Kentucky Coal Mining
The Dark Side & What They Don't Want You To Know.
If It looks Wrong It Probably Is.
We at KYCM .ORG. Do not accept donations.
But we do ask that you support the Kentucky Resources Council (KRC)
KRC Director Tom FitzGerald is a man of the people of Kentucky. This one man has done more for the people of Kentucky when it comes to the environmental issues then all of us put together.
STATEMENT OF TOM FITZGERALD ON RECEIVING THE
HENRY R. HEYBURN PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD
I apologize that I cannot be with you today. I am both honored to have been selected as the third recipient of the Henry R. Heyburn Public Service Award and am humbled at having been chosen, since I can think of many among my peers as deserving or more so.
I'll let you in on a secret - these past twenty-five years - three as a law clerk to the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, four as environmental specialist with that program and seventeen as the director of a non-profit environmental law project, the Kentucky Resources Council, have been a joy.
I could not have been better prepared than to have mentors and advisors like Paul Oberst, John Rosenberg, Carolyn Bratt, J.T. Begley, John Leathers, John Batt, Bill Fortune, Robert Lawson, Louise Graham, , and Paul Van Booven to remind me each in their own way through their words and their actions that service, commitment, respect for human dignity and courage are the threads that bind the law to society, and that give both the law and a life meaning and purpose.
While I have never in 22 years had the occasion to actually bill a client, I have been rewarded a thousand times over by sharing the lives of my clients and learning from their strength and dignity in the face of overwhelming adversity. It is their strength, their grace and their tenacity that has been my tonic. And once in a great while, we have actually shared a victory too!
I accept this award recognizing that my role has been more visible perhaps but certainly not unique among many UK law school alumni across this state who work or who have worked in public service -- to help to translate through the imperfect tools of the law a desire deeply rooted in Kentuckians to improve their quality of life and to lessen the harms inflicted by the powerful on the powerless; to help craft a more just and enduring manner of governance and of sustaining healthy communities. It is a desire that is often thwarted but cannot be extinguished.
Reinhold Niebuhr, wrote these words in the early 1950's at a time like now when, it is at times difficult to find evidence that we have made progress in those things that matter:
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime, therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing that is true and beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint; therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.
May we all find renewal in his words and in each other. Thank you again.
Thomas FitzGerald wins the Heinz Award in the Environment
Posted September 11th, 2008 by j0chen24
Thomas J. FitzGerald, an adjunct member of the Law School faculty, has won the 2008 Heinz Award in the Environment. The Heinz Award committee describes FitzGerald, founder and director of the Kentucky Resources Council, as "a thoughtful and courageous advocate on behalf of those whose environmental health is most at risk." As "an influential voice in improving the environmental landscape within his home state and across the nation," FitzGerald has made his nickname, Fitz, "synonymous with environmental protection in Kentucky."
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, FitzGerald came to Kentucky after reading Harry M. Caudill's Night Comes to the Cumberlands (1963), which "described corporate plunder of mineral wealth in Eastern Kentucky." FitzGerald said that "he was inspired by people 'who had the courage to stand up against the ravages of strip mining.'" Over the course of his career, he has in turn inspired and protected many others. In the opinion of Kentucky's former secretary for the environment, LaJuana S. Wilcher, Tom FitzGerald has "probably done more to protect the environment of Kentucky than any other individual."
Tom FitzGerald embodies the values of dedicated advocacy and public service that the Law School strives to instill in all of its students. We're proud to be associated with him, and we congratulate him on his prestigious and richly deserved award.
Thomas J. FitzGerald receives the Heinz Award in the Environment for being the courageous advocate of those whose health is most at risk.
Founder and Director of the Kentucky Resources Council, Thomas J. FitzGerald has been hailed as the "watchdog of the environment" in the Bluegrass state. Over the past 30 years, he has been a thoughtful and courageous advocate on behalf of those whose environmental health is most at risk, providing an influential voice in improving the environmental landscape within his home state and across the nation and making the name "Fitz" synonymous with environmental protection in Kentucky.
Mr. FitzGerald has dedicated his career to helping citizens and organizations secure full and fair implementation of policies intended to safeguard their health, safety and quality of life. He is an authority on the enforcement of the national Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977, the federal law designed to protect against the adverse environmental and societal effects of surface coal mining operations, as well as other regulatory issues affecting the environment.
After earning his law degree, Mr. FitzGerald worked as a law clerk and environmental specialist for the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, and in 1984, reshaped the Kentucky Resources Council, providing free legal assistance on environmental matters and pursuing environmental advocacy. Having worked to secure passage of a national mining law from 1972 forward, he was active in developing regulations under the 1977 law and in working with other attorneys to defend those regulations against decades of industry lawsuits.
Mr. FitzGerald's influence extends well beyond issues related to coal. Working always on a pro bono basis and most often alone, he has helped draft ordinances to protect communities from sewage sludge disposal and factory hog farms as well as negotiate state statutes providing environmental protections related to brownfield redevelopment, solid and hazardous waste management, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Mr. FitzGerald has been a fixture in the halls of Kentucky's General Assembly since 1978 and has lobbied to defeat scores of bills that would have lowered environmental quality and polluter accountability.
Looking toward the future, Mr. FitzGerald has developed plans for an environmental leadership training program designed to cultivate the next generation of environmental watchdogs and create teams of volunteers, drawn largely from retired state environmental employees, to assist citizens and communities impacted by pollution.
Thomas FitzGerald has been a ubiquitous leader in advocating for the fair and equitable application of environmental laws and has tirelessly shouldered the causes of those without the resources or expertise to fend for themselves. He is singularly responsible for the health and well-being of countless individuals thanks in large measure to his vigilant commitment to seeing that environmental protections are enforced and the welfare of our citizens regarded as sacrosanct.
Note: This profile is excerpted from the commemorative brochure published at the time of the awards' presentation.
KRC is non-profit organization, incorporated under the laws of Kentucky and recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization. KRC is supported solely by donations from individual and group members and supporters, and from charitable foundation grants. We accept no government or corporate contributions. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Mail those contributions to: KRC Post Office Box 1070, Frankfort, KY 40602