Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin was in Wise County last Friday to reaffirm his goal to invest in nuclear energy and place a small modular reactor (SMR) in Southwest Virginia.
The visit came in the wake of the Youngkin administrations announcement of a far-reaching energy plan that many in the regional economic development sector hope will open up ample opportunities for the Southeast corner of the commonwealth, which has experienced economic hardship during the decline of coal production.
On the day of the visit, Youngkin and Congressman Morgan Griffith announced eight economic projects will be recommended for funding from Virginia’s Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grant program. The projects include proposed industrial sites and infrastructure projects designed to fuel immediate job creation across Buchanan, Dickenson, Scott and Wise Counties.
“These projects selected support our goals of immediate job creation and the development of new business-ready sites that will be the fuel that drives new business investment in these southwest Virginia communities,” Youngkin said in a statement. “There is great innovation in these proposals that will make Virginia the best place to live, work and raise a family.”
The request includes $2.3 million for the Chip Mill Industrial Site in Dickenson County, $2 million for the Big Cherry Reservoir Regional Outdoor Recreation project in Wise and Scott County, $2 million for Project Junction in Wise County, which is designed to leverage previously mined properties in conjunction with the Energy DELTA Lab, and $1.6 million for the J.J. Kelly Property Site Development.
Other projects included in the request will aim to expand existing manufacturing operations, create a sportsman complex and allow Mountain Empire Community College to upgrade its workforce center.
“The projects recommended for AMLER funding would provide a variety of benefits to the coalfields region. From outdoor recreation to industrial sites, they would create job opportunities and support economic development,” Griffith said. “I am very proud of the AMLER Program and of securing Virginia’s place in it in Congress. The program is an important tool as we seek to grow and diversify southwest Virginia’s economy.”