Appalachian Voices' Senior Legislative Representative, Thom spends his days in Washington, D.C., knee-deep in politics and legislation, working to persuade decision makers to protect Appalachia from mountaintop removal coal mining. He is the least outdoorsy person at Appalachian Voices, and he’s just fine with that.
Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 | Posted by Thom Kay | 1 Comment
The White House released its budget blueprint last week, and the proposal is nothing short of a disaster for Appalachia and rural communities across the country. Here's a look at a few agencies and programs the White House wants to completely eliminate if it had its way. [ More ]
Friday, March 10th, 2017 | Posted by Thom Kay | 7 Comments
In a matter of weeks, health care benefits for thousands of retired union coal miners will run out. In just a matter of years, the entire United Mine Workers pension plan, which covers nearly 90,000 former coal miners and their widows, may become insolvent. [ More ]
Thursday, December 8th, 2016 | Posted by Thom Kay | 2 Comments
America owes a debt to the nation’s coal miners. The Miners Protection Act would begin to pay that debt, but the opportunity for Congress to pass the bill is quickly slipping away. [ More ]
Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 | Posted by Thom Kay | 1 Comment
In February, a bill was introduced in Congress that would expedite funding to clean up old coal mining sites and redevelop them specifically to foster economic growth. The RECLAIM Act is now in committee and the language is expected to change a bit in the coming weeks. As Congress considers those changes, lawmakers should look to communities impacted by the coal industry, in Appalachia and across the country, whose perspective is vital to the bill's success.
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Friday, December 18th, 2015 | Posted by Thom Kay | 1 Comment
Today the U.S. Congress passed a spending bill that covers expenditures for agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, Department of Labor, and the Appalachian Regional Commission. The spending bill is a big deal for Appalachian Voices and our work. And honestly, it looks pretty darn good.
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Thursday, June 4th, 2015 | Posted by Thom Kay | 1 Comment
It’s rare that Appalachians have their voices heard in Congress. But twice in the past month, residents have had the opportunity to testify about mountaintop removal mining at two different U.S. House hearings. The lesson we learned? Congress does not want to help end mountaintop removal and they’d prefer not to hear about it.
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Monday, April 6th, 2015 | Posted by Thom Kay | 3 Comments
Alex Mooney is newly elected to Congress, from West Virginia's 2nd district. His first bill is a doozie - it would stop a stream protection rule he’s never seen, have drastically different impacts than he thinks, and be written and enforced by an agency whose purpose he doesn’t understand. [ More ]
Thursday, January 15th, 2015 | Posted by Thom Kay | 5 Comments
It was only a matter of time before the new Congress would commence with its anti-environmental, anti-science agenda. But 24 hours? That we weren't expecting. [ More ]
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments
After six years of the Obama presidency, mountaintop removal coal mining continues to put Appalachian communities at risk, leading many to wonder what his legacy on the issue will be. The Alliance for Appalachia just released a Grassroots Progress Report examining the administration’s successes and shortfalls in dealing with mountaintop removal. [ More ]
Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 3 Comments
For the next couple of days, you’ll have a hard time looking at anything online or on TV that doesn’t try to break down the midterm elections. Most pundits will analyze what happened, and some will try to tell you what it all means. Whatever that is, the job before us has not changed, and our responsibilities to Appalachia are the same today as they were yesterday and will be tomorrow.
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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 5 Comments
The Washington Post published a strongly worded editorial condemning mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia that cites recent studies revealing the practice's dirty consequences. With the mounting scientific evidence that mining pollution is decimating aquatic life, wiping out trees and mountains, and promoting a host of human health problems, there is no excuse to continue allowing mountaintop removal. [ More ]
Friday, October 17th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 8 Comments
The body of research linking mountaintop removal mining to lung cancer just got a whole lot stronger. Using dust samples collected in communities near mountaintop removal mines, a new study conducted by West Virginia University researchers found a direct link between air pollution and tumor growth. [ More ]