WASHINGTON DC- The Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Communities and Economic Revitalization today announced the creation of a new Four Corners Rapid Response Team (RRT), bringing together 11 federal agencies and their staff regional to partner with local officials and community leaders in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah as they navigate the region’s energy transitions and transformations.
“Energy workers and communities have powered communities for generations,” said US Undersecretary of Energy David Turk.” We are thrilled that the Biden-Harris administration has made available billions in investments to help these communities realize new economic activities that are equitable and accessible to all.
Today’s announcement follows a visit by federal leaders to the Farmington/San Juan County area, focused on prioritizing federal and private investments in Four Corners energy communities. Federal officials including National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, White House Deputy National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk and Deputy Secretary Brad Crabtree, and IWG Executive Director Brian Anderson, along with leaders from the tribal sector, philanthropy, labor and the private sector were in attendance.
The day trip included visits to the Chuza Oil and Gas Wells and the San Juan Solar Project near the San Juan Generating Station. A private roundtable was also held at the San Juan College of Energy to address challenges facing energy communities and identify opportunities to support energy and economic transition in the Four Corners region and discuss opportunities for energy communities in the new law on the reduction of inflation.
The new RRT will align federal resources, including regional field staff in the Four Corners area, to key communities experiencing recent or imminent economic impacts as a result of coal mine and power plant closures. Federal agencies that are part of the RRT will partner with these workers, communities, and public servants to help them map their current assets and opportunities, navigate and access federal policies and programs, and take advantage of important new resources available through President Biden’s bipartisan Inflation Reduction and Infrastructure Act. Law.
“Today’s announcement of the Rapid Response Team is a big step in the right direction for revitalizing our nation’s energy communities. This team will help integrate the efforts of local leaders and federal agencies that will support these communities in their economic transitions. We heard loud and clear from the people of the Four Corners that what they need is opportunity – opportunities to work, learn new skills, succeed and thrive financially,” said IWG Executive Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D. “I am optimistic about what the future holds for the energy communities of the Four Corners and look forward to continuing to engage with the amazing people of this region.”
The Four Corners RRT will be led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, which played a key role in leading the regional I-West initiative focused on the region’s transition to a clean energy economy. In addition, the RRT will include support from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Health, and Human Services, and the Treasury, as well as the Environmental Protection and Economic Development Administration. The Four Corners RRT will also work closely with the White House Council on Native American Affairs to ensure a strong focus on tribal self-determination in energy transition work in this region. The historic investments of the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Cut Inflation Act provide energy communities with a wealth of opportunities to revitalize communities, diversify the workforce and support energy workers.
The Four Corners RRT is modeled after a similar effort piloted in Wyoming. The IWG will announce additional regional RRTs in the coming months. The RRT is part of the IWG’s primary goal of creating a national community-driven energy community assistance network in partnership with federal, state, tribal, local, and non-governmental organizations and leaders.
The IWG also offers energy communities a centralized, easily searchable resource to access funding opportunities across the federal government at www.energycommunities.gov. The site currently has nearly 170 open or planned opportunities, totaling nearly $240 billion in grants for projects related to workforce development, broadband, environmental cleanup and more.
Created by executive order during President Biden’s first week in office, the IWG pursues a whole-of-government approach to create well-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, address environmental degradation, and support workers in energy in coal, oil and gas. , and power plant communities across the country as the United States prepares to undergo a historic energy shift toward a zero-carbon electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions nationwide. economy by 2050.