The Appalachian Citizens' Law Center is a nonprofit law center that fights for justice in the Central Appalachian coalfields by representing citizens and communities adversely affected by extractive fossil fuel industries and practices. Since our beginning in 2002, our organization has carried out its mission via three distinct avenues: litigation, advocacy, and organizing. ACLC represents and advocates on behalf of miners and widows in federal black lung and mine safety cases, represents individuals and communities struggling with the effects of environmental degradation caused by the coal industry, and facilitates coalition-building and organizing around moving our region towards a just economic transition.
In the past five years, Just Transition has become a central framework for our work. This vision is both forward-looking and backward-looking: as we work collaboratively with organizations across the region to push for a more equitable, sustainable, and worker-oriented economy in the future, we also fight to protect the wellbeing of individuals and communities still suffering from the legacy costs of extractive industries. We cannot avoid the fact that Central Appalachian communities bear the burden of environmental and health costs externalized by the coal industry, but we can work strategically to ensure individuals and communities across Central Appalachia have representation to fight for their land, their families, and their communities free of charge.
In Martin County, Kentucky, we help community members hold public officials accountable in their ongoing fight for safe, affordable drinking water. In Estill County, Kentucky, we help community members fight for the removal of radioactive toxic waste that was illegally dumped in their community. We currently have over 300 active federal black lung benefits cases, and when benefits are awarded, they help miners and their families live with the dignity and support they deserve despite the onset of a terrible occupationally-induced disease. We continue to work on mine safety violation cases, allowing miners to speak out without fear of retribution when their jobs put their lives at risk. Additionally, our organization convenes the national RECLAIM working group to work on the RECLAIM Act, as well as our black lung coalition, which recently sent over 150 miners and widows to Washington, D.C. to demand Congress act to protect federal black lung benefits.
Please help us continue this essential work to fight for justice for all Central Appalachian communities!