FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2023
Dan Radmacher, Media Specialist, (540) 798-6683, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Biden Administration announced a series of actions intended to create jobs, opportunities and investments in energy communities, and to deploy clean energy projects on former mine lands. Appalachian Voices Executive Director Tom Cormons was invited to speak at the announcement.
At the White House event, which was live-streamed, administration officials discussed efforts to ensure that massive new federal clean energy investments secured through passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act would benefit energy communities and workers. New announcements included the long-awaited guidance on accessing a 10% bonus credit for clean energy projects in communities that have helped power the nation for generations, interagency rapid-response teams to provide targeted assistance and guidance to help communities and regions facing unique challenges access federal opportunities, and tools to help identify which communities are eligible for assistance.
“Today is just incredibly exciting because I think the work ahead of us is going to be even more demanding and even more consequential than anything we have done together so far,” Tom Cormons, executive director of Appalachian Voices and a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, said at the event. “Just increasing the order of the magnitude that we are investing in something is absolutely necessary … but it’s not sufficient. I think there’s a mutual recognition between all of us in this room that the collaborative effort to make those investments and implement them in the best possible way is what’s going to turn transformative investments into true transformation on the ground.”
The Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization also released a report summarizing the achievements of the first two years of the group’s focus on addressing the challenges facing communities impacted by coal plant and mine closures. The interagency working group outlined next steps in the effort as federal investments from recently passed legislation are implemented.
“I want to recognize that we face a pretty herculean task here, doing something truly unprecedented at a scale many of us in our communities have not had the privilege of working at up to this point,” said Cormons. “It’s with a lot of enthusiasm that I can say I look forward to working together with each and every one of you going forward, capitalizing on the amazing opportunities that our collective efforts and the commitment of the administration are providing for us.”
The administration also announced that it is making $450 million available through the bipartisan infrastructure law to advance clean energy on current and former mine lands, and announced $16 million through the infrastructure law to study extracting rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal waste streams, including acid mine drainage.
“These funding announcements will help communities impacted by the energy transition continue to innovate and prosper,” said Adam Wells, regional director of community and economic development with Appalachian Voices. “We are excited to see the administration prioritize community engagement through measures such as requiring that project applicants submit Community Benefits Agreements, and we look forward to working with agency staff to implement the administration’s Justice40 environmental justice priorities at all levels of the process.
Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a healthy environment and just economy in the Appalachian region, and a driving force in America’s shift from fossil fuels to a clean energy future.