<< Back to Internship opportunities | Apply

Coal Impacts Campaign Assistant

Coal mining and associated activities pose serious threats to workers, communities, and the environment in Appalachia. Appalachian Voices address these threats through a combination of community organizing, environmental monitoring, investigative research, grassroots regulatory oversight, civil litigation, policy advocacy, and media strategies.

In recent years, our team has played an important role in passing legislation to fund abandoned coal mine clean up, and to permanently extend a tax on coal companies in order to pay for healthcare for miners with black lung disease. Through public records research and on-the-ground environmental monitoring, we have documented violations by mining companies of the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, enabling us to file lawsuits and win favorable settlements achieving both corporate accountability and tangible environmental benefits.

This position can be remote or based out of our Norton, VA office. We are especially interested in applicants who are from and/ or living in the coalfield regions of Southern West Virginia, Southwestern Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and Eastern Tennessee.

Over the summer of 2023, Appalachian Voices’ Coal Impacts Team projects will include:

  • Water and air quality monitoring in coal mine-impacted areas of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee
  • Community organizing and grassroots lobbying in support of stronger health and safety regulations for coal miners at risk of developing black lung disease, and in support of new measures to ensure environmental cleanup of coal mines
  • Research and analysis regarding the environmental and economic impacts of active and idled coal mines
  • Developing evidence of regulatory infractions by mining companies for potential administrative complaints, lawsuits or media strategies

For the right applicants, we try to be flexible not only with regards to the assistant’s location, but also with regards to the nature of the work itself. If you are drawn to some but not all of the tasks listed below, that is ok. Just let us know. If you are from a mine-impacted area and wish to better understand and address a particular issue in your community, we are interested in hearing your ideas.

Assistant activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Compiling and reviewing coal mine permitting and environmental compliance records
  • Conducting water quality monitoring in mine-impacted waterways

  • Installing and/ or servicing stationary air quality monitors in communities impacted by coal mining and other industries
  • Mapping data in ArcGIS and Google Earth
  • Analyzing qualitative and/ or quantitative data
  • Participating in virtual and/ or in-person meetings with team members and partner organizations
  • Creating public education materials
  • Taking photographs/ videos
  • Making phone calls and/ or conducting door-knocking (with a partner) as part of outreach/ organizing drives and community issue surveying efforts
  • Staffing an Appalachian Voices table at music festivals or other outreach events

Required Skills/Qualifications:

  • Committed to environmental and social justice, labor rights, and grassroots power-building in the Appalachian region
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to work well within a team, and to independently execute tasks and projects
  • Great communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Sense of humor
  • Excitement to learn about various approaches to positive change-making including community organizing, advocacy, litigation, public policy and journalism
  • Should be proficient with Google/ Excel spreadsheets, and with Google/ Microsoft office programs generally
  • Willingness to carry out important but sometimes tedious data review and entry

Other Beneficial Skills/ Qualifications:

  • Proficiency with Google Earth, ArcGIS, and/ or QGIS
  • Familiarity with SQL and/ or other database query software
  • Comprehension of and interest in legal writing, and legal/ administrative procedures
  • Comprehension of and interest in environmental sciences
  • Proficiency with Photoshop, Indesign and/ or other graphic design software
  • Journalistic (non-academic) writing ability

Apply now

About Appalachian Voices
Appalachian Voices is a nonprofit advocacy organization that works to achieve an Appalachia with healthy, intact ecosystems and advance a just transition to a generative and equitable clean energy economy. We have 30 staff members located in offices in Boone, N.C., Charlottesville, Va., Norton, Va., Knoxville, Tenn., and Durham, N.C.

Commitment to equity
Appalachian Voices is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion both in our work and in our organizational structure. We seek applicants who share and exhibit these principles. As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure staff and interns and applicants for those positions are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or any other factor that is not related to the position.

Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube