Through federal Abandoned Mine Lands pilot program grants, Kentucky's Appalachian region will receive some funding to make improvements, and that is welcome news.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, a Democrat and a Republican, announced the $14 million in funding on Monday.
The money will go to:
• Perry County, which will receive $3.5 million to improve its water system and develop a new treatment plant.
• A lumber business in Laurel County, which will receive $3.7 million to boost its operations and rehire 62 workers who were laid off during the pandemic.
• The city of Wheelwright in Floyd County, which will receive $2 million to build a new water treatment plant.
• Harlan County, which will receive $1.5 million for natural gas infrastructure.
Much has occurred in the last several years to hinder the region: weather-related damage, a failing coal industry, the COVID-19 pandemic and more. In addition, Appalachia has always been at a disadvantage geographically and, hence, economically. Any federal aid is something to celebrate.
One way our region is like the rest of the country: neglected infrastructure.
It's helpful to have federal funds earmarked to update things like water and natural gas systems.
These aren't fun and exciting expenditures, but they are absolutely necessary. As residents of Kentucky, let's keep working toward improving all the infrastructure we need to keep advancing life in the Commonwealth.