Originally published in December 2014.

Members of Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC), To Nizhoni Ani, and REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands take part in the Power Without Pollution, Energy Without Injustice action in Scottsdale, AZ (June 2013).

When the Navajo Nation’s first Tribal Council began signing deals with large energy corporations in the 1920s, the promise was that uranium, oil, gas and coal leases would bring in millions in royalty revenues and create thousands of jobs for the community.

Today, nine decades later, the Navajo people of the Black Mesa region are still living with those broken promises every day. The unemployment rate in the Navajo Nation hovers around 54%, and the population’s median income is just $7,500/year.

Most Navajo households live without power, even as utility lines run right over their…

Originally published in December 2014.

No one can deny it anymore: the coal industry in Appalachia is in sharp decline. And unlike historical booms and busts in the industry, this time the downturn appears to be permanent.

Reasons include resource exhaustion, competition from natural gas, and the impacts of tightening environmental and health regulations. One thing is certain: the collapse of the coal industry is worsening hardships in a region with some of the deepest pockets of poverty and distress.

As coal production leaves Appalachia, so too do the jobs that have for decades been the backbone of the region’s…

Originally published in December 2014.

What does the collapse of the coal industry mean for Kentucky? What if it meant a strong local economy, more and better jobs, healthy communities, safe and affordable energy, opportunities for youth, and a vibrant democracy?

That is the vision of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC), an organization of 8,300 members across the state working to build a better future for Kentucky’s new economy post-coal.

Coal Jobs are Leaving

Economic transition in Kentucky is inevitable, and imminent; coal jobs are leaving the region at an astounding rate, especially in Eastern Kentucky, where 75% have vanished…

Originally published in March 2015.

When the workers at Republic Windows and Doors were fired without notice and asked to walk away from their jobs without back pay, severance, or benefits, they said — No.

“They gave us like an hour, more or less,” explains Rocio Perez, a former worker at Republic’s Chicago plant. “They came and said, ‘okay, you have your papers, now go.’ That’s when we said, no, we’re not leaving, this is where we’re staying.”

In the climate of the 2008 recession, the 200 workers occupying their factory to fight for the wages owed to them…

A Seat at the Table conversations took place all over Kentucky. (Credit: Austin Anthony, Bowling Green Daily News)

Just imagine: your state is highly dependent on coal, a natural resource whose days seem numbered. Meanwhile, with the announcement of the Clean Power Plan, there is an exciting opportunity for your community to engage in a just transition to a cleaner, greener economy, and the state’s engagement in the planning process could have a positive impact for displaced coal workers and vulnerable ratepayers. But state leadership isn’t willing to move toward a brighter energy future. What do you do?

That’s the question that Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC), a 34-year-old, 10,000-member strong organization that works for a fair economy…

Chorus Foundation

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