The White House Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization delivered a report to President Biden with their initial recommendations to catalyze economic development and create good-paying jobs in hard-hit energy communities across the country. ARC ‘s participation in this working group enabled the organization to provide a voice for Appalachia and strengthen partnerships with other federal agencies to maximize the resources available to coal-impacted communities.
The report identified an array of existing federal funding opportunities that could be accessed by energy communities to support community revitalization efforts. ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which targets federal resources to help communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries, is highlighted in the report. POWER has invested $238 million in 293 projects touching 353 coal-impacted communities since 2015.
The report also identifies 25 specific communities that are most directly impacted by changes in the energy economy—eight of those are in Appalachia, covering 84 counties. The Appalachian communities on this list are:
- Southern West Virginia non-metropolitan area
- East Kentucky non-metropolitan area
- Wheeling, West Virginia -Ohio
- Southwest Virginia non-metropolitan area
- Northern West Virginia non-metropolitan area
- Beckley, West Virginia
- Charleston, West Virginia
- Western Pennsylvania non-metropolitan area
This ranking helps identify areas that are most vulnerable to additional near-term coal mine and power plant closures.