I just returned from the Clinton Global Initiative America summit in Denver, where I saw an old friend (see pictures spanning 20 years), and spoke about an initiative that is already uniting both “Friends of Coal” and passionate environmentalists:
Rebuilding West Liberty, Kentucky
As I discussed in this op-ed in today’s Louisville Courier-Journal, Rebuilding West Liberty, a project announced this week as a Clinton Global Initiative America Commitment to Action, is a multi-faceted approach to redevelop a small town in coal country — nearly destroyed by a tornado two years ago — as a national model for sustainability.
Phase One of this private/public partnership involves the construction of state-of-the-art, energy efficient homes that utilize renewable technologies, and the educational promotion of its innovations to school children and similarly-situated rural communities across the country.
The project holds great promise, not simply for West Liberty itself, but perhaps more importantly, as an example for all of coal country. It’s a chance to stop merely complaining about what’s wrong in the “War About Coal,” and start supporting what’s great about Eastern Kentucky.
Of course there’s a catch: We need to raise $500,000 to see this exciting local vision realized. The good news is that you can help: With your tax-deductible contribution (the project’s fiscal agent is the nationally-estemeed Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, FAHE), you can make a real difference in helping this risilient community, and working towards an end to the War About Coal.
Click here to contribute $5, $10, $50, $100, $1000 — whatever you can afford.
What’s clear is that we can’t afford to give up on coal country. It’s time to put aside the heated rhetoric and take a step for real progress in the region.