Young Environmentalists To Protest Outside Rupp
Fans making their way into Rupp Arena tomorrow night may get asked to sign a petition.
Cara Cooper, statewide coordinator with the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition says the group is against using coal severance funds to renovate the basketball venue, believing that the money should stay in the communities where it’s generated.
"Coal severance is supposed to go to impacted communities," she told WUKY.
"Our state government has voted to spend about 2.5 million dollars from the dwindling coal severance fund to renovate the UK basketball arena. So we're going to be out collecting signatures to show that Kentuckians want that money to go where it belongs," Cooper said.
The pro-coal group, Friends of Coal has been a periodic sponsor of games at Rupp, Commonwealth Stadium, and other venues.
Cooper dismissed the notion held by some Eastern Kentuckians and prominent politicians that the government has declared a "war on coal."
"It seems to me that the real war is on people, especially low-income people who do not have opportunities for economic development. We have known that the coal industry has been on a downward turn for decades, and still the Kentucky state government stands with the big coal corporations and not with the people of Kentucky. Rather than accepting the changes and promoting good, clean job development in Eastern Kentucky, they hold on to the fossils of coal production because the companies can afford to buy our politicians. What we really need to see happen is a war on corporate influence in our government that allows companies to have larger voices than people."
Cooper says the Lexington demonstration is part of the group’s statewide week of “Shifting the Power” events. Other demonstrations are planned at NKU, Murray State, Western, and Morehead State University.