IWG Executive Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., led the first in a series of IWG-hosted workshops that share funding opportunities and resources with energy communities impacted by the nation’s transition to a clean energy economy and help catalyze local projects that take advantage of such funding.
The virtual workshop, held Aug. 12, 2021, was tailored for coal and energy community leaders in Western Pennsylvania and centered on the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Coal Communities Commitment.
Anderson was joined by representatives from the EDA, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture.
“Pennsylvania is at the heart of coal county. As the nation transitions to a clean energy economy, our charge is to ensure the full resources of the federal government are marshalled to ensure we help energy communities in the state and across the nation build back better,” said Anderson. “We had a great session with our local partners and community leaders – and our collective focus continues to be connecting energy communities with the billions of dollars in funding opportunities immediately available to them, to spur economic revitalization in both the near- and long-term.”
Gayle Manchin, Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) said the IWG is already having a positive impact on the nation’s energy communities.
“The ARC is laser focused on supporting the creation of economic opportunities for the Appalachian Region, which includes building community capacity, supporting workforce development, and investing in infrastructure upgrades like broadband. Doing so is imperative for our workers to thrive in the global economy. The good work of the IWG, including an infusion of new funds available to help revitalize coal communities, is a much-needed boost to communities in Pennsylvania and across Appalachia,” Manchin said.
The Coal Communities Commitment is the largest funding effort for coal communities in the history of the EDA. The coal commitment is 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.
Established by 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.