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Advocates Believe Appalachia’s Clean Energy Transition must address Racial Inequality

Advocacy groups claim Ohio’s rural communities and towns need to confront systematic racism in order to make the renewable energy transition a success. Federal infrastructure funding for Appalachia’s should come with restrictions that ensure everyone has a fair chance to profit.

“There are individuals of color in every element throughout Ohio,” said As SeMia Bray, co-founder of Black Environmental Leaders in Cleveland. “Decisions affecting water, air, and living circumstances for people should be made with openness, equality, and responsibility in mind,” she argues in her book.

Advocates Believe Appalachia's Clean Energy Transition must address Racial InequalityFor the Ohio River Valley, the Reimagine Appalachia’s coalition’s economic strategy calls for extending broadband and updating the electric grid, restoring damage caused by the coal and petroleum sectors, and redeveloping existing industrial sites for energy-efficient and clean-energy production.During the Aug. 19 panel, Policy Matters Ohio’s Amanda Woodrum remarked, “The Appalachia’s deserve a fair part of any climate infrastructure plan.” Coal mining and oil drilling, in her opinion, have “exploited and left behind” the region.

An infrastructure measure and budget resolution has been moving forward in Congress in recent weeks. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, has stated she wants Congress to enact infrastructure legislation by September 27. Many issues, though, will need to be ironed out before grant money is distributed to states.The employment Woodrum wants to generate should pay a livable wage and come with benefits, he added. “Building paths for Black employees, Indigenous workers, and other workers of color into those good union jobs” is one of the aims of hiring.

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