Appalachian Voices and the Alliance for Appalachia have opened a legislative headquarters in Washington D.C. to better serve Appalachia’s growing corps of citizen lobbyists and accommodate our growing work there. Located on the corner of 8th and D Street NE on Capitol Hill, the office is a 10-minute walk from the US Capitol, and set up with internet, color printing, and refrigeration capabilities. AV and the Alliance are currently seeking donated items such as shelves, desks, and original artwork or literature to outfit our new D.C. home. Call the D.C. office at (202) 669-3670 for more information, or stop on by!
After citizens took the month of August to have in-district lobby meetings during the Congressional recess, legislators and citizen lobbyists from the Appalachian coalfields returned to Capitol Hill in September to continue the fight to end mountaintop removal coal mining. It was an exciting month for the federal legislative push to stop mountaintop removal. The Clean Water Protection Act (H.R. 1310) picked up a few more cosponsors, including Mel Watt of North Carolina. The tally now stands at 156 co-sponsors.
Appalachian Voices and other member groups of the Alliance for Appalachia hosted a large lobby week with dozens of coalfield residents and other attendees from as far away as Los Angeles, CA. Needless to say, the event was an enormous success. Participants met with key legislators including Senator Kay Hagan and Congressman John Yarmuth, while meeting with the legislative staff of dozens of critical members of the United States House and Senate.
In a historic meeting, citizens from all four mountaintop removal states got together with all the agencies responsible for regulating mountaintop removal in the same room. This meeting at the White House complex included staff from President Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement.
Sandra Diaz, the National Field Coordinator for our mountaintop removal campaign, has been promoted to Director of Development and Communications, where she will now be working on our communications strategy to our funders and members alike. Stephanie Pistello, who was working on contract with our legislative team, will be stepping into a permanent position as the National Field Coordinator, where she will work with our national network of activists working to end mountaintop removal coal mining. Congratulations to both Sandra and Stephanie!