Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan a boon for Appalachia

Kate Rooth, Campaign Director, kate@appvoices.org. 828-262-1500
Jamie Goodman, Senior Communications Coordinator, jamie@appvoices.org, 828-262-1500

Boone, N.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released the final version of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever national rule limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants to safeguard public health and help address climate disruption. Essential to this plan is reducing the demand for electricity from dirty fossil fuels by increasing energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable resources like wind and solar. This approach will have significant benefits for all American families, particularly in the Appalachian region where residents stand to gain from cleaner water and air, a stronger economy and a safer future.

A statement from Appalachian Voices’ Executive Director Tom Cormons:

Today’s announcement marks a critical opportunity to shift toward cleaner, more sustainable ways to power our lives and in turn create a major economic boost to our region.

By leveraging the Clean Power Plan, states across the Southeast can create tens of thousands of clean energy jobs by expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy markets. In addition to new jobs and a stronger economy, the Clean Power Plan will save Americans money on their monthly electricity bills. These opportunities are especially important for low-income communities and areas directly impacted by recent changes in energy markets.

In Virginia, Governor McAuliffe is focused on building a New Virginia Economy, including revitalizing communities in southwestern Virginia. The Clean Power Plan can be an especially positive force for change in this region, and we look forward to working with the McAuliffe administration to make that happen.

In North Carolina, many politicians are grandstanding against the EPA, disregarding the science behind the rule and the health and economic well-being of their constituents. Appalachian Voices and other public interest organizations stand ready to work with North Carolina’s leadership to fully leverage the Clean Power Plan to the best advantage of citizens all across the Tar Heel state, particularly lower-income communities and communities of color that have the most to gain from lower electric bills, new jobs and business opportunities, and healthier air and water.


The Southeast has the largest untapped energy efficiency resource of any region in the country, with 29% of the nation’s total potential, according to a 2009 analysis from McKinsey Global Energy and Markets. By the same token, families in the Southeast pay a higher percentage of their income for electricity compared to the national average, according to a report from Appalachian Voices.

One primary reason is that in the largely rural area of Appalachia, homes are less energy efficient than average, while poverty rates are generally above average, meaning families can’t afford to make home improvements that would save them money and energy.

According to a 2009 report by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, implementation of energy efficiency policies in Appalachia could create 77,300 jobs by 2030.


Appalachian Voices is an award-winning, nonprofit organization that brings people together to protect the communities and natural resources of the Appalachian region by promoting a shift from polluting energy practices, including mountaintop removal coal mining, to a cleaner, more just and sustainable energy future.