Interior Secretary at a press event announcing IWG support for the Four Corners region.
On Aug. 25, the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization announced the creation of a new Four Corners Rapid Response Team (RRT), bringing together 11 federal agencies and their regional staff to partner with tribes, local officials and community leaders in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah as they navigate the region’s energy transitions and transformations.
Numerous federal agencies are represented on the RRT, including the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Treasury, along with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Economic Development Administration. Historic investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act present energy communities with a multitude of opportunities to revitalize communities, diversify workforces, and support energy workers. The Four Corners RRT will serve the region by helping communities access these resources to ensure a just and equitable energy transition.
The Four Corners RRT officially kicked off with a visit by federal leadership to the Farmington/San Juan County region. Held at the San Juan College’s School of Energy, the Aug. 25th meeting focused on prioritizing federal and private investments in energy communities across the Four Corners. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Hopi Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma were in attendance, as were numerous federal officials, including National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, White House Deputy National Climate Advisory Ali Zaidi, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk and Assistant Secretary Brad Crabtree, and IWG Executive Director Brian Anderson
“Energy workers and communities have powered communities for generations,” Turk said. “We are thrilled that the Biden-Harris Administration has made billions in investments available to help these communities realize new economic activities that are equitable and accessible to all.”
The kickoff meeting focused on a listening session with community stakeholders, including tribal members, educators from local colleges and universities, clean energy project leaders, and economic development experts. Several areas of concern were discussed, including how various energy technologies will impact the environment, particularly local water resources. Representatives from Four Corners Economic Development identified specific areas of opportunity where the region knows it wants to grow, including infrastructure for rail transportation and clean hydrogen. Across the board, stakeholders stressed the importance of creating good-paying jobs that will enable the region to retain its skilled workforce and also attract new businesses and jobs to the area.
The Four Corners RRT is led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, which has played a key role in leading the regional I-WEST initiative focused on the broader region’s transition to a clean energy economy. Questions, comments, or feedback for the Four Corners RRT may be sent via email to [email protected].