The Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization
From Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has driven an economic agenda that is rebuilding our economy from the bottom up and middle out. Working with Congress, the President has put policies in place to rescue the American economy, small businesses, and families from of the economic fallout of a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and has overseen the strongest job recovery in history.
During his first week in office, President Biden signed an Executive Order creating an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG). The initiative is co-chaired by the Director of the National Economic Council (NEC), the National Climate Advisor, and the Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, and administered by the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
The President has taken a place-based approach to economic revitalization, targeting federal engagement and investment to the most hard-hit communities. The President honored the coal, oil, natural gas, and power plant workers who “drove the industrial revolution and the economic growth that followed and have been essential to the growth of the United States.” He directed his administration to leave no one behind as the nation evolves to making new energy products along robust American-made supply chains that bring equitable revitalization and prosperity to all parts of the United States.
Initial Report to the President on Empowering Workers Through Revitalizing Energy Communities
As a first step, the Executive Order directed the Energy Communities IWG to prepare an initial report describing, “mechanisms, consistent with applicable law, to prioritize grantmaking, federal loan programs, technical assistance, financing, procurement, or other existing programs to support and revitalize the economies of coal and power plant communities.”
The Energy Communities IWG reviewed domestic and international models for economic revitalization, compiled recommendations from advocacy groups and academics, and sought guidance from representatives of energy communities. Stakeholders included labor unions; community development organizations; local, regional, and tribal governments; the private sector; and philanthropic interests.
The report to the President identifies:
- A set of communities across the country hard-hit by coal mine and coal power plant closures, which should be prioritized for focused federal investment.
- Existing federal programs with potentially available funding totaling nearly $38 billion which could be used to provide immediate investments in energy communities.
- Immediate steps the Energy Communities IWG should take within the next year to support energy communities.
Revitalizing Energy Communities: Two-Year Report to the President
The Energy Communities IWG has made enormous gains over the past two years for coal, oil, and gas communities across the United States. The historic passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act has greatly increased the amount of federal funding available to meet the needs of energy communities across the nation. These funds have already catalyzed further investment from the private sector. They have the potential to create as many as nine million direct jobs while also investing in the innovation and supply chains that are the backbone of the American industrial economy. Additionally, they will provide tangible opportunities for new and current energy workers to find pathways to prosperity.
The Biden Administration is committed to ensuring energy communities have both the foundational infrastructure, and the targeted place-based investments, they need in the transition to a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable economy.
The Revitalizing Energy Communities: Two-Year Report previews the Administration’s path forward to ensure the nation sustains momentum in building a clean energy future made in America and powered by American workers. The report outlines the transformative activities the Biden Administration has taken since January 2021 to provide robust outreach and engagement with energy communities, and to ensure real investments continue flowing to those communities through strategic agency efforts and implementation of the major legislation signed during the Administration’s first two years.