Community support for the National Economic Transition Platform

Jeanie Alderson, Birney, Montana
Rancher and Board Chair of Northern Plains Resource Council

“Rural Montana has gone through so many boom-and-bust cycles, and we’re seeing the coal industry bust again. This means lay-offs and lost income for many of my neighbors, and big cuts to local government budgets, not to mention the emotional toll of so much sudden loss and change. The only way to mitigate these impacts is by investing in the real, long-term strengths of each place: the people, the land, our local institutions, and the economic sectors that don’t rely on coal. This platform is a call to action to ensure that our communities aren’t punished for our country’s reliance on coal now that the transition is here. And I believe that these investments will help Montana coal communities weather this storm and thrive into the future.”

Contact:
Dustin Ogden, Northern Plains Resource Council, 406-248-1154 x 114
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Heidi Binko
Executive Director, Just Transition Fund

“From Appalachia to western tribal lands, the families and workers in America’s coalfields and coal plants fueled the greatest economic expansion our country has ever witnessed. As coal declines, these communities deserve the investment they need to make a just and fair transition to a brighter economic future. Created by a diverse set of local leaders from all around the country, the NET platform presents an ambitious path forward for America’s transitioning coal communities. As the pandemic hastens coal’s decline, there’s no time to waste. Federal decision-makers must embrace this plan, invest in our transitioning coal communities, and help families and workers build a brighter future.”

Contact:
Trey Pollard, tpollard@justtransitionfund.org, 202-904-9187
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Lou Ann Wallace, St. Paul, Va.
District II Russell County Board of Supervisors, Virginia

“Communities in Virginia’s Great Southwest have been working diligently for years to bring new economic opportunities to our region. We’ve taken great pride in powering America for generations, and we believe that Federal commitments and investment will bring our new vision to fruition. This new way of thinking and working will once again bring employment opportunities back to the Heart of the Appalachian Mountains.”
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Adam Wells, Wise County, Va.
Regional Director of Community and Economic Development, Appalachian Voices

“An equitable, sustainable economic transition won’t happen on its own or overnight, in Appalachia or anywhere else. Deliberate, bold and swift interventions at a national scale are absolutely necessary. If we do this right, the communities and workers that gave the most in the fossil fuel based economy of the last century will be among the first to benefit from the emerging new economy; failure is not an option.”

Contact: Cat McCue, cat@appvoices.org, 434-293-6373
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Roger Carver, Nucla, Colorado
Retired coal miner and former president of UMW Local Union 1281, and member of the Western Colorado Alliance

“As a former coal miner and resident of a coal community dealing with the closing of both a plant and mine, I support the National Economic Transition Platform. It will help accelerate economically depressed coal communities like Nucla forward into the future. We have to start moving forward, not backwards, and invest in a better future for all and the next generations. The sooner we act on these ideas the better.”

Contact:
Emily Hornback, Western Colorado Alliance, 207-329-0322
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Veronica Coptis, Pennsylvania
Executive Director, Center for Coalfield Justice

“Coal communities like ours have been historically neglected by everybody. We were already facing the challenges of a changing coal economy when COVID-19 hit; now we’re facing a pandemic and an urgent economic crisis on top of it. Many of us already weren’t on equal footing after decades of inequality and widespread poverty. The NET platform is based on community-driven solutions from those of us who know what we need because we live here. These are solutions that create inclusive, equitable, and sustainable economic growth, driven from the ground up. Now we need a federal government committed to investing in our community-driven solutions. This platform gives federal and national leaders the framework to develop a program for the just and equitable national transition that our communities need and deserve.”

Contact:
Veronica Coptis, veronica@coalfieldjustice.org
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Brandon Dennison, West Virginia
CEO, Coalfield Development

“The NET platform represents a bold vision for coal communities across the country. This vision came to be from the bottom up, unlike so many other top-down policy efforts of year’s past. Coal communities can be the leader of our country’s transition to a newer, cleaner, fairer economy. All we need is investment to do so. NET represents the best chance yet to position our communities as the vanguard of the climate resilient economy our planet desperately needs.”

Contact:
Brandon Dennison, bdennison@coalfield-development.org
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Joyce Evans, Fort Laramie, Wyoming
Vice Chair of Powder River Basin Resource Councils

“Anyone in Wyoming who wants to receive an education, preschool through graduate levels, is attending a system funded by coal. Anyone who works here, whether it be in transportation or mental health, is benefiting from coal dollars. State pensions are funded by coal and other mineral extraction. Coal has paid for our rodeos and our community centers. Coal funds emergency requests I, as the mayor of a tiny town in eastern Wyoming, make to the state for a new water pump for our municipal water system. And, now, coal is disappearing. When I read the NET Platform, I thought, here, at last, is a sensible plan that respects the resources, the diversity of needs, and the human communities that have been impacted so long by coal. This is a re-investment system where tax dollars already paid are put back into those places that now need them. It is only right that places and people that give their all for generations to power our country are restored to whole.”

Contact:
Jill Morrison, Powder River Basin Resource Council, 307-751-5574
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Peter Hille, Kentucky
President, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED)

“As we look to build a new economy in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky, we know there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. We have to try a lot of different things and connect them in ways that work. And, now with the ongoing impact from the collapse of coal and the economic fallout from a pandemic, we can’t afford to wait any longer. The National Economic Transition platform captures community-driven solutions from our region, and beyond, and serves as a practical guide for political leaders to reinvest in our coal communities in a just and equitable way.”

Contact:
Peter Hille, peter@maced.org, 859-986-2373
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Jeremy Richardson
Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

“Hardworking families deserve a fighting chance to be a part of the emerging clean energy economy. Coal production and consumption is changing in this country, and already struggling coal workers and coal communities will be left deep in crisis without real leadership from all levels of government combined with strong, sustained federal investments. The National Economic Transition platform gives policymakers a roadmap to community-led solutions, and they must take notice.”

Contact:
Ashanti Washington, 202-710-6946, awashington@ucsusa.org
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Natalie Roper, West Virginia
Executive Director, Generation West Virginia

“At Generation West Virginia, we see the impacts of the declining coal economy as too many young West Virginians feel like they have to leave the state for opportunities, or they struggle to create the lives here that they deserve. In our work throughout the state, we see young people who are stepping up to build thriving and equitable communities where they can choose to stay. We know a different future is possible. By signing on to the National Economic Transition platform, we encourage our national leaders to invest in and support these pillars that represent these local visions that we are inspired by each day.”

Contact:
Natalie Roper, natalie@generationwv.org
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James Slevin
President, Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO

“Coal plant closures are changing regions and ways of life too rapidly for small communities to adapt on their own. Using the Just Transition Fund’s National Economic Transition (NET) framework offers lawmakers and community leaders an inclusive, community-driven approach to address this urgent crisis. Tens of millions of people in these communities are depending on us now to make the bold political and economic investment to get this transition right.”

Contact:
Erin Bzymek, 202-702-9655, ebzymek@uwua.net
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Jason Walsh
Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance

“We are already in the midst of an energy transition and the Trump administration’s denial of that is only harming those already struggling. Working people should not have to suffer economically due to the shift to cleaner, cheaper forms of energy, but a transition that is fair for workers and communities isn’t something that will just happen organically. Prioritizing workers and communities in coal-impacted communities needs to be a deliberate choice. A fair and equitable transition and the creation of good-paying, union jobs need to be baked into our solutions on climate change, this platform presents a path forward to do just that.”

Contact:
Abby Harvey, aharvey@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-709-5113
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