A Message from Our Executive Director
Recently we announced the formation of the Ohio River Valley Institute, a new think tank dedicated to producing sound research for a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous Appalachia. The Institute is marking out a positive economic vision for the greater Ohio Valley and Western Pennsylvania; a vision that amplifies the community-based values and rich culture of the region, while moving us toward shared prosperity. Our goal is to circulate our findings as widely as possible, making our research and messaging strategies available to all — starting with this newsletter.
In this first edition, we highlight new research from our staff members on the failed strategy of relying on fossil fuels to power the region’s economy, the urgent need for the Ohio River Valley to meet the climate challenge and the opportunity to create new good paying jobs while doing so, as well as the finding that — despite the gas industry’s best efforts — public opinion is trending strongly against fracking. In addition, our Advisor’s Corner features Dr. Mark Paul, a Professor at the New College of Florida and a political economist working in the areas of inequality, environmental economics, and applied microeconomics. Dr. Paul is currently working on a book project called Freedom Is Not Enough: Economic Rights for an Unequal World.
In addition to our team of talented staff members, have assembled a roster of expert advisors like Dr. Paul to help guide our work, and we are engaging with community leaders to understand how new research can bolster their work on the ground, as well as how their work can inform our research. Together we have the opportunity to demonstrate that real economic prosperity is possible when we bring communities into the policymaking process. It’s time to put the fossil fuel industry on notice that its outsized political and economic power has impeded real economic progress and eroded our democratic institutions, and can no longer control the region.
The depth of character, work ethic, and commitment to community in the greater Ohio Valley and Western Pennsylvania is unparalleled. The people of this region deserve better social and economic policies – policies that really work in our best interest, not the best interest of coal, oil and gas, or petrochemicals.
Please join us in the pursuit of informed public policy solutions for a more prosperous and equitable Appalachia.
With much optimism,
Joanne Kilgour, Esq.