Giving Communities a Voice
Coal plants and mines have long been the economic engine and lifeblood for communities throughout the country. As America’s energy sector evolves, we must make a national commitment to seize this opportunity in a way that does not leave behind the communities that have powered our nation for generations. Doing so requires engaging these communities and including their insights and ideas in any and all transition policies.
Transition efforts must also allow for local control and priorities while supporting the plans that community economic developers have created for the places they call home.
Trust What’s Already Working
Across the country, innovative ideas grounded in local efforts are not only creating economic opportunities, but also building resilience for workers and communities affected by the transition away from a coal-based economy. Recognizing this potential—and the need for a coordinated national response—Just Transition Fund worked with its partners to develop the National Economic Transition Platform. Informed by leaders of impacted communities and featuring workforce and economic development solutions that are already working at the local level, the initiative aims to provide national leaders with the framework for a comprehensive community and worker transition program. The National Economic Transition Platform focuses on seven pillars:
- Invest in local leaders to help communities plan and respond.
- Invest in restorative economic development that allows entrepreneurs and locally-owned small businesses to grow diverse economic sectors that contribute to stronger, more resilient communities, improved public health, restored ecosystems, and equitable opportunities for all people.
- Provide a broad workforce development and worker health system that creates viable pathways to quality, family-sustaining jobs.
- Reclaim, remediate, and reuse coal sites to create jobs while restoring land and clean water.
- Invest in physical and social infrastructure to stimulate economic development and build a foundation for change.
- Protect workers, taxpayers, communities, and the environment during bankruptcies.
- Empower local communities to coordinate and access federal resources.
Taking Hold from Local to National Level
The Biden Administration’s move to establish an Interagency Working Group is a direct result of the National Economic Transition initiative and is a critical first step, but additional action is needed.
As the new Interagency Working Group moves forward, Just Transition Fund and its partners will continue to work with federal, state, and local leaders to advance these objectives. To learn the latest updates, visit the NET Platform and sign up for transition updates.