Press Statement

ReImagine Appalachia reminds elected reps that infrastructure, Build Back Better bills are critical to region’s future

By October 1, 2021No Comments

Contact: Virginia Alvino Young, 714-267-1623,


Ohio River Valley —  As Congress continues to debate major funding packages that can create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, and address fires and floods caused by damage to the climate, ReImagine Appalachia is reminding the region’s elected officials in Washington that this region desperately needs the infrastructure investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that the Senate passed in August. And, just as critical is passage of the full $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act.

These bills are essential to clean up abandoned mine lands, improve the region’s transit issues, and provide clean safe drinking water. Appalachia’s crumbling infrastructure puts communities at risk and holds back regional progress. Investing in infrastructure would create jobs while giving communities the resources they need to get to work building the future Appalachia deserves.

However, the infrastructure bill is only part of the solution for the Appalachian region.

“We must protect our communities from the increased risks brought by the climate crisis, as well as provide essential benefits to children and families included in the Build Back Better Act. Appalachian communities are at particular risk of flooding, and our rural communities are being devastated by repeated climate disasters without the resources to invest in positive solutions,” said Dana Kuhnline, Campaign Manager for ReImagine Appalachia. 

Patty DeMarco, Vice President of the Forest Hills Borough Council, said, “All infrastructure is local, and as we have seen recently, local officials struggle first-hand with the devastating impact of catastrophic weather events, aging infrastructure, failing electric grids, absentee corporations, and declining tax bases. The dignity and safety of the people of Appalachia is at stake.”

“From clean energy to reclaiming minelands, from main street to industry, Appalachian communities need federal funding to create local ownership and shared prosperity. Workers and resources from Appalachia have powered the American economy for more than a century, and we need our due share of federal investment. Members in Congress and the Senate representing Appalachia must take this opportunity to pass both pieces of legislation. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity we cannot afford to squander,” Amanda Woodrum, Senior Researcher for Policy Matters Ohio and Co-Director of ReImagine Appalachia. 


The ReImagine Appalachia coalition was created through a broad recognition that the economy has not been working for most Appalachians. The coalition’s plans show concrete opportunities for progress where local ownership is prioritized, prosperity is shared, everyone is paid enough to support themselves and their family, future generations can put down roots, and all people have clean air to breathe and water to drink. For further information on economic plans around jobs, agriculture, manufacturing, and more, visit