Bills aim to boost Appalachian fortunes, chemical renaissance-E&E News

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Washington, September 24, 2019 | comments

House Republicans are backing the push to keep the Appalachian Regional Commission running and use the independent development agency to help build a politically charged petrochemical storage hub project in the region.

Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) introduced two bills last week that mirror legislation previously put forward by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

H.R. 4434 would reauthorize the ARC, which serves 420 counties in 13 states along the Appalachian Mountains, through 2025. Congress has rebuffed attempts by President Trump to eliminate the 53-year-old agency.

Like Capito's S. 2273, McKinley's bill would increase ARC's annual budget from $165 million to $180 million, reserving $20 million for broadband development.

"At my rural broadband roundtable in western Maryland this month, I heard loud and clear that we need more funding for rural broadband," said Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), a co-sponsor alongside fellow Appalachia lawmakers.


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