Today retired Harlan County coal miner Carl Shoupe sent a letter to U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, asking for support for the PowerPlus plan. He’s sharing dozens of resolutions passed by local governments in Appalachia in favor of PowerPlus. You can check them out at powerplusplan.org and read Carl’s letter below.
February 2, 2016
Congressman Hal Rogers
2406 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Rogers,
My name is Carl Shoupe and I am a retired, third-generation coal miner and a member of the Benham Power Board, which passed a resolution in support of the POWER+ plan last year. The Benham Power Board and the Benham City Council, along with 12 other local governments and organizations in the 5th District in Kentucky, and 14 more throughout the Central Appalachian region passed these resolutions to demonstrate our commitment to building a bright future here in our beautiful mountains as the coal industry continues to decline. We believe the investments from the federal government that the POWER+ Plan calls for would be an important component of helping our struggling region transition to a new, strong economy good for all eastern Kentuckians.
I am writing to share with you the resolutions that have passed in the 5th District, the list of resolutions from other areas, and to ask you to pass POWER+ through Congress this year.
Folks from all walks of life are working hard together to help create our next economy; we truly are working to “shape our Appalachian region.” As the resolutions say, we believe our transition should be one that “celebrates culture; invests in communities; generates good, stable and meaningful jobs; is just and equitable; and protects and restores the land, air and water.” The POWER+ Plan is a great first step toward this just transition Appalachians have been working together to build.
I was encouraged to learn of the $90 million in the federal budget that you secured for reclaiming and restoring Abandoned Mine Lands in ways that could create economic and community development. This shows me there’s momentum toward fully funding the $1 billion in AML reclamation through the full POWER+ proposal, and I am writing to encourage you—with the support of our local governments and organizations behind you—to see the AML portion of the proposal, along with the miners benefits fund proposal and the funding for workforce development and job training, through the legislative process.
Last summer I was in a community meeting here in my small, former coal-camp town of Benham where we gathered to learn and talk about the POWER+ Plan. In that meeting, Dan Mosley, my Judge Executive here in Harlan County, said about the decline of the coal industry here: “The time has come to wipe away our tears. We have no choice but to diversify.” I wholeheartedly agree, and hope you do too, that right now we have the opportunity to build a future here in our beloved mountains with a strong economy and restored water and land for our children and grandchildren to thrive in. Please join us in building that future by working to push the POWER+ plan through Congress.