Litigation

We believe that every Kentuckian has a right to clean air, water and land. We also have the right to defend these rights in our democratic society and to expect diligent oversight and enforcement protection from local, state and federal officialscharged with these responsibilities. Sadly, too often it is necessary to seek a fair and just redress of our grievances in courts of law because of failures of corporations to follow the law and failures of officials to enforce the law.

OSM rally 2003

Litigation supports KFTC’s organizing goals regarding enforcement and works to stop and punish illegal mining practices that endanger people and the quality of our environment. Therefore, the goals are to publicize, stop and punish polluting industries for violations of the federal and state statutes – and prevent future violations. Another goal is to change the culture of non-enforcement in some state government agencies. Litigation puts pressure on these agency officials to do their jobs in the public interest and not as “business as usual” of protecting corporate interests rather than protecting citizens’ interests.

In addition, exercising our rights to use our justice system and winning cases also provides opportunities to inform and empower citizens, especially those living in coal-impacted communities. It allows citizens to become more involved in the monitoring, prevention and enforcement processes. These victories make organizing around issues of clean water and enforcement stronger so that we may strengthen existing chapters and grow new ones. Finally, successful litigation also supports our efforts to pass critical legislation and is the initial means for the transition to clean energy alternatives to coal.