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.
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.
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.