A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices

Across Appalachia

Interagency Group Aims to Get Federal Funds to Coal Communities

By Ben Bolling

The Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization was created by President Biden via executive order during his first week in office. In April 2021, the IWG released its initial report to the president identifying energy communities across the country that have been impacted by the closures of coal mines and coal-fired power plants.

Two men sitting in conversation

Bethel Brock of the Southwest Virginia Black Lung Association, left, meets with Briggs White, deputy director of the IWG, right, at the Appalachian Voices office in Norton, Virginia. White led a discussion about federal assistance for communities undergoing an energy transition with representatives from six agencies at the 2022 Virginia Brownfields Conference held in June and met with environmental, black lung and economic development advocates. Photo by Ben Bolling


The IWG report advised the administration to prioritize these energy communities for federal investment and identified nearly $38 billion from existing federal programs that could provide immediate funding opportunities.

The IWG also created an online database where energy communities may search government-wide resource opportunities to “fund infrastructure, environmental remediation, job creation and community revitalization efforts.”

The Assistance to Coal Communities program through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration is one of the many resources available through the IWG clearinghouse. This economic assistance includes a revolving loan fund program that “supplies small businesses and entrepreneurs with the gap financing needed to start or expand their business.”

The Appalachian Regional Commission’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative is another funding opportunity with a track record of success in the region. According to ARC, the POWER Initiative “has invested more than $319.3 million in 395 projects touching 358 counties across Appalachia” creating or retaining 36,600 jobs since 2015.

Learn more about federal funding opportunities for coal-impacted communities at energycommunities.gov/funding-opportunities.

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2022 — Summer

2022 — Summer




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