Demand Reforestation of Abandoned Coal Mining Sites

Target: U.S. Congress

Goal: Increase funding for non-profit organizations that support biofuel and reforestation projects at former Appalachian coal sites

Harsh, unsustainable coal mining practices have degraded the once-lush forest lands of the Appalachian Mountains into a patchwork scenery with glaring spaces of eroded land and have subsequently set up local mining communities for a job crisis. More generous funding packages from the U.S. Congress can help non-profit organizations reforest the mountains in an ecologically and economically minded way. Green Forest Works, a non-profit funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, has a plan to slowly transition areas from damaged, stripped land to short-term biofuel production sites to long-term native forests. Voice your demand for more funding so these projects can be implemented and the lands restored to magnificence.

Abandoned coal mining sites are characterized by compacted soil that typically can only support tough species of grasses.  Converting these sites into dense forests teeming with life presents quite a challenge. Green Forest Works has an ingenious, multi-step solution. Here’s how it would work: Heavy earth-moving equipment would initially be used to break up compacted soil, which could then be planted with fast-growing native tree species. As the trees mature, they would further loosen the soil and add revitalizing nutrients and microbes, and after 5-10 years, the trees could be harvested for biofuel. The remaining ashes would serve as fertilizer for a new plot of trees. After multiple generations of trees are harvested, biofuel production sites would be ready for transition into healthy forests that support native species.

While this plan would not be an all-in-one fix, it would surely lower the staggering level of unemployment in regions like eastern Kentucky, where coal mining is an exhausted source of energy and income. Contractors are needed to mechanically loosen the earth, laborers are needed for planting, and technical workers are needed to install and operate biofuel machinery. The potential for green sector employment opportunities is tremendous. Once native forests are established, they can be sustainably used to generate income in the future through smart forestry and conservation techniques.

Ingenious reforestation projects allow for forest biodiversity and renewed prosperity in local communities. Please help make the Appalachian Mountains stunningly majestic again. Sign the petition below to urge Congress to provide more funding to the Appalachian Regional Commission and Green Forest Works to help preserve a classic American landscape.

PETITION LETTER

Dear U.S. Congress,

Coal mining in Appalachia has ravaged its landscape and communities. Abandoned coal sites have left former miners without jobs and the mountains with open, compacted soil plots instead of verdant woodlands home to abundant flora and fauna. Reforestation projects can produce both sustainable energy and an income source for these communities.

The non-profit organization Green Forest Works is creatively responding to this problem, with an objective to plant short-term plots of native tree species that would be consumed for biofuel every 5-10 years. Eventually, the soil ecology would be healthy enough to allow for natural regrowth of native forests. The green beauty of Appalachia could be enjoyed once again, and forests could be sustainably used to generate income in the future. This is a multi-step plan that would provide jobs in diverse areas, like earth-moving construction, biofuel technology, and forestry technology.

I urge you to show your support for miners and the Appalachian environment by providing additional annual funding to the Appalachian Regional Commission, which in turn funds Green Forest Works. Your funding decision supports this country’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and helps America be a model for a more sustainable world.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

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2 Comments

  1. ALEXANDERN KOVESY says:

    WHY DO THE PEOPLE HAVE TO PETITION THE GOVERNMENT TO DO WHAT THEY ARE REQUIRED AND ARE ELECTED TO OFFICE TO DO ???? I WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT THEY AFFIRM IN THEIR OATH TO OFFICE THAT THEY “WILL PROTECT AND SERVE A M E R I C A AND ITS PEOPLE”. PRESERVING AMERICA’S NATURE AND BEAUTY IS PART OF THAT “PROTECT AND SERVE”. SO THE QUESTION IS, WHERE ARE THE LAWS TO ACHIEVE THAT? HAS THIS SLIPPED THEIR MINDS?? IF THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA LET YOU “THE CORPORATION” USE SOMETHING OF THEIRS, IT IS ONLY RIGHT AND COMMON SENSE TO RETURN IT TO THEM IN THE SAME PRISTINE CONDITION YOU RECIEVED IT?? WHAT WOULD THE MINING COMPANY SAY IF WE BOROWED THEIR EQUIPMENT AND RETURNED IT DIRTY,DAMAGED PAINT REMOVED, ENGINE NOT WORKING?? YOU GUESSED IT, THEY’D INSIST WE REPAIRED AND RESTORED IT ON PAINS OF LEGAL ACTION IF WE DIDN’T. HOW HARD OR DIFFICULT CAN IT BE TO INCLUDE IN THEIR CONTRACT (PERMIT) A VERY SPECIFIC AND DETAILED CLAUSE, REQUIRING THEM TO REINSTATE THE AREA TO IT FORMER CONDITION ???? OR IS SOMEONE GETTING A BACKHANDER TO OMIT THIS ?? I’M JUST MUSING…

    • Actually their permit does require return to orginal state. The permit describes how they are going to do it, the vegetation they plan to use, etc. Most even require return to AOC (approximate original contour). The problem is that some of these companies go bankrupt thus leaving the land in this horrendous state. Coal companies have a bond that is supposed to cover the cost of repairs if this does occur. Unfortunately, these bonds come nowhere near covering the costs of these repairs. This leaves the state and people stuck with the scarred land.

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