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Federal initiative to invest $300 million in coal communities presents high application hurdles for West Virginia

By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Chelsea Barnes knows it’s a great opportunity.

But some communities hardest hit by the coal industry’s decline might not be prepared to capitalize.

“A lot of them aren’t ready,” said Barnes, legislative director of Appalachian Voices, an environmental nonprofit group.

An Oct. 19 deadline looms for regional coalitions to file concept proposals with the federal Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge, a competition for $1 billion in grants to help boost local economies. The EDA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, has promised $100 million for coal communities. Another $200 million for coal communities would come through a grant program for public or private nonprofit groups and institutions of higher education as well as states, counties and cities.

A federal economic and energy interagency work group in April identified Southern West Virginia as the area of the country most in need of focused investment because of its high dependence on coal and coal power-plant jobs…

To read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/energy_and_environment/federal-initiative-to-invest-300-million-in-coal-communities-presents-high-application-hurdles/article_3c40c920-d538-5ddb-be65-118fc0f81fce.html

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