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Renewables: Manchin-Stabenow proposal is good idea

West Virginians know how difficult it has been to watch the rest of the nation bask in an economic comeback while we continue to struggle. In rural Appalachia, economies are often built on industries such as coal and other fossil fuels, or heavy manufacturing, which have faced dramatic changes in recent decades. Jobs in those industries are not what they used to be.

To combat the damage done as our economies diversify and transition, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., have an idea. They have proposed an investment of $8 billion through tax credits to incentivize the creation of jobs producing batteries, electric and fuel cell vehicles, semiconductor chips and other renewable energy technologies in rural communities.

“This is basically what we need for people to make the investments so that people can have good jobs in the area where they want to live,” Manchin said.

Of course, another bonus is the production of parts and technology right here at home.

“We don’t have to be counting on it coming from overseas. We don’t have to have China doing the majority of the solar panels, or the majority of the batteries,” Stabenow said. “We can do that here. And these are great paying jobs, they are union jobs.”

Steer a little of that money toward education and training programs for those who will have to switch gears to qualify for new jobs, and it sounds like a good plan. Let us hope those who have spent their careers whittling away at traditional Appalachian employers agree.

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