Citizens coal council in 2015 and beyond
Citizens Coal Council has achieved some amazing things in 2015, and we have even bigger plans for 2016. That's why we need your help!
You are empowering people to create change
The Citizens Coal Council (CCC) has provided an opportunity for me from far southwest Virginia to participate in experiences that would not otherwise have come my way. Many of us who live in the coalfields, amidst the ongoing and bankrupt operations, don't always have the opportunity to bring our voices to the conversation. CCC is unique in that it chooses to provide opportunities for as many as possible; it tries to be very inclusive; I have always felt welcome.
Real feedback on the "Ask the Director" Meeting
The meeting offered a glimpse into where the agency's thought processes and priorities were, which was really helpful.
Access to OSMRE personnel was very helpful.
Citizens Coal Council has helped me along with hundreds of other advocates in our cause to reduce or prevent coal damage in communities. As a member of Citizens Against Longwall Mining, I have gained insight into the application of state and federal mining laws through CCC. This agency provides an extensive source of coal information about coal legislation and happenings on a national scale. Without CCC connecting advocates with each other and with regulatory and stakeholder agencies, our awareness and understanding of coal problems that exist across the U S and internationally would be an even greater struggle. CCC has arranged meetings with OSMRE that allowed me along with other citizens in coalfield states to present our concerns and work more effectively toward solutions. The complex proposed changes to SMCRA were analyzed by CCC and distributed to citizens and grassroots organizations. Its comments on the Stream Protection Rules informed stakeholders of legislative loopholes and failures in enforcement that greatly helped stakeholders and their advocates to focus on potential remedies. If I had to describe the primary impact of CCC, it is its ability to inform, unite, and support those people who are subjected to coal impacts; CCC gives a voice to coalfield communities. It is appreciated and desperately needed.
-Mary Ellen DeClue
the 'ask the director' meeting
Citizens in coal-impacted communities have rarely had the opportunity to sit face-to-face with the federal regulators that are responsible for ensuring that mining laws are enforced. In 2015, Citizens Coal Council worked directly with the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to organize the first-ever "Ask the Director" meeting, in which citizens and groups from across the country could ask their regulators questions, express their concerns, and comment on the effectiveness of the regulatory programs in their state or region.
In conjunction with the meeting with the OSMRE Director in Washington, DC, simultaneous teleconference meetings were held at several locations across the country, and others were able to call in to listen or ask questions.
With generous assistance through donations, CCC was able to provide both travel and lodging support to participants that may not have otherwise been able to attend. Your support of CCC has also helped cover expenses incurred in organizing this important meeting.
The stream protection Rule
The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is mandated under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) to perform oversight and enforcement of the state agencies that oversee coal mining,
On July 27, 2015 the OSMRE issued a proposed Stream Protection Rule (SPR) that represented the first major changes to SMCRA in decades. The SPR was developed to address more than thirty-eight years of weakened regulations and inadequate enforcement that has destroyed thousands of miles of streams and harmed the lives of countless citizens in the coal fields who live above longwall mines and near and downstream from surface mines.
With your help, CCC was able to engage impacted citizens and groups across the country by organizing strategic conference calls and coordinating citizen comments to the OSMRE in support of the SPR. CCC’s expert consultant drafted extensive talking points and comments that citizens were able to utilize, if needed.
Our work on the SPR will continue in 2016 as we work with citizens to fight off the attacks by Congress and the coal industry to weaken or abolish the Rule before the next Administration.
In addition to continuing our current projects, we have BIG plans for 2016. We will be expanding our efforts to help even more coalfield citizens, but we need your help! Please donate today!