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The ground rules seem to have been set concerning the sexual assault allegations against nominee Brett Kavenaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: we will take you to a state where more than 60 thousand kids are chronically absent; plus the rural digital divide a two-fold problem for Kentucky.

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Support and Opposition to Federal Money for Coal Transition

Towns and counties in neighboring states are voicing support for a federal plan to help shift away from coal, although there is more opposition in West Virginia. Credit: Sierra Club.
Towns and counties in neighboring states are voicing support for a federal plan to help shift away from coal, although there is more opposition in West Virginia. Credit: Sierra Club.
September 8, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Towns and counties in neighboring states are lining up behind a federal plan to fund the transition away from coal, although there is opposition in West Virginia.

The Power Plus plan is a White House initiative to target areas losing mining and power plant jobs.

West Virginia's members of Congress have attacked it, since it comes along with Environmental Protection Agency limits on carbon pollution.

But a dozen local governments in Kentucky, Tennessee and southwest Virginia have passed resolutions in favor.

Kate Rooth, campaign director of the grassroots environmental group Appalachian Voices, says other local bodies are considering similar resolutions.

"It is overwhelming – boards of supervisors, local town councils – and they're not just passing, they're passing with unanimous support," she relates.

The White House describes Power Plus as funding a wide range of initiatives – research and development, infrastructure, worker retraining, employment subsidies and reclaiming mine lands for development projects.

It would also shore up health and pension plans for retired miners and their families.

No local governments in West Virginia have lined up behind the plan, and Republicans in the state's congressional delegation all have voiced strong opposition to it.

Rooth says that makes little sense, especially since coal's problems go beyond environmental rules.

"I see it as a no-brainer,” she states. “This is a plan that is designed to help their communities, and it's something that they should absolutely not just support, but get behind and champion so that they can bring home this money to their community."

One part of the plan would speed up the distribution of Abandoned Mine Lands funds. Over five years, Power Plus would take $1 billion from the existing $2.5 billion AML fund and target it to communities hit by falling coal production.

Another part would increase federal support for research and development into carbon sequestration.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV