WASHINGTON—A coalition of coal community, Native American, labor, and science groups sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris today, asking them to keep a campaign promise to help coal communities and workers who are struggling economically because of the reduced demand for coal.
“We know that the science demands bold action on climate change, but we also know that workers and communities dependent on the fossil fuel industry are in danger of being further left behind in the transition,” said Jeremy Richardson, a senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) who comes from a long line of West Virginia coal miners. “We’re excited that the Biden administration is prioritizing action on climate change right out of the gate, and that he sees addressing climate change as a driver of new union jobs. We’re urging him to give coal workers and communities a fighting chance to be a part of the clean energy economy by prioritizing robust and sustained federal support for place-based solutions.”
In its letter, the coalition, of which UCS is part, referred President Biden to its comprehensive National Economic Transition Platform, released in June 2020, and called on him to take immediate action, specifically by creating a White House Office of Economic Transition and providing funding for programs that help coal workers transition into well-paying jobs and communities rebuild their flagging local economies.
According to the letter, “The fossil fuel sector is currently in turmoil, and the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the decline of the coal sector and the closure of coal plants and mines, leaving communities little time to prepare for transition.”
The coalition pointed out, “The critical action underway to tackle the climate crisis must also ensure that the communities that produced the fuels that powered America for generations—the places where we live and work, from Navajo Nation to the Powder River Basin to Appalachia and beyond—are not left behind.”