Yesterday, the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG) participated in the 2022 Virginia Brownfields Conference. Deputy Executive Director Dr. Briggs White hosted a panel that focused on how federal funding, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, can be used for environmental cleanup, economic development, and more.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides once-in-a-generation investments in economic development, job growth, business expansion, environmental cleanup and much more for people living in traditional energy communities across the country,” said White. “There are several communities in Virginia, and many more throughout Appalachia, who are looking to reclaim, clean up and repurpose former coal mines and power plant sites. Funding from the infrastructure law can help jump start and power those efforts immediately and provide economic opportunities to these communities in need.”
The panel, titled “Funding Redevelopment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” featured officials from multiple federal agencies including Appalachian Regional Commission’s Guy Land, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Susan Insetta Spielberger, U.S. Department of the Interior’s Sterling Rideout, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s Perry Hickman and U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Courtney Haynes. Panelists discussed specific funding opportunities to assist traditional energy communities undergoing an energy transition.
“On behalf of the IWG and its member agencies, thank you to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for hosting this event and inviting us to participate. It is crucial that we listen to energy communities and that they are both aware of the funding available to them and have the means to access and apply for those opportunities,” said White. “That’s why today’s session was so important.”
Hosted by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the 2022 Virginia Brownfields Conference was a multi-day, in-person event that highlighted Brownfield development and downtown revitalization efforts and opportunities in the state. Attendees and speakers included a mix of economic development professionals, environmental professionals, real estate developers, lawyers, state and local officials, EPA and other federal officials, entrepreneurs, planners, bankers, investors, and community redevelopment professionals.
Established by an Executive Order during President Biden’s first week in office, the IWG is pursuing a whole-of-government approach to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, remediate environmental degradation and support energy workers in coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities across the country as the U.S. prepares to undergo a historic energy evolution to a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.