Interagency Working Group Executive Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., led the second IWG-hosted workshop centered on the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Coal Communities Commitment. This workshop shared funding opportunities and resources with energy communities in West Virginia and discussed perspectives from local organizations about the importance and benefits of federal funding.
The virtual workshop, held Aug. 18, 2021, began with opening remarks from Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, along with Gayle Manchin, Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), who spoke about opportunities for the Mountain State.
In addition, Anderson was joined by representatives from federal agencies, including the EDA, the ARC, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Departments of Energy, Interior and Agriculture. Local supporting organizations also played a key role in the event and shared success stories from the WV Community Development Hub, WV Department of Economic Development, Coalfield Development, Marshall University Research Corporation, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, WV Small Business Development Center, Regional Economic Development Partnership, and Claud Worthington Benedum Foundation.
“The Mountain State is coal country – our miners, including some in my own family, did the hard work that helped build and power America,” Anderson said. “Today, as the nation transitions to a clean energy economy, we are here in West Virginia to help our people boost their economies by sharing details of how to access up to $38 billion in existing funds and another $300 million just announced, specifically targeted for our coal communities.
The Coal Communities Commitment is the largest funding effort for coal communities in the history of the EDA, representing 10 % of the EDA’s broader announcement of $3 billion available from the American Rescue Plan to invest in American communities and help different economies recover and improve their resiliency.
“We’re thankful for the leadership of Senator Manchin, Senator Capito, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, and all our local partners for organizing this event and for the good work they do day in and day out to help West Virginia’s energy communities rebound with good jobs, better infrastructure, and more opportunities for long-term economic growth,” said Anderson.
Established by an Executive Order in 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.
The webinar recording, presentation slides, and final agenda can be found here.