Harlan County joins local support in Eastern Kentucky for POWER+ Plan | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth
Release Date: 
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Press Contact: 
Carl Shoupe
KFTC Executive Committee member

Harlan County joins local support in Eastern Kentucky for POWER+ Plan
Four other local entities passed resolutions in the past week

Additional Contact

Eric Dixon


Copy of resolution

“Abandoned Mine Land Program: A Policy Analysis for Central Appalachia and the Nation”
(report  by Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center and partners)

White House factsheet on the Power+ Plan

The POWER+ Plan, a proposal by the White House to stimulate economies in economically distressed regions that once relied on coal mining, is an important opportunity to build a bright future and a just economy in eastern Kentucky.

That’s what residents throughout counties in eastern Kentucky are saying. Elected officials, members of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and other community members are working through their local governments to demonstrate support for the POWER+ Plan by passing resolutions asking Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers to move it through the legislative process in Congress.

Tuesday Harlan County joined that rapidly growing number of cities and counties in Kentucky to endorse the the POWER+ Plan. In less than a week, five resolutions in support of the POWER+ Plan have been passed by local governments across eastern Kentucky, including the Whitesburg and Benham city councils, the Benham Power Board, and the Harlan and Letcher County fiscal courts.

The POWER+ Plan is a federal proposal that would target more than a billion dollars towards economic diversification and development projects in communities struggling with the decline of the coal industry, especially in Appalachia.

“The POWER+ Plan is an opportunity for us to put Kentuckians back to work reclaiming abandoned mine sites. We could be creating jobs in farming, energy, tourism, and more on these reclaimed mines. Who wouldn’t want to seize this opportunity to kickstart a transition to a stronger, more just economy here in Appalachia?” said Carl Shoupe, a retired UMWA coal miner who serves on the Benham Power Board and KFTC’s Executive Committee. “We hope Senator McConnell and Congressman Rogers see how much we here have to gain by passing it as soon as possible.”

“I’m excited to see everyone in our community connecting with each other and other communities across eastern Kentucky, and I’m proud of my fiscal court for passing the resolution unanimously. My neighbors and others living here in eastern Kentucky are speaking loud and clear: the POWER+ Plan can be a huge opportunity for our communities as we’re working together to build a bright future,” said Kimberly Shepherd, a resident of Harlan County and a KFTC member. "I hope the movement to pass this legislation keeps growing out from here as more people demonstrate to our Congressmen that we’re ready and waiting for their action.”

“I’m proud to have voted for the POWER+ Plan because it’s something we’ve been waiting a long time for. It will help us diversify our economy as it brings the investments to our region that we need. The POWER+ Plan won’t solve all our struggles here, but it’s an important part in creating a strong eastern Kentucky,” said George Massey, a retired coal miner, long-time member of the United Mine Workers of America, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth member, and member of the Benham City Council, which passed the resolution on Thursday.

Harlan County Judge Executive Dan Mosley, who introduced the resolution to the fiscal court Tuesday, said, “Any time that there is federal support to bring money our region to create jobs for these unemployed miners and others, we’re going to be open to learning more about the proposal. We researched the topic and we made the decision to support this because it has the potential to have a positive impact on our community.”

Eric Dixon, Coordinator of Policy and Community Engagement with Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center which, in conjunction with partners, recently released a report on the Abandoned Mine Lands program and the POWER+ Plan, says that even more cities and counties throughout eastern Kentucky are expected to demonstrate support for the Power+ Plan in the coming weeks.