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Kentucky Association of Counties


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Webster County selected for EPA pilot program

Webster County one of just two communities nationwide to participate.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that two communities -- Webster County, Kentucky and the Hopi Tribe in Arizona -- will receive technical assistance through the Energy Communities Technical Assistance Pilot program. EPA and recipient communities will work together to develop implementable action plans that promote environmental and economic revitalization as part of their energy sector transformation.

Webster County will use the Energy Communities Pilot to empower its community to identify and leverage resources and partnerships to encourage new and diverse economic opportunities.

The county is still experiencing the economic effects of its last mine closure in 2019 and is home to extensive abandoned mine land which the community would like to see rehabilitated and put to alternative uses.

“Our community has taken several strides toward revitalization and through the Energy Communities Pilot, we’re hoping to take steps toward giving current residents and future generations reason to stay in Webster County and have choices for a thriving economic future,” said Steve Henry, Webster County Judge/Executive.

Since 2021, EPA’s Office of Policy has played a leading role in the implementation of work conducted by the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization in coal-impacted communities, supporting Rapid Response Teams in six regions of the country.

The technical assistance will enhance community planning capacity to respond to urgent needs related to the energy transition, including leveraging private sector and philanthropic funding assistance, cleaning up and redeveloping abandoned power plant and mining areas, expanding community economic revitalization opportunities, together with workforce transition, and improving overall quality of life. The project will help communities develop the necessary planning to:

  • Safely and equitably reuse and redevelop sites after coal mine and power plant closures.
  • Boost opportunities for workforce development, training and apprenticeships.
  • Improve partnerships between local and tribal governments, organizations, residents and the private sector to ensure local investments in clean energy and manufacturing are aligned with the community’s energy transition goals.

As part of the technical assistance, EPA staff will support projects in two communities, including convening federal, state, regional and local partners, and provide contractor support, for two-day in-person workshops. After holding two workshops and having conversations with all the Rapid Response Teams, EPA will develop a playbook for use by any energy community during transition planning and implementation. The playbook will identify initial steps that communities can take to plan their energy sector transition and economic diversification to create a more resilient and robust local economy.

Read the full EPA press release here.

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