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Estep's March 2, 2016 Article on Coal in EKY

March 2, 2016 4:57 PM

Report: Eastern Kentucky produces only 4 percent of nation’s coal

Region has lost market share, thousands of jobs

Loss of high-paying jobs has hurt wider economy

Another coal boom considered ‘improbable’


Latest Findings on Broadband

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Pew Releases New Findings on Broadband

The Pew Research Center recently released important new research on broadband access that demonstrate the importance of advancing low-cost, next-generation broadband for all residents — the mission of Next Century Cities.

The survey found a slight decline in broadband adoption in homes since 2013, with home adoption now sitting at 67%, but an increase in smartphone reliance. In total 80% of adults have either a smartphone or a home broadband subscription.

Some interesting findings from this recent survey include:

  • More      Americans Are “Smartphone Only”: More Americans (now 13% of      all adults) are turning exclusively to their cell phones for Internet      service. But individuals who only access the Internet through their      smartphones report significant challenges around accessing job      opportunities and hitting data caps, and face an increased likelihood of      canceling service due to “financial constraints.”  
  • Cost Cited      as a Barrier to Internet Access: Those who don’t have      broadband Internet access cite cost “in some form” as central reason for      lacking it in their homes. The study found that: “Overall, 66% of      non-adopters point toward either the monthly service fee or the cost of      the computer as a barrier to adoption.”  Strong provider competition      is a key principle for Next Century Cities partially because a vibrant,      diverse marketplace, with transparency in offerings, pricings, and      policies will spur innovation and lower prices, hopefully leading      to more people being online.
  • Lacking      Broadband Perceived as Disadvantage: More      Americans now perceive broadband Internet access as an important tool for      fully participating in many aspects of society, including learning about      and accessing new career opportunities, accessing government and      healthcare information, learning new things, and keeping up with the news.      Roughly two-thirds of Americans said that not having a home high-speed      internet connection would be a major disadvantage to the activities      discussed above.

SOAR welcomes Gov. Bevin

SOAR Executive   Board, Rogers Welcome Gov. Bevin as Co-Chair

PINEVILLE, Ky. -  In the first meeting of 2016 at the Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Pineville, the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Executive Committee welcomed Governor Matt Bevin as the new co-chair of the organization. Gov. Bevin will serve alongside co-founder and co-chair U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. “I am honored to be back in Southeastern Kentucky with this inspiring group of leaders. SOAR’s mission, vision and goals are critical as Eastern Kentucky fights to protect coal jobs and attract new opportunities to the region,” stated Gov. Bevin. “I’m proud to share with the SOAR Board and attendees that my budget fully supports the SOAR initiative and, more broadly, the Eastern Kentucky region.” At the meeting, Governor Bevin shared that in both years of the biennium his budget includes $2 million for the Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development Fund, $2 million for the Coal County Scholarship Completion program, fully supports the state’s contribution to Operation

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  Bipartisan RECLAIM Act will release $1 Billion in AML Funds
  to Support Coal Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new bipartisan bill aims to accelerate $1 billion in available funding in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation (AML) Fund to revitalize coal communities hardest hit by the downturn of the coal industry. The RECLAIM Act: Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More, was filed today by Congressmen Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), Evan Jenkins (R-WV.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), and Morgan Griffith (R-Va.). Coal communities throughout the United States have been struggling to cope with significant job losses after a decrease in nation-wide coal production in recent years, and the RECLAIM Act aims to support economic and community development projects in these areas. Specifically, the legislation releases $1 billion from the existing balance in the AML Fund to assist communities that have traditionally relied on the coal industry for employment or have recently experienced significant coal job losses. Under the plan, $200 million will be distributed to participating states annually for five years, and the legislation empowers States and Indian tribes to work with local communities to identify and fund economic development projects on AML sites."In Kentucky alone, we've lost more than 11,000 coal mining jobs since 2009. Instead of allowing those funds to go unused, now is the time to help our coal producing states reinvest in the coalfields with projects that can create new jobs and reinvigorate our

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