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The Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization invites you to join us for an in-depth discussion on the effort to revitalize energy communities within the Illinois Basin.

In partnership with Southern Illinois University Carbondale, the IWG will host a free workshop on Thursday, Sept 29, 2022, to engage community leaders and identify opportunities for regional economic diversification and growth in the Illinois Basin in response to coal mine and power plant closures.

Revitalizing Energy Communities in the Illinois Basin aims to convene a broad cross section of relevant stakeholders including economic development leaders; regional, state, and municipal officials; legislators; and representatives from the private sector, labor, philanthropy, academia, nongovernmental organizations and more.

The Illinois Basin is one of six regions in the country identified as most vulnerable to further declines in coal-related employment. The region includes three of the Biden Administration’s top 25 priority energy communities: #6 West Kentucky non-metropolitan area, #12 South Illinois non-metropolitan area, and #14 Southern Indiana non-metropolitan area.

The workshop is designed to help energy communities:

  • Connect energy workers and communities with federal resources;
  • Advance economic development in rural coal communities; and
  • Build sustainable, effective relationships throughout the Illinois Basin region.

Date:                     Thursday, September 29, 2022

Time:                    9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Central Time

Location:             Southern Illinois University Carbondale
                             1255 Lincoln Drive
                             Carbondale, IL 62901-6899

Space is limited, and registration is required to attend.




Central Time

Networking & Registration

8:00 a.m.

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Dr. Daniel F. Mahony, President, Southern Illinois University System

Brian Anderson, Energy Communities IWG

Farah Ahmad, Deputy Under Secretary, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Dr. Corey Wiggins, Federal Co-Chair, Delta Regional Authority

9:00 a.m.

Regional Panel

Regional stakeholders will share about challenges, opportunities, and ongoing efforts to support energy communities in the Illinois Basin.

Dr. Ken B. Anderson, Director, Advanced Energy Institute, Southern Illinois University Carbondale (moderator)


Brandi Bradley, Designee for Governor J.B. Pritzker (IL) to the Delta Regional Authority

Amanda Pankau, Energy Campaign Coordinator, Prairie Rivers Network

Nathan Held, Senior Project Administrator, Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission

Tiffany George, Executive Director, Southern Five Regional Planning District & Development Commission

9:25 a.m.


10:35 a.m.

Federal Panel

Federal officials will highlight investments and funding opportunities available from the bipartisan infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act available to energy communities within the Illinois Basin.

Briggs White, Ph.D., Deputy Executive Director, Energy Communities IWG (moderator)


Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, State Director for Illinois, U.S. Department of Agriculture

John Jurevis, Brownfields Project Manager in Region 5 (Chicago), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

James Winters, Indiana U.S. Economic Development Administration

Lane Dilg, Senior Advisor, Office of the Under Secretary for Infrastructure, U.S. Department of Energy

10:45 a.m.

Lunch Break

11:55 a.m.

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session #1: Education & Workforce Development
(New Opportunities for Workers)


President Curt Oldfield, Spoon River College

Mary Anne Medlock, Business Liaison, West Kentucky Workforce Board

Breakout Session #2: Innovation & Emerging Economic Opportunities in the Illinois Basin
(Attracting private investment to the community’s new future)


Lane Dilg, Senior Advisor, Office of the Under Secretary for Infrastructure, U.S. Department of Energy

James Winters, U.S. Economic Development Administration (Indiana)

Breakout Session #3: Taxes & Revenue Replacement
(Power Plant valuation and tax reductions)


Cindy Winland, Senior Consultant, Energy Communities IWG

Breakout Session #4: Fossil Asset Repurposing & Clean Energy Deployment
(Leveraging fossil fuel infrastructure)


Jonah Wagner, Senior Advisor (contractor), U.S. DOE Loan Programs Office

Jeffrey A. Ferry, Senior Director Government Affairs, Vistra

1:00 p.m.

Breakout Session Report Outs

Facilitators briefly summarize the discussion from each breakout session. Our academic partner and the IWG leadership team offer summary remarks.

2:15 p.m.

Illinois Basin Stakeholder Next Steps

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, State Director for Illinois, U.S. Department of Agriculture

2:45 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Briggs White, Ph.D., Deputy Executive Director, Energy Communities IWG

3:00 p.m.



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