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.
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.