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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Climate Corps initiative could speed up reforestation of abandoned mine lands

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024   

A Biden administration program called the American Climate Corps aims to hire and train 20,000 people in conservation, climate and clean energy jobs.

Still in the early stages of development, groups in Appalachia say the program could potentially steer a significant number of young people in the region into well-paying jobs.

Brendan Muckian-Bates, policy and advocacy associate for the Appalachian Citizens Law Center in Whitesburg, said Kentucky's Appalachian region has struggled with continuing flood disasters and other climate change impacts over the past decade. He believes the climate corps could bring much-needed funding to reforest and revegetate former mine sites.

"The American Climate Corps can have -- on this region in particular -- could have wide-ranging impacts," Muckian-Bates stressed. "Between the region's growing outdoor recreation and tourism economy, as well as supporting the native ecosystem and stream quality."

According to the group Appalachian Voices, mountaintop removal mining has already destroyed more than 500 mountains encompassing more than 1 million acres in Central and Southern Appalachia.

Annie Regan, director of digital communications for ReImagine Appalachia, said not only could the initiative bring jobs to a region hard-hit by the opioid crisis and unemployment, but participants will also receive paid training, opening the doors to opportunities for employment in both the public and private sectors.

"Of course we want younger folks to have these jobs too, and to have pathways to apprenticeship and pre apprenticeship programs and working with our unions," Regan emphasized.

The climate corps is modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Depression-era program launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to alleviate high unemployment among young men. The White House said the Climate Corps will attract people from diverse backgrounds and disadvantaged communities to work in climate-related industries.

Disclosure: ReImagine Appalachia contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, and Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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