Just Transition

Appalachia has many strengths and faces many challenges. Some of those are addressed in a new book produced by the Ohio Valley ReSource, a public media reporting collaborative made up of reporters from West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we discuss the idea of a “just transition” in Appalachia.

The show begins with a pitch from Democrats last week during the Democratic National Convention to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. To do so, the party says it must invest millions in coal-dependent communities, creating strong union jobs in the renewable energy sector that will replace old jobs working with fossil fuels. 

Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

A coalition of progressive policy and environmental groups has released a “blueprint” that provides a framework for how Ohio Valley communities could reap the benefits of federal action to address climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern Kentucky.
Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s $2 trillion clean energy plan is drawing praise from organizations that work with coal communities on economic transition, but mixed reactions from union officials and industry groups. 

 

Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern Kentucky.
Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

Environmental and economic advocacy groups from coal-producing parts of the country unveiled a policy agenda on Monday to help coal-reliant communities make a transition to a more sustainable future.

John Hale/ WVPB

Most people rarely think about where food comes from. We go to the grocery store and have so much to choose from. But global experts say small and medium-sized farms are critical to future food systems. That’s what we’ve got here in Appalachia, but more and more farmers across our region are facing economic challenges.

Kudzu grows near a coal preparation plant in eastern Kentucky.
Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

On a recent soggy Wednesday evening, dozens of West Virginians packed a conference room inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center to discuss the need for a “just transition” for coal-impacted communities.

As the nation grapples with climate change, the need for a fair transition for workers and communities that depend upon coal jobs and revenue has also gained traction.

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As Democratic 2020 presidential candidates embrace sweeping climate proposals like the Green New Deal to move the U.S. away from fossil fuels, United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts told a crowd of reporters and miners gathered in D.C. that those policies could further harm an already struggling coal industry. 

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign stop Thursday, May 5, at the Morgantown Event Center.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will visit Kentucky and West Virginia just days after releasing his plan to address climate change.

Sanders is scheduled to speak in Louisville, Kentucky, Sunday. He planned to visit Morgantown, West Virginia, Monday, but plans to visit the Mountain State have since been canceled.

Conesville coal plant
Brittany Patterson / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Brick buildings line the wide sidewalks of Main Street in downtown Coshocton, Ohio. On a recent spring day the dogwood trees are blooming. Bright red and white tulips dot the grassy public square, home to the local courthouse and a gazebo.

There are barber shops, an optometrist, a florist, a railroad-themed steakhouse is open for lunch. A trendy public art installment features a small roller coaster designed and built by the local high school and a marquee that blinks “be nice to others.”