IWG Executive Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., earlier this week met with coal community leaders in Wyoming to discuss plans, strategies and available funding opportunities to ensure America’s energy communities are positioned to build back better as the nation transitions to a clean energy economy. Anderson’s participation was part of an ongoing discussion series hosted by the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs with representatives from coal communities, with a heavy emphasis on Wyoming.
Established by the Biden Administration in January, the IWG brings 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 net-zero carbon emission electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.
“For generations, people working in energy communities fueled the nation’s prosperity – now it’s time to help them rebuild. Acting with urgency to prioritize where resources are needed the most, we identified 25 priority energy communities with the densest coal employment – these places are also closely related to the communities that can build on a legacy of strong energy economic activity to sustainably grow into the future,” Anderson said.
Anderson noted up to $38 billion in funding opportunities are available to support economic revitalization in energy communities across the country. He also discussed the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to allocate $300 million in American Rescue Plan funds to coal communities.
The commitment is the largest dedicated support funding effort for coal communities in the EDA’s history. The coal commitment is 10% of the EDA’s broader announcement of $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan to invest in American communities, aimed at helping different economies recover and improve resiliency.
As a first step, the IWG is hosting a series of webinars and workshops to help catalyze local projects support communities in accessing federal resources.
“We are here virtually in Wyoming, not just to share information about funding opportunities and other resources, but to listen and to hear directly from leaders in one of America’s key energy communities about their priorities. As the IWG continues to support energy communities across the nation, the feedback we received today was invaluable,” Anderson concluded.
The Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs empowers leaders and communities to understand and address global forces of change in business, society and the environment; with a track record in scaling climate solutions in global coal-producing regions.
Established by President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, the White House Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization is working to catalyze economic revitalization, create good-paying union jobs, and support working in energy communities, especially hard-hit coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities, across the country.