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by Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
Energy Policy Now

Coal Communities Seek Their Post-Coal Future


Heidi Binko, Executive Director of the Just Transition Fund, discusses the challenges coal communities face in adapting to a post-coal future, and strategies for economic transition.


Over the past decade the number of workers directly employed in the U.S. coal industry has fallen by half, as coal has been replaced by cheaper sources of energy such as natural gas and renewable power. From the Appalachian mountains in the East, to the Powder River Basin and tribal communities in the West, the continued decline of the coal industry has been devastating, depriving workers of livelihoods, and towns of revenue to support essential services.

Yet coal communities often have a deep sense of place, and the drive to remain, reinvent, and rebuild is strong.

Heidi Binko, Executive Director of the Just Transition Fund, discusses the impact on coal-dependent communities when the industries that sustain them leave, and looks at efforts of the same communities to find new paths of development and create economically diverse and sustainable futures. She also offers a view of strategies that may help communities facing transition.

Heidi Binko is Executive Director of the Just Transition Fund, an organization that provides access to funding and technical assistance for coal communities.

Related Content

Efficiency and Diversification: A Framework for Sustainably Transitioning to a Carbon-Neutral Economy https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/efficiency-and-diversification-a-framework-for-sustainably-transitioning-to-a-carbon-neutral-economy/

Rebalancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/


Episode 16

Season 5

by Kleinman Center for Energy Policy