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NYS legislation gives ratepayers a voice in utility increases; Georgia Supreme Court reinstates 6-week abortion ban; L.A. Trash Club' helps unhoused people and the community


A Supreme Court case could have broad implications for the future of U.S. elections, results show voters rejected election deniers in many statewide races, and the concession phone call may be a thing of the past.


A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

In WV, a Push to Rebuild Economy from the 'Ground Up'


Thursday, June 30, 2022   

A new coalition of businesses and nonprofits in West Virginia is ready to create at least 3,000 new green industry jobs. They say they just need the funding to do so.

Brandon Dennison, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Coalfield Development, is leading the coalition called Appalachian Climate Technology (ACT Now). Dennison said the coalition is a finalist in the Biden Administration's Build Back Better Regional Challenge, and if selected will be awarded $100 million to jump-start the region's economy in expanding the solar industry, sustainably reclaiming former mine lands, retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient, and attracting green manufacturers to the area.

"There's a unique opening in time right now, where we can really take a leap forward for this region, and that would have tremendously positive outcomes for our country," Dennison asserted. "And if you think about it from a climate-change perspective, really positive outcomes for our planet. "

Dennison added they will find out if they've been selected in the next few months.

Numerous studies have pointed to renewable energy such as wind and solar as a way to create good-paying jobs for Appalachian communities left behind. One report released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found the Mountain State has the potential to create thousands of jobs in solar energy, wind energy, battery storage and energy efficiency.

Dennison noted many West Virginians are not counting on coal as a means to support their families or supply the next generation with a livelihood.

"In many ways, we've sort of gone through the stages of grief with the coal industry, and come to an acceptance that coal is never going to be what it was," Dennison observed. "We might not be happy about that, but if we are going to survive, we're going to have to adapt."

Federal data show U.S. coal production has decreased by more than 24% since 2019.

Since then, the average number of employees at U.S. coal mines decreased by more than 10,000 employees. Supporters of the coal industry argued fossil fuels are essential to keeping Americans' power supply affordable.

Disclosure: Just Transition Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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