The EDA has granted the Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) $595,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to establish the Wyoming Energy Regional Economic Coordination Office, a capacity building opportunity to access the billions of dollars in federal funding coming through the Infrastructure, Investments, and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Chips and Science Act, and the ongoing distribution of ARPA funds.
Both the eastern and western portions of Wyoming rank in the top ten on a list of 25 priority coal communities across the nation, based on per-capita coal-related jobs, according to the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (IWG).
The WEA program director says that the one time funding, however, will not enable them to hire full time staff for the coordinating office, and laments the continued lack of personnel and expertise needed at state and local levels. This lack of capacity and the absence of technical assistance for rural areas is a persistent issue for rural prosperity across the country.
The IWG executive director has said the group is committed to helping Wyoming officials have the right attention to find the right funding fit.