Federal Agencies Announce New Effort to Improve the Economy of Appalachia

More than a dozen federal agencies announced on Friday a new collaboration in order “to strengthen and diversify the Appalachian economy, improve the health and welfare of its people and to protect the environment.”

The agencies participating in the agreement include the US Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Department of the Treasury, Department of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Business Administration.

The agreement is an outgrowth of a series of listening sessions that took place over the past years throughout the Appalachian Region.

Participating agencies agreed to:

  • Commit a representative to an Interagency Coordinating Council (Council) on Appalachia. This council will be chaired by the Appalachian Regional Commission’s federal co-chair;
  • Commit local senior agency representatives to three regional steering committees covering each of Northern, Central, and Southern Appalachia.
  • Support the Council’s efforts to develop a strategy to further the purposes of the Appalachian Regional Development Act. As part of this effort, the Council will work with participating agencies to gather information on prior year funding in Appalachia. In addition, the Council will work with agencies to identify challenges encountered in their work in Appalachia and help formulate mitigating strategies;
  • Collaborate with States, local governments, and regional stakeholders, as appropriate, to develop strategic initiatives and partnerships to pursue particular goals developed through this initiative;
  • Participate in a Federal technical assistance outreach initiative across Appalachia to better inform citizens on how to access Federal grant assistance programs;
  • Collaborate with a Federal Advisory Board to assess demographic, economic, and natural resource trends in the Appalachian Region and identify issues where additional Federal attention is needed to support community and regional development efforts; and
  • Actively seek opportunities, as appropriate, to collaborate with other Federal agencies to support activities and investments in Appalachia related to the goals of this Memorandum.

A copy of the memorandum of understanding may be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/supportdocuments/ARDIMOU11-4-10.pdf.

Kristin Tracz

About Kristin Tracz

Kristin Tracz served MACED’s Research and Policy team from 2009-2012 working on clean energy policy, energy efficiency programs and the Appalachian Transition Initiative. She joined MACED after finishing her Master of Environmental Management degree at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She now lives and works in Washington, DC.