Eastern Kentucky contains some of our wildest natural places. Located in the central Appalachia, this region is beautiful and scenic, with unique geological features. Eastern Kentucky also faces many challenges: for years, eastern Kentucky counties have ranked among the poorest, with low per capita income and poor infrastructure. In addition, this region has faced numerous environmental and public health crises from traditional coal mining, mountaintop removal coal mining, and related water pollution from the industry. Widespread poverty, the opioid epidemic, structural racism, underfunded schools, and few job opportunities compound the ecological issues.
This historically underserved region of our commonwealth deserves more than an endless cycle of extraction perpetuated by fossil fuel corporations. It is time that we hold those corporations accountable.
As of April 2023, there are 299 Sierra Club members in the region. By coming together and organizing, we will build on the long-standing resilience of these communities. The Kentucky Chapter is primed and ready to lend our resources and power to help Eastern Kentucky communities organize and act.
When we organize we can break the cycle of climate consequences affecting the people of Eastern Kentucky. Last year’s catastrophic flooding brought the country’s attention to the deep costs of corporate greed. We must work together to reclaim mountaintop removal sites from arid wastelands to the beautiful wild spaces that eliminate erosion and flooding.
Right now, extractive industries are targeting these toxic mining sites for further injustice and exploitation: a $510 million dollar mega-prison, the most expensive federal prison to date. We must work together to ensure we reclaim this land for the people who live in Kentucky, not out-of-state profits.