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NETL-Supported Interagency Working Group Honored by the National Association of Government Communicators
Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards logo

The Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG), which is supported by NETL, has been awarded a second-place 2024 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Award from the National Association of Government Communicators for the “Catalyzing Economic Development in Pennsylvania’s Energy Communities” event held Oct. 20, 2023, at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood, Pennsylvania.

“We are proud to support the Energy Communities IWG’s mission to coordinate 11 federal agencies and the White House to help ensure federal funding, such as from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, benefits people in America’s energy communities, as the nation transitions to clean energy,” said Marianne Walck, NETL director. “This vision nicely complements NETL’s mission because we have similar goals. Direct engagement with energy community stakeholders is critical to facilitating massive investments in good jobs, economic development and environmental cleanup.”

The event convened approximately 200 community leaders and stakeholders in southwestern Pennsylvania’s coal, oil and gas communities, including state and local officials, local economic development leaders, nonprofits, businesses, investors, labor unions, community colleges and universities, philanthropic interests, the news media and others interested in learning more about the billions of dollars in federal funding available to help spur economic revitalization.

Brian Anderson, executive director of the Energy Communities IWG, hosted the event. Speakers included Jennifer Granholm, secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy; Josh Shapiro, governor of Pennsylvania; Ali Zaidi, national climate advisor for the Climate Policy Office; Bob Casey, U.S. senator for Pennsylvania; Gayle Connelly Manchin, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission; and Phil Smith, United Mine Workers of America representative. Six media outlets attended, resulting in nine positive news articles from outlets with a combined audience reach of nearly 170 million.

The team prepared for the event in an accelerated two-month timeframe. To ensure success, they hosted five listening sessions with stakeholders in the region’s energy communities to learn their perspectives, priorities and community challenges. The team used these insights to influence the agenda of the event, which ultimately included networking with 14 federal agencies, local and federal panels and breakout sessions. They promoted the event through emails and social media posts and tapped into existing local partnerships to increase attendance.

The Energy Communities IWG is pursuing a whole-of-government approach to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, remediate environmental degradation and support workers in America’s energy communities.

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By using its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.