Projects Are Part of $465 Million Invested in Appalachia’s Energy Communities Under the Biden-Harris Administration
COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 18, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Justin Maxson today announced that the Department is investing more than $20 million in rural communities that are vital to helping sustain the country’s energy production. These awards are part of $465 million the Biden-Harris Administration has invested through USDA Rural Development in Appalachia’s priority energy communities.
“Supporting communities that have had – and with USDA’s assistance, will continue to have – a key role in the development and use of domestic energy will help rural areas retain jobs, grow their economies and maintain their important role in supporting the nation’s energy independence,” Maxson said. “Investments like these show that under the leadership of President Biden, the federal government is working with rural communities in a seamless and nimble way to ensure rural residents and workers can compete for good jobs and thrive for generations to come.”
“USDA Rural Development is in a unique position to help rural communities rebuild and provide essential services,” said Jonathan McCracken, Ohio State Director. “Community facilities and the services they provide are the lifeblood of our rural communities, and when we invest in these services, we build opportunity and prosperity for rural Ohio,”
USDA is investing in three communities with funds from four Rural Development programs that demonstrate the Department’s coordinated approach to creating good-paying union jobs, spurring economic revitalization, and contributing to the clean energy transition while supporting energy workers in coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities across the country. The funding will help build and upgrade power distribution lines and improve physical and community infrastructure.
The funding will help rural communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia which are part of twenty-five communities historically reliant on energy production that have been prioritized for federal investment. These investments reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s near- and long-term actions to support energy communities as the nation transitions to a clean-energy economy. These policies and goals are outlined in greater detail by the White House-led Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization.
The award recipients announced today are:
- In Pennsylvania, Central Electric Cooperative will use a $20 million Electric Program loan to build and improve 111 miles of line and connect 795 people. The loan includes $115,153 in smart grid technologies. Smart grid uses digital communications to help utilities better manage the power grid and detect and react to local changes in electricity usage. Central Electric serves about 25,000 customers over 3,049 miles of line in seven counties in western Pennsylvania.
- In West Virginia, the Norton Harding Jimtown Public Service District will use a $363,000 Water and Waste Disposal grant to extend and upgrade a gravity collection sewer system and pump stations along State Route 151 and additional areas in Norton.
- In Ohio, Pease Township in Belmont County will use a $62,000 Community Facilities Program loan to purchase a dump truck with a snowplow and salt spreader to maintain more than 45 miles of roads in the county.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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