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Mtn. News: The Changing Energy Landscape in eKY

Mtn. News: The Changing Energy Landscape in eKY

 

As the economic landscape of the coalfields changes, so does the energy landscape in eastern Kentucky.  In this episode we’re exploring a couple new energy savings projects in our listening area, as well as the current state of organizing around the RECLAIM Act: proposed federal legislation that would more rapidly release funding from the $2.5 billion Abandoned Mine Lands Trust Fund for regional reclamation and redevelopment projects.

First, officials in Benham, Kentucky recently received an anonymous donation for their energy efficiency program, Benham Saves. WMMT’s Sydney Boles visited the program’s kickoff event at the Benham Theater on June 21st, 2019.

 

Gwen Johnson giving a speech at the Hemphill Community Center’s celebration of the Black Sheep Bakery’s 1st Birthday & the ribbon cutting for their new solar panels. The celebration took place on the summer solstice so they baked bread to look like the sun! Hemphill, KY. June 21, 2019. Photo by Mimi Pickering.

 

Then: the Hemphill Community Center makes its home in an old school building in a coal camp in Letcher County, KY.  Countless tons of coal have passed out of the town over the decades, but now, the community center – which is also home to the Black Sheep Bakery –  is transitioning to a solar powered operation! WMMT’s Mimi Pickering recorded the Black Sheep Bakery’s 1st Birthday Party & Solar Ribbon Cutting event on June 21st, 2019.

 

Mabel Johnson & employees of Black Sheep Brick Oven in Hemphill, KY cut the ribbon to celebrate their brand new solar panels on the roof of this former school in a coal-camp in Letcher County. June 21, 2019. Photo by Mimi Pickering.

And finally: most folks living in Central Appalachia would agree that we need to create a new economy to counter the coal industry’s decline. But the question becomes how? In the next piece Mimi Pickering delves into history and new developments of the RECLAIM Act– proposed federal legislation that would more rapidly release funding from the 2.5 billion dollar Abandoned Mine Lands Trust Fund for regional reclamation & redevelopment projects.  She talks with Eric Dixon from Appalachian Citizens Law Center in Whitesburg, KY and Adam Wells from Appalachian Voices New Economy Program in Norton VA.

 Music on this episode features Anna & Elizabeth with “Sun to Sun” from Appalshop’s own June Appal Recordings.  That song is part of the album The Very Day I’m Gone: Songs of Addie Graham.

 

 

 

Tags:
Appalachia,
appalachian history,
Black Sheep Bakery,
business,
coal,
community,
economic transition,
economy,
energy & environment,
energy efficiency,
food,
Hemphill Community Center,
solar,

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