Shortly after taking office in January, President Biden established the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, also known as the Coal Communities Working Group. This group of cabinet secretaries and other federal officials is charged with crafting policy and delivering resources to revitalize the economy in communities that have recently lost jobs as result of the country’s move away from coal and other fossil fuels.
In many Appalachian coal communities, capable people are out of work while more young people enter the workforce each year. And those communities also bear vast environmental degradation from unreclaimed coal mines, thousands of workers suffering from black lung and other occupational health conditions, and the same sorts of racism and violence that are common across the nation.
But the good news is that our communities already know what we need to address all of these problems, and the Coal Communities Working Group wants to hear from us.
Sept. 16, 6 p.m.: In this webinar, we will dive into updates about the Working Group and what’s coming, how grassroots leaders and activists can influence the conversation, and start building our collective vision for coal-impacted communities.
The Coal Communities Working Group is committed to hosting a series of town hall (or listening session) events in impacted communities, as well as workshops and webinars. Check back often for new events.
Take Action: Tell the White House to Ensure Coal Mines are Cleaned Up
Our country’s use of coal over more than a century has left us with an extensive backlog of coal mine cleanup needs across the country. More than $20 billion worth of coal mines abandoned prior to 1977 are still left to reclaim. And mines currently owned and operated by coal companies cover nearly 900,000 acres in need of reclamation.
There are many steps state and federal governments can take to ensure cleanup of coal mines is done well and done quickly. Mine reclamation is one key issue we believe the White House Coal Communities Working Group should be focused on. If you agree, submit the following comment to the Coal Communities Working Group. Feel free to edit the comment based on your own thoughts or experiences regarding mine reclamation.
Stay tuned for more comment opportunities about other issues important to coal-impacted communities.