Group Questions Funding Of Coal Education

By: Heather Haley Email
By: Heather Haley Email

Hundreds of thousands of tax dollars are going to education about the coal industry.

Each year the state gives about $400,000 to promote mining.

State officials say tax dollars are sent through non-profit organizations associated with the coal industry.

Members of an environmental group say coal companies should pay for all promotional materials.

Mary Jane Adams is a retired teacher in Leslie County and says she does not agree with the materials sent out by the Kentucky Coal Association to education students about Coal Mining.

“They're really putting out misinformation for our children that how wonderful the coal industry is,” Adams said.

As a member of the environmental group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

Adams says it upsets her to know that tax dollars are given to the Coal Association to produce the materials.

“I don't think our state should fund it, and I don't think our tax dollars should fund it,” Adams said.

The President of the Kentucky Coal Association Bill Caylor says the tax dollars go to what they call "Coal Education Money."

“This is what primarily what the coal industry, coal operators, and companies pay, when they pay their real estate taxes on un-mined coal,” Caylor said.

He says $400,000 is set aside for the organization based on a statue from 1994 and they use the money for materials, a website, and other projects.

“We've had no way to educate the public about the coal industry, we try very hard to limit our education materials to just the facts,” Caylor said.

“The coal industry is the ones that is making the money, why are we helping them? We're funding whatever they want to put out their propaganda,” Adams said.

Members of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth say the tax dollars should not go back into pro-coal mining information and should go to other areas of the state that need funding.

Bill Caylor says the $400,000 is just a small part of the tax money from coal companies.

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