Economy: Partnership offers hope for improving West Virginia
Most of us have heard the phrase “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way,” but few in political circles and King Bureaucracy’s court remember to think that way. In fact, much of what has hampered West Virginia’s ability to rise above generations-worth of economic struggle has come from a stubborn clinging to the way things have always been, and a penchant for looking backward through rose-colored glasses.
But not even those folks can deny the way things have always been done is simply no longer serving the best interests of Mountain State residents. Fortunately, through the leadership of Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin, that may be changing a bit, with the help of American Rescue Plan funding.
“We are so pleased to join forces with the (Environmental Protection Agency) on the Community Capacity-Building Pilot Program. The ARC-EPA partnership will strengthen the depth and reach of the pilot program to help our Appalachian communities maximize this historic infusion of federal funding through the ARPA Local Fiscal Recovery Fund,” Manchin said. “With this initiative, ARC will be able to better support communities across Appalachia in making investments that will reverberate throughout the region long-term.”
Perhaps by paving the way for investment in communities built by a coal economy, officials can kickstart the desperately needed economic transition and diversification that will truly give residents a chance.
“Two agencies coming together to help energy communities make best use of the American Rescue Plan’s historic infusion of funding goes right to the heart of our mission of supporting economic transformation,” said Brian Anderson, executive director of the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, perhaps this partnership will provide the something new that breaks the cycle for our flailing communities.