Planning for the local impacts of coal facility closure: Emerging strategies in the U.S. West


Julia H. Haggerty, Mark N. Haggerty, Kelli Roemer, Jackson Rose


Resources Policy


This study considers the contours of the coal transition in the United States from the perspective of local planning responses to coal plant retirements in the U.S. West. Plant closures in the region affect a diverse set of geographies and have developed in a complex, uncoordinated policy environment. The study applies an assessment framework informed by economic geography and community planning scholarship to a dataset of 12 planning documents written by and for local communities experiencing coal facility closures. The findings highlight the absence of effective strategies to address lost local revenues, lack of connections between environmental quality and long-term economic resilience, and a range of levels of acceptance of the coal transition. Together, the plans demonstrate the negative consequences of an uncoordinated, contradictory policy environment for transition planning at the local level and the need for policy interventions to address issues of equity and efficiency in this process.



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