given on the co-op’s finances and operations. As KFTC members reported last year, the gatherings have a county fair quality: live entertainment, face painting,

free giveaways for appliances, even fireworks and skydivers at some. Although it is the reason for the entire event, the business meeting for most of the co-ops has become simply a formality in recent decades. And so, KFTC is encouraging rural electric co-op members to attend their annual meetings and to participate in the business meeting. Some co-op members will introduce resolutions taken from KFTC’s new platform of co-op reforms; some members will attempt to speak about the need for clean energy and energy efficiency during the new business portion of the meeting; and others will attend for the first time and learn more about how their cooperative works.

These meetings also provide ample opportunity for co-op members to speak with the directors on the boards informally and to possibly schedule longer sit-down meetings with them for later in the summer. These gatherings also are great places to talk with other co-op members about KFTC’s work to bring clean energy, economic justice and democracy to the co-ops and to the commonwealth. To learn more about the co-op annual meetings, or to figure out how to participate more in your own meeting, contact KFTC organizer Sara Pennington at 606-276-9933 or Also check the KFTC blog for updates – www.

utility level. In addition to the option of landfill gas generation, members shall have the choice to buy their power from wind and/or low-impact hydroelectric generation. • The co-ops shall prioritize their investments in these clean energy sources rather than contracting to purchase and re-sell energy that is generated in a manner that poses a danger to current and future generations. (continued on next page)

KFTC members gear up for electric co-op annual meetings Rural Electric Co-op Annual Meetings

Inter-County RECC: Clark Energy: Grayson Rural Electric: Big Sandy RECC: Licking Valley RECC: Fleming Mason RECC: Blue Grass Energy: Cumberland Valley RECC: Salt River RECC: South Kentucky RECC: Nolin RECC: Shelby Energy: Jackson Energy: Owen Electric: Farmers RECC: Taylor County RECC:

May 7 May 11 May 13 May 20 May 21 May 27 June 3 June 4 June 7 June 10 June 11 June 24 June 25 June 25 July 8 July 9

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Rural Electric Cooperative Update

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Looking towards co-op reform, members generate their platform (continued from previous page)

Good, Local Jobs • With the energy efficiency and clean energy programs listed above, the co-op’s priority shall be placed on those strategies that best support local employment. • The co-op and any contractors hired by the co-op shall provide a living wage for their employees. Sound Financial Decisions • The co-op shall not spend co-op member equity lobbying, on the national or state level, against climate change legislation, or any other legislation that does not protect future generations. • The co-op shall not spend co-op member equity to lobby against state energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, as these standards will lead all utilities to a more diverse energy portfolio and create local, clean energy jobs. • Each year, the co-op shall return member equity to co-op members in

the form of capital credits, and shall not hoard member equity. • The co-op shall not pay inflated salaries to co-op staff, including highlevel co-op staff, nor provide co-op property to staff for personal use. Respect for Landowners

• The co-op shall respect the landowners through whose property the coop’s distribution lines run. • The co-op shall communicate with landowners before any routine maintenance such as mowing, tree-trimming, or spraying is begun. • The co-op shall respect the wishes of landowners as pertains to herbicide spraying. • The co-op shall take responsibility for communicating with contractors and relaying the landowner’s wishes as pertains to installation and upkeep of distribution lines and other co-op equipment. Open and Fair Elections

• Nomination to the board of direc-

tors ballot, including the nomination of incumbents, shall be by petition only. • The co-op shall require no more than 100 signatures for a candidate to be placed on the ballot. • Candidates shall be allowed a reasonable amount of time to gather petitions. • Voting for any candidate position shall be by postage-paid, mail-in ballot. All proxy voting shall be prohibited. Open Meetings

• Members shall have access to all board meetings, whether they are regular or special meetings, with the exception of executive sessions. • All special meetings of the board or members shall be called with two weeks notice to the membership. • Members shall have the ability to place issues on board and member meeting agendas, until two weeks prior to the date of the meeting. • The co-op shall hold periodic member forums, much like a town hall, in which key staff and board directors

listen and respond to the concerns of members. Open Records • The co-op shall publish on its website the agenda for any upcoming meeting of the board or members no later than one week in advance of the meeting. • Minutes of all meetings, and any supporting materials related to the minutes, shall be posted promptly on the co-op’s website and made available at the co-op’s district offices. • Other co-op records and analyses shall be made easily accessible to all members. • The co-op’s website shall contain, in an easy-to-find location, the following: district maps, contact information for each district director; the date, time and location of monthly board meetings; the most recent annual report of the co-op; publicly available personnel and board compensation (e.g. 990 forms); and a complete copy of the co-op’s bylaws and articles of incorporation.

Downstream organizing

Central Kentucky members inform city council of Smith plant

Central Kentucky KFTC members met with Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilperson Linda Gorton on April 6 to share with her their concerns about how the proposed Smith coalburning power plant in Clark County could have negative impacts on Lexington’s air and water. After briefing Gorton on East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s decision to build a new coal burning power plant in Clark County and what that might mean for Lexington’s air quality and the safety of drinking water, Matt Heil, Jordan Panning, Erika Skaggs and Lauren McGrath expressed how important it was for the LFUCG Council to prioritize community health. Gorton was not familiar with the proposed power plant, and she asked a lot of questions, including what motivated each of the KFTC members to share this information with her. “I had no idea you could put coal ash in the river and that got me really fired up, so I joined KFTC,” responded

Jordan Panning, UK student and KFTC intern. “I can’t imagine having one of these storage ponds so close to where I live and work.” Central Kentucky steering committee alternate Matt Heil told Gorton about how his friend’s father contracted mercury poisoning by eating fish from the Kentucky river. “Who knows how more commonplace that could become if the proposed Smith plant dumps its coal ash into streams that filter back into the Kentucky river,” said Heil. Gorton was receptive and interested in learning more. She told the group she would meet with Lexington’s environmental quality commissioner, Cheryl Taylor, to learn more about how the city might be impacted by the Smith plant. She also advised KFTC members to meet with other council members and educate them about this issue. Central Kentucky members will continue to do just that. They have prioritized a list of council members to see, and are hoping to at least get them to

submit public comments to the Army Corps of Engineers urging them to deny EKPC the 404 water permit they would need to go forward with the plant.

If you live in Lexington and would like to be involved in this work, please contact the central Kentucky organizer at

(Left to right) Central Kentucky chapter members Jordan Panning, Matt Heil, Ondine Quinn, Erika Skaggs, Lauren McGrath, and LFUCG Councilperson Linda Gorton.

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balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Restoration of Voting Rights Update

Voting rights campaign regroups for 2011 General Assembly

When the 2010 General Assembly came to a close, there had still not been any action from the Senate State & Local Government Committee on House Bill 70, KFTC’s bill to restore voting rights to most former felons once they have served their debt to society. Despite passing the House with broad bipartisan support and despite having the votes needed in the Senate (committee and floor), Senate President David Williams and Sen. Damon Thayer (chair of the State & Local Government Committee) prevented the bill from coming to a vote. This is a setback since it will take a constitutional amendment for Voting Rights to become law, and they are placed on the ballot only in even-numbered years. But KFTC members intend to keep pushing for voting rights along four general paths: • Helping people through the existing process – KFTC members will be at a lot

of community festivals this year and doing lots of door-to-door canvasses and other field work. When members run into former felons who have completed their sentence, they can help them through the process to get their voting rights back through a pardon from the governor on an individual basis.

• HB 70 – The primary strategy is still to pass a state constitutional amendment. Members will continue to build support for the legislation, especially in key Sen-

ate districts, and will continue to meet with legislators throughout the year to be ready when the General Assembly re-convenes in January 2011.

• National Legislation – The Democracy Restoration Act had its first hearing earlier this year. It would restore voting rights to people after the end of their jail time, but only for purposes of voting in federal elections. Members intend to talk to Kentucky’s U.S. legislators about this. • Litigation – The NAACP won an important legal victory earlier this year in Washington State, challenging the constitutionality of felony voter disenfranchisement. The same team that won that case is interested in working with KFTC to challenge Kentucky’s law. We’re exploring the possibility.

2010 U.S. Census in full swing

If you haven’t already, take a moment to fill out your 2010 census form and mail it so that the federal government and groups like KFTC can have accurate information as the basis of policy decisions. Census results can impact anything from the size of legislative districts to the location and size of schools, hospitals, roads and other services. As of print deadline, 69 percent of U.S. residents have mailed in their Census forms, and Kentucky is beating that average at a 72 percent return rate so far. There’s a lot of variance in Kentucky right now from county to county, with some response rates as low as 42 percent (Bell County) and others as high as 83 percent (Leslie County). To find out how well your own county is doing, visit If you didn’t get a census form, you can now call to receive one or give your information directly over the phone by calling 1-866-872-6868.

Georgetown KFTC members participated in a voter registration drive in the Boston community in Scott County.

UK KFTC members held voter registration drives throughout the spring semester to register students for the May primary election.

Election Day is Around the Corner Kentucky’s primary election is just around the corner on Tuesday, May 18. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. across the state. KFTC members worked hard to register hundreds of voters prior to the voter registration deadline with strong events in Scott County, Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington, eastern Kentucky, and other areas. Additionally, KFTC will mail a copy of our Voter Guide to all members and people who have signed KFTC petitions (20,000 people in all). This information will also be available online at Finally, members will run extensive phone banks all over the state from May 1- May 18 to contact all of those 20,000 people by phone to make sure they’re all set to vote, know where they’re going, have a ride to the polls, etc. Talk to your local KFTC Organizer to find out when phone banks will be in your community so you can lend a hand. If you have questions about voting, you can contact your local County Clerk or call the State Board of Elections at 502-573-7100.

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

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2010 General Assembly wrap-up

KFTC members reflect on what did and did not happen KFTC members and ally organizations played active and visible roles in this year’s legislative session to promote fair tax reforms, restore voting rights, promote clean energy policies, and end the destruction of Kentucky’s mountains and streams. More KFTC members participated in citizen lobbying efforts in 2010 than ever before. They met with legislators and members of the administration, participated in lobby days and rallies, provided testimony in committee hearings and press conferences and, in some cases, came to witness committee hearings where important bills were being denied public consideration. Yet positive policy outcomes of the 2010 General Assembly were hard to find after legislators headed home after the 60-day session. In fact, state lawmakers left town without considering a number of important bills and without giving final passage to other items, including a new state budget, the only task they are constitutionally bound to complete. Some of the most common words used to describe the session by KFTC members who participated in Frankfort or from their homes included “disappointing” and “troubling.” Even so, many who lobbied still found reason for optimism. “It was empowering to know that, as a citizen, we truly do have a voice,” said Sean Bailey, a KFTC member from Louisville. “Lobbying gives those of us that vote, and those that are unable to vote, a chance to meet with the lawmakers that we put into office.” “The interests of coal still hold too much sway in the legislature,” pointed out Tona Barkley, a KFTC member also active in the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance (KySEA). “Still, if it were not for KFTC, KySEA and other organizations representing the long-term interests of citizens, who would represent them? This work is very important, and having the KFTC staff to help us learn how to do the work is very empowering.” Perry County KFTC member Truman Hurt observed, “I found that many legislators seemed to be somewhat embarrassed by the same things that were bothering me about the makeup of the House Natural Resources Committee and its chairman. It was uplifting to know that they understand that the stranglehold the coal industry has on our democracy is not right. But, of course, there were others who said, ‘That’s just the way all committees are.’ I really thought we had a better form of government than that.” Highlights of KFTC’s work in the 2010 legislative session included: • KFTC members hosted a deliciously stocked “budget bake-sale” in the capitol, an event that attracted media attention and earned $168.05 for the state treasury. This proved to be an effective way to illustrate the lack of leadership from the governor and legislators to address Kentucky’s budget crisis. KFTC members followed up the action with additional budget bake sales in Morehead, Berea, and northern Kentucky. • 850 KFTC members and allies braved frigid weather on I Love Mountains Day to march and rally at the

Capitol for an end to destructive mining practices. The event featured a profound speech by Kathy Mattea, plus powerful statements from KFTC members Nina and Mickey McCoy, Jason Howard, Miranda Brown and Cari Moore, K.A. Owens and Teri Blanton. Spirits were lifted by musical performances from Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore, and a Louisville group called Ben, Nora and Eli. Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, Rep. Jim Wayne, Rep. Members rally to restore voting rights to former felons. Tom Riner, and Senator As always, KFTC’s efforts were greatly strengthKathy Stein – four sponsors of the Stream Saver bills, ened by allies and coalition partners. Turnout for spoke at the event. major lobby days and rallies was given a boost by the dedicated work of groups like the Kentucky Student • 300 KFTC members and allies participated in a Environmental Coalition (KSEC), Cumberland Chapter lobby day and rally in support of House Bill 70, a of the Sierra Club, Kentucky Mountain Justice, Fairness proposed constitutional amendment to restore voting Campaign, ACLU of Kentucky, Kentucky Jobs with rights. It was a productive day as members met with Justice, People Advocating Recovery, Making Connecmore than 20 of the 38 senators and confirmed that the tions, NAACP, Kentucky League of Women Voters and bill has support from more than 60 percent of the memmany other terrific organizations, churches and school bers in that chamber. A large group of constituents met groups. The clean energy policy supported by KFTC with Senator Damon Thayer, the chair of a key commitwas drafted by the Kentucky Resources Council with tee, who has refused to allow a vote on the bill. The day additional expertise from the Mountain Association for was capped off by a terrific rally featuring Tayna Fogle, Community Economic Development, Kentucky Solar Mike Berry, Carl Shoupe, Charlie House, Jerry Moody, Partnership, Frontier Housing, Metropolitan Housing Gail Ray, Maria Houghton, Janssen Willhoit and Rep. Coalition, and many other allies. Jesse Crenshaw, the primary sponsor of HB 70. On tax and budget issues, KFTC partnered with the 874 K Coalition (a statewide coalition advocating for • Four KFTC members testified before three legislathe needs of the 874,000 Kentuckians with disabilities), tive committees on a variety of issues and bills. Doug the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, the Kentucky Doerrfeld spoke before the House Natural Resources Education Association and the Association of Federal, Committee in opposition to HB 491, a bill to allow the State, County and Municipal Employees. state to seize private lands for the disposal and trans The experience of working in Frankfort gave some portation of carbon dioxide wastes. Janssen Willhoit members a new perspective about the kind of grasstestified before the House Elections and Constitutional roots political power that is needed to make change for Amendments Committee in support of HB 70. Floyd the better in Kentucky. County member Beverly May testified, along with West “I truly believe that KFTC’s new initiative, The Virginia researcher Dr. Michael Hendrix and KFTC New Power Leaders program, is going to help KFTC researcher Nancy Reinhart, about the health impacts of have an even stronger voice in Frankfort over the next coal before the House Health and Welfare Committee. several years,” said George Eklund of Louisville. “By Randy Wilson, a member from Clay County, also spoke working together and building a strong network of before the House Natural Resources Committee about members, advocates and citizens, we will be able to crea bill to encourage the planting of pollen-producing ate an even more substantial and unyielding presence species on strip-mined sites. Several other individuals, throughout our state and country.” including Mary Love and Tona Barkley, made several Below is an overview of progress made on some trips to Frankfort in hopes of testifying on proposed enof KFTC’s priority issues during the 2010 session. A ergy legislation, but no public testimony was allowed. chart on page XX contains information about other bills KFTC endorsed or opposed. • More than 20 KFTC youth, ages 6 to 25, met with five representatives of the Beshear administration on Restoration of Voting Rights for Former Felons (HB I Love Mountains Day to urge an end to mountaintop 70): For the fourth year in a row, HB 70 easily passed removal mining and support for clean energy policies. the House with overwhelming support (83-16) from a Among other outcomes, the youth delegation secured a majority of Republicans and Democrats, only to stall commitment for a meeting with the governor that will take place later this spring. (continued on next page)

Page 22 (continued from previous page) in the Senate. KFTC and Voting Rights Coalition partners believe that the bill would have received support from more than 60 percent of the Senate, if it had been allowed a vote. Unfortunately, Senator Damon Thayer, chair of the Senate State and Local Government Committee, steadfastly refused to give it a hearing, killing the bill. As Thayer explained to several groups of constituents, he is unmoved by arguments that HB 70 is needed to strengthen our democracy, since our system of government isn’t a democracy but rather a republic. About 20 bill supporters attended the last hearing of Thayer’s committee to shine a light on the fact that one man’s refusal to hear the bill is effectively blocking 186,000 Kentuckians from being allowed to vote. Clean Energy (HB 408): Progress was made in building support for clean energy policies designed to create jobs and help all Kentuckians, especially lowincome households, save money and energy. However, despite efforts by a broad alliance of organizations, Rep. Jim Gooch did not give HB 408 a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee (after House leaders assigned it there rather than the more appropriate energy committee). In fact, Rep. Gooch didn’t even call for a vote on a weaker energy bill, HB 3, supported by the Beshear administration and sponsored by Rep. Rocky Adkins. As a result, Kentucky continues to fall further behind other states in the transition to clean, affordable and job-creating energy solutions. KFTC members met with many legislators throughout the session to promote ideas about clean energy policy and offer ways to strengthen the energy bill offered by Rep. Adkins. One of the main concerns about that legislation was the fact that it did not contain any provisions

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010 to help lower income households afford to weatherize their homes or rental units. It also would have exempted rural electric co-operatives from requirements to get an increasing share of their electricity from energy efficiency and renewable energy. KFTC will continue to educate lawmakers about the benefits of policies that help that all Kentuckians, especially low-income residents, save money and energy. Mountaintop Removal and Valley Fills (SB 139, HB 396 and HB 416): The Stream Saver bills also languished without hearings in the respective Natural Resources committees of the House and Senate. This year, however, a number of citizens spoke out openly in Rep. Gooch’s committee hearings, asking for fair consideration of the bill and the issue of mountaintop removal. Martin Mudd was twice ejected from the committee room for politely asking for the bill to be heard. Yet, as Teri Blanton explained, “We know that our help on this issue isn’t coming from Frankfort, it is coming from Washington D.C. It’s important for all of us to keep the pressure on our legislators and hold them accountable. But most of our efforts are focused right now on Congress and the Obama administration, and rightfully so.” Tax Reform (HB 13): As has been widely publicized, the legislature failed to reach a budget agreement before the session ended in mid-April. The difficult challenge of addressing a $1.5 billion revenue deficit was worsened by the lack of leadership provided by the governor or leaders of either chamber about responsible and fair ways to raise new revenue. The tax reform proposal offered by Rep. Jim Wayne and supported by KFTC did not advance. Instead, elected officials attempted to balance the budget with a variety of budget tricks, federal grants that have not been approved, bor-

KFTC member Mary Love visually expressed her feelings about Rep. Gooch, chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, who refused to allow testimony on key bills.

Other Bills We Supported or Endorsed House Bill 335 and House Bill 336 — economic development bills that would have required more legislative oversight of economic development programs, and automatic review and sunsetting of tax breaks. Neither bill made it out of the House Appropriations & Revenue Committee. House Bill 127 — expunge criminal records under certain circumstances; never heard in the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 381 — to cap interest rates on pay day loans; was not allowed a hearing by Rep. Jeff Greer in the House Banking & Insurance Committee. House Bill 562 — feed-in tariffs and net metering; passed the House 98-0; died in the Senate Judiciary Committee. House Bill 567 — utility-based low-income energy efficiency programs; no hearing in the House Tourism Development & Energy Committee. House Bill 598 — a simple Notice of Intent for logging operations; did not receive a hearing in the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee.

Other Bills We Opposed Senate Bill 26 — open the door to nuclear power plants; approved by the Senate 27-10; never brought up in the House. House Resolution 132 — encourage Congress to stop EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions; passed House 76-16. House Joint Resolution 20 — prevent enforcement of anti-pollution laws; did not get a hearing in the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee. House Concurrent Resolution 84 — form a Natural Resources Caucus; passed the House 99-0 but got stuck in the Senate Rules Committee. House Bill 588 — tax incentives for carbon capture and storage projects; was approved by the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee and went to the House floor on March 22 but no vote was ever taken. House Bill 589 — define natural gas-derived liquid fuels as “alternative transportation fuels”; passed House and Senate unanimously and signed into law by the governor. House Bill 312 — allow horseback riding on foot trails in state parks; did not move out of the House Tourism Development & Energy Committee.

OTHER Senate Bill 105 — Livestock Care Standards; we opposed initially but after changes satisfactory to the Community Farm Alliance were made in the House we had no position. However, the Senate did not concur with House changes; a conference committee was appointed but no compromise bill was reported out. House Joint Resolution 122 would have required the LRC to study and report on the effectiveness of Kentucky’s economic development incentive programs. It passed unanimously through the House and was approved by the Senate Eco-

rowing and painful cuts to education, environmental enforcement, long-term planning, and other important functions of government. The House did propose a few temporary adjustments to the tax code designed to raise some revenue during the next two years, but those were rejected by the Senate, which opted for deeper cuts. In the end, no budget agreement was reached, setting the stage for a costly special session in May. Carbon Sequestration (HB 491 and HB 213): Two significant carbon sequestration bills were opposed by KFTC and failed to become law this session. HB 213, sponsored by Rep. Rocky Adkins, would have allowed corporations to use

the power of eminent domain to seize private lands to build a privately owned pipeline for transporting carbon dioxide waste. It also would have subsidized the construction of those pipelines with public tax dollars. The bill passed the House 95-1. The Senate also passed the bill, but attached a provision ending Kentucky’s long-standing ban on nuclear power generation. The bill died when House leaders opted not to consider the nuclear provision. HB 491 was a separate bill sponsored by Rep. Brent Yonts giving the state ownership of deep underground rock strata to use to sequester carbon waste deep underground. It died without a vote after testimony was taken in the Natural Resources Committee.

balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Page 23

Grassroots Fundraising Update

Membership recruitment made easy: host a film screening Why do this? Film is a great way to tell a story. Screenings are fun to attend and they are a great way to engage people about things that KFTC members are working on. Imagine if you don’t know much about an issue or you know enough to want to get involved. Attending a screening of a film at a friend’s house is the perfect way to take the next step. KFTC believes in this as a tool to organize so much that the staff will help you in any way possible. To get you started, KFTC has a library of recommended films pertaining to issues KFTC works on. All you need to do is borrow a film, pick a date, invite 20 people to come to your house, watch the film and invite them to become a member of KFTC or donate. Haven’t you wanted to try that delicious nutty caramel popcorn recipe, anyway? Step 1: Think about what area of KFTC’s work you are most interested in: Voter Empowerment, Canary (mountaintop removal, Appalachian Transition, energy conservation), Stop Smith Campaign, Economic Justice, etc. Step 2: Contact your nearest chapter or our main office to check out a film and get other supplies. Step 3: Pick a date and invite some friends over. Step 4: Host the party. Step 5: Send donations to our KFTC main office so folks attending can get more information about KFTC and how they can plug in.

Recruit One New Member and Help KFTC Grow To Be 25,000 Strong! I want to help KFTC build power! Name:

Last Gift Date Printed On Front Cover! NEW! We’ve heard from a lot of members that they would love to stay current in their membership dues, but they just don’t know when their renewal date is. We hear you, so this month is the first month we are printing your last gift date with your mailing label*. We ask members to give at least one time a year at whatever level feels right for their budget. If your last gift is more than a year ago, please consider renewing your dues today. Members of KFTC have different capacities to engage in the work, some are able to join us in Frankfort, at chapter meetings, or attend local events. Even if you aren’t able to participate actively, everyone can keep our movement strong and vibrant by keeping their membership current. If your dues are due, please consider renewing. Renew by mail: You can renew by sending a contribution and the form below to our main office in London, KY. (PO Box 1450. London, KY 40743. Renew by phone: If the phone is the best way for you to renew your dues, call Morgan in our London office and she can take a credit card right over the phone. 606-878-2161 Renew online: It’s easy to make a donation online by check or with a credit card. Just go to and follow the prompts on your screen.

Become a pledger? When you renew your dues, consider becoming a pledger. Your regular contribution to KFTC supports the work all year long and when it’s automatic, you can always know that your dues are current. * Let us know if the last gift date looks wrong, databases can be imperfect things. Keep in mind that it takes about two weeks for the paper to be printed and on your doorstep. If you’ve made a donation in that time, it won’t make it on the label.

Address: City, State Zip: Phone: Email: I wish to make my donation to the following organization (check one): ____ KFTC (not tax-deductible) ____ Kentucky Coalition (tax-deductible)

Suggested membership dues are $15-$50 annually. ____ One-time Gift: Amount $_____________ ____ Pledger: I will contribute $___ every (check one): __ Month __ 6 Months __Quarterly __Annually Authorized Signature: ___________________________ Date: _____________ Circle one: Mastercard Visa American Express Discover Card # __ __ __ __ - __ __ __ __ - __ __ __ __ - __ __ __ __ Expiration date: ___ ___ / ___ ___

Bank Withdrawal/Credit Card Payment Authorization: I authorize KFTC/KY Coalition & Vanco Services, LLS to debit my account or charge my credit card in accordance with the information provided. I understand that this authority will remain in effect until cancelled or changed by reasonable notification to KFTC/KY Coalition. Who asked you to join KFTC?

Cardholder’s name (as it appears on the card): _____________________________ Date: ____________ For bank drafts, return this form with a voided check from the account you wish to have the withdrawal made. For checks, please make payable to KFTC or the Kentucky Coalition and mail to: KFTC • P.O. Box 1450 • London, Ky. 40743.

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balancing the scales, April 27, 2010

Calendar of Events

Dear Companion is a collaboration between three Kentucky musicians; the songs were written and performed by Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore, produced by and featuring Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk. Recorded in the first half of 2009 in their home state, Dear Companion explores their ties to the place they love and aims to draw attention to the problem of Mountaintop Removal coal mining and its impact on the people and heritage of central Appalachia. A portion of the proceeds from Dear Companion will benefit KFTC ally, Appalachian Voices (

May 6

Scott County KFTC meeting, 7 p.m., St. John Church, 604 Main St., Georgetown, KY.

May 6

Harlan County chapter meeting, 6 p.m. at Southeast Community College Appalachian Center, Cumberland.

May 10

Jefferson County chapter meeting, 6:30 p.m. at the KFTC office in Louisville (901 Franklin Street).

May 10

Floyd County chapter meeting, 7 p.m. at St. Martha Catholic Church near Prestonsburg.

May 15

Madison County Friendraiser, Music, Potluck, Silent Auction, Fun! Homegrown Hideaways, For more information contact

May 18

Northern Kentucky KFTC meeting, 7 p.m., Florence City Building, 8100 Ewing Blvd., Florence KY.

May 18

Election Day! Get Out And Vote!

May 20

Central Kentucky chapter meeting, 7 p.m. at the Episcopal Diocese Mission House (on the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and 4th Street) in Lexington.

May 20

Rowan County chapter meeting, 6 p.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church on 5th Street in Morehead.

May 21

Louisville Loves Mountains Festival, Longest Ave. and Bardstown Rd., 4 -10 p.m., Music, food, beer, fun, KFTC! Contact for more information.

May 22

KFTC Steering Committee meeting, Contact for more details.

May 24

Madison County chapter meeting, 7 p.m. at Child Development Lab on Jefferson St., Berea.

May 25

Bowling Green chapter meeting, 6:30 p.m. at Kaleidoscope Office on Durbin Street.

June 3

Harlan County chapter meeting, 6 p.m. at Southeast Community College Appalachian Center, Cumberland.

June 14

Jefferson County chapter meeting, 6:30 p.m. at the KFTC office in Louisville (901 Franklin Street).

June 14

Floyd County chapter meeting, 7 p.m. at St. Martha Catholic Church near Prestonsburg.

June 17

Central Kentucky chapter meeting, 7 p.m. at the Episcopal Diocese Mission House (on the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and 4th Street) in Lexington.

June 17

Rowan County chapter meeting, 6 p.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church on 5th Street in Morehead.

June 22-26 U.S. Social Forum, Detroit MI. For more information contact

balancing the scales - April 2010  

The April 2010 issue of balancing the scales, the newsletter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth