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Interagency Working Group Moderates Panel on Economic Development in West Virginia’s Energy Communities

Yesterday, the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG)’s Deputy Executive Director Briggs White led a panel on economic development and environmental remediation at the 2022 West Virginia Brownfields Conference in Huntington, WV.

With a focus on energy communities, the panel, titled “Federal Resources for Environmental Remediation and Economic Development,” highlighted how federal resources, including funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, can be leveraged for environmental cleanup and redevelopment that will create jobs and increase state and local tax bases.

Panelists included Susan Spielberger from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bradley Roebke from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Ryan Thorn from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Cecil Slaughter from the U.S. Department of the Interior, and Tracey Rowan from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. All panelists highlighted agency-specific funding to support West Virginia communities undergoing energy and economic transitions.

“I’m grateful to represent the IWG at this critical event. Between the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and general funding across the government, there’s an abundance of opportunities for West Virginia’s energy communities to reclaim and repurpose legacy energy infrastructure, like Brownfields, and revitalize their economies. I hope attendees come away from our panel understanding how to access and apply for those opportunities,” said White.

The 2022 WV Brownfields Conference & Main Street/ON TRAC Training included sessions covering all aspects of brownfield and downtown redevelopment, including interactive workshops, networking receptions, and the WV Brownfield Awards. This premier redevelopment event attracts over 250 stakeholders including 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.

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