economic development


A miner waiting for a black lung screening. Photo: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Black Lung, Abandoned Mines, Struggling Communities—And No Leadership

, senior energy analyst

My grandfather was the son of Italian immigrants—many of whom settled in north central West Virginia to work in the coal mines. He worked hard his whole life and built a better life for himself and our family. According to family legend, he famously told my grandmother early in their courtship, “Stick with me, and you’ll wear diamonds.” She did.

My grandfather died of black lung disease in 1988.

Thirty years later, there’s no way that other families should be going through what mine and so many others have. And yet today the disease is making a strong and frightening resurgence. How is black lung related to economic development and mine reclamation? It turns out Congress has an opportunity to address all three by passing the RECLAIM Act—but only if leaders don’t take their eyes off the ball. Read more >

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
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Photo: Wikimedia

Budget Proposal Throws Coal Communities under the Bus

, senior energy analyst

This morning the president released his “skinny” budget, an initial cut at the new administration’s priorities for government spending. This proposal will be nearly impossible to pass through Congress, but there are still many reasons to be alarmed about the proposed funding cuts (especially at NOAA, FEMA, and EPA).

One thing is absolutely clear from the proposals outlined in the skinny budget: despite many campaign promises to bring back coal jobs and support coal miners, the president doesn’t actually care about Coal Country. Read more >

Photo: Tammy Anthony Baker/Wikimedia Commons
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Congress Can and Should Act to Support Coal Communities

, senior energy analyst

Congress returns from recess to a big opportunity to support coal communities, by passing the RECLAIM Act (H.R.4456), which would release existing funding for the cleanup and redevelopment of abandoned mine lands with the goal of spurring economic development in these communities. I previously blogged about this bill when it was introduced by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY-5) back in February. This month, the House Natural Resources Committee will be considering a revised version of the bill, hopefully leading to a markup and a vote out of committee. Read more >

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House Testimony: Renewable Electricity Standards are Delivering Significant Economic Benefits Across the United States

, , director of energy research, Clean Energy

Last week, I was invited to testify at the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee, Energy and Power Subcommittee’s hearing on “Laboratories of Democracy: The Economic Impacts of State Energy Policies.” My remarks focused on the tremendous success story of state renewable electricity standards (RES) and the important economic benefits they are delivering to state and local economies, as described in more detail in this 2013 UCS report. Read more >

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Renewable Electricity Standards Deliver the Goods

, director of state policy & analysis, Clean Energy

Recent efforts to repeal renewable electricity standards (RES) by fossil-fuel backed opponents have been thwarted in Kansas and North Carolina. The reason? As a newly released review of state RES policies by the Union of Concerned Scientists report clearly shows, these popular, bipartisan policies are working effectively all over the country; affordably driving new renewable energy development and delivering substantial economic benefits to states and local communities in the process. Simply put, the facts on the ground are proving difficult to overcome for those seeking to roll back progress toward a clean energy economy. Read more >

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