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The Promises to Coal Country Are Familiar, but Can Biden Deliver?

Added 03-05-21 03:40:03am EST - “For nearly 60 years, presidents have promised to lift up Appalachia, but many communities remain on the brink.” - Nytimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Nytimes.com: “The Promises to Coal Country Are Familiar, but Can Biden Deliver?”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

For nearly 60 years, presidents have promised to lift up Appalachia, but many communities remain on the brink.

CUMBERLAND, Ky. — From a porch in Martin County, Ky., in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty. Decades later, President Barack Obama dedicated millions of dollars to work force development projects in Appalachia. President Donald J. Trump even pledged the impossible: a revival of the region’s faltering coal industry.

President Biden is talking big, too, assuring residents that his climate plan will also create well-paying jobs there. But after generations of promises, communities once reliant on coal mining are understandably skeptical. Administration after administration has tried to bring the region sustained prosperity, yet many communities remain on the brink.

In eastern Kentucky, the poverty rate in several counties exceeds 30 percent. Unemployment is among the highest in the nation. And an outward migration over several decades has cut the populations of some counties nearly in half, leaving local governments strapped for tax revenue and struggling to fund essential services.

“Fifty years from now, this could be a ghost town,” said former Gov. Paul E. Patton, an eastern Kentucky native. “That’s my prediction.”

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