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Here’s How Appalachian States Can Create “Good-Paying, Union Jobs” Cleaning Up Mines

By Ben Hunkler - Ohio River Valley Institute, August 25 2022

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) earmarks $16 billion for cleaning up legacy damage from the coal and gas industries, an investment that Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, has promised will create “good-paying, union jobs” across Appalachia.

Ohio River Valley Institute research shows that BIL funding could create as many as 4,000 jobs reclaiming coal mine damage, primarily in Appalachian counties with disproportionately high unemployment and poverty rates. But how will these jobs compare to the precarious, low- wage jobs that proliferate in the region? They may provide above-average wages, but they likely won’t be union and won’t pay enough to support a family.

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