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Clinton proposes aid for coalfield communities

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announced Thursday a multi-billion-dollar plan to help coalfield communities stabilize and restructure their economies as coal’s spot in the national energy mix fades and job losses mount.

Clinton’s campaign released about a dozen proposals — some specific, some quite vague — focused on securing past commitments to miners and mining communities and developing and diversifying coalfield economies.

The campaign said the proposals total $30 billion, although it did not provide specifics as to how that number was reached.

Domestic coal consumption has fallen by 25 percent in the past 10 years and is not expected to rebound, even if the Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama’s plan to limit greenhouse gases from power plants, is not implemented.

Clinton, the former secretary of state and leading Democratic presidential candidate, supports the Clean Power Plan, which would further limit coal consumption, and has said it does not go far enough in fighting climate change.

“But we can’t ignore the impact this transition is already having on mining communities, or the threat it poses to the health care and retirement security of coalfield workers and their families,” the Clinton campaign wrote in announcing its plan. “This is particularly true in Appalachia, where production has been declining for decades.”

Clinton’s plan revisits some aspects of Obama’s “POWER Plus” proposal to aid coalfield communities, which has been shunned by West Virginia’s congressional delegation and all but ignored by Congress. However, it also contains several new proposals…

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