Member Highlight - Western Organization of Resource Councils

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Liz Moran Stelk, WORC

1) As a rural-based organization, what role do you see rural communities and landscapes playing in the climate solution?

Many rural communities and landscapes bear the brunt of our dependence on fossil fuels. We see, smell, hear, and feel the impacts of oil, gas and coal development. A key role the 12,000 members in WORC’s network of eight grassroots community organizations play toward a climate solution is raising up their voices about climate “weirding” they see firsthand: stronger storms, hotter summers, longer droughts.  Our members are organizing together to demand climate solutions, starting with stronger regulation and enforcement of oil and gas drilling and coal mining, but also laying the groundwork for a shift toward a clean energy future.  Our members aim to build homegrown prosperity, where rural communities shift away from out-of-state and foreign corporate control of energy and food production toward decentralized, smaller-scale, local ownership and control of food and energy production.


2) What policies – local, state, or federal – would WORC like to see in response to climate change?

Our members would like energy policies that reduce emissions from fossil fuels now and support clean energy, and agricultural policies that reduce the amount of carbon in atmosphere. A few of those policies include:

  • No new federal coal leases until there is a federal coal management policy that takes into account and mitigates the costs to neighboring communities and the climate impact of coal mining.
  • Strong federal and state methane limits to curb pollution from new and existing oil wells.
  • Concerted energy development planning that minimizes emissions, waste, and the impacts to neighboring communities and the climate.
  • Incentives for rural communities to finance and construct renewable energy projects owned by members of the community.
  • Agriculture policies that promote the use of soil and livestock management techniques that sequester carbon in the soil and reduce pesticides.


3) WORC runs a Principles of Community Organizing training. Can you tell us about the training, and who is a good fit to apply?

WORC’s Principles of Community Organizing (POCO) is a nationally-recognized four-day workshop to develop participant’s skills to build powerful organizations and launch winning issue campaigns. The hands-on workshop covers the basics of leadership, fundraising, organizational development, and community organizing.  POCO is ideal for leaders and staff who want to build or lead effective organizations that make social change.  Tuition for POCO is $100 for eligible members of WORC’s member groups and $500 for non-members, plus the cost of travel to Billings, Montana. Some scholarships are available. For more information or to apply, visit