Last year, the Obama administration accelerated the conversation about economic transition in Appalachia when it proposed a multi-billion dollar plan to invest in economic development in areas most affected by the coal industry’s decline.
The president’s eighth and final budget intends to continue that conversation.
On Tuesday morning, President Obama sent his plan for the federal government’s expenses during fiscal year 2017 to Congress. It lays out the president’s vision for spending on everything from clean energy to cancer research. We’re happy to announce that the POWER+ Plan is included.
The version of POWER+ in the new budget essentially mirrors last year’s plan. It calls for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds to be spent cleaning up abandoned strip mines, and to support economic development and workforce training in mining communities facing massive layoffs as coal is increasingly outcompeted in America’s energy mix.
The most significant difference may be the increased urgency of investments in Central Appalachia as some of the nation’s largest coal companies announce more layoffs, close mines and file for bankruptcy.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog or The Appalachian Voice, you know we’ve tracked the ups and downs of POWER+ over the past year. This time around, we hope to see Congress give this promising plan the attention it deserves.
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