ARC and U.S. EPA Announce Partnership on Community Capacity-Building Pilot Program

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 29, 2021—During today’s meeting of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced their partnership on the Community Capacity-Building Pilot Program, which will help local development districts (LDDs) and local elected officials strategically deploy American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to reignite their regional economies.  

“We are so pleased to join forces with the EPA on the Community Capacity-Building Pilot Program. The ARC-EPA partnership will strengthen the depth and reach of the pilot program to help our Appalachian communities maximize this historic infusion of federal funding through the ARPA Local Fiscal Recovery Fund,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “With this initiative, ARC will be able to better support communities across Appalachia in making investments that will reverberate throughout the region long-term.” 

“EPA is excited to partner with ARC on community-driven solutions that will expand our engagement and ensure that local communities can play a meaningful role in planning for and revitalizing their own neighborhoods and towns,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “By collaborating on the Community Capacity-Building Pilot Program we can bring significant investments directly to Appalachian communities.”   

This partnership will lead to better collaboration and communication that will help pave the way for future engagements and investments in local communities including the once-in-a-generation investments that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make in creating millions of jobs, modernizing our infrastructure, improving drinking water, cleaning up contaminated sites, and turning climate change into an opportunity.  

“Two agencies coming together to help energy communities make best use of the American Rescue Plan’s historic infusion of funding goes right to the heart of our mission of supporting economic transformation,” said IWG Executive Director, Brian Anderson, Ph.D. 

ARC and EPA also announced the selection of Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) to implement the initial phase of the Pilot Program, which includes 1.) facilitating ARPA best practice sharing among LDDs, and 2.) developing a virtual training series designed to help communities identify catalytic projects that are eligible for ARPA Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. The National Association of Counties, Entreworks Consulting, and the Development District Association of Appalachia will also work with CREC to implement the training and best practice-sharing. Registration for the Community Capacity-Building Pilot Program training sessions will open in early 2022 to local development districts and local elected officials.

“This partnership with the EPA and the Community Capacity Building Pilot Program is great news for communities throughout Appalachia,” said ARC States’ Co-Chair Virginia Governor Northam. “The federal ARPA funding provides a unique opportunity for communities to build new capacity and spur regional economies, and this support will provide the tools they need to build on the Region’s strengths and drive growth and opportunity throughout Appalachia.”

“Helping communities build capacity and empowering them to create a vision for a stronger and healthier future is key to achieving environmental and economic resiliency,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “I look forward to the efforts of this EPA-ARC partnership to help drive environmental and economic transformation in the Appalachian Region.” 

ARC is also in the process of seeking proposals from qualified organizations for the next phase of the Community Capacity-Building Pilot Program, which will provide technical assistance to communities deploying American Rescue Plan Act Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Proposals are due January 14, 2022, at 5 p.m. EST.  

About the Appalachian Regional Commission   
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.