Legislation has been introduced in the United States Senate that would help spur investment, workforce training, economic growth and job creation in rural coal communities. The Coal Community Empowerment Act introduced last week by Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, would designate 90 counties across the west as Coal Community Zones, making them eligible for an array of incentives for investment, hiring and workforce development. If the legislation is passed, Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco County would all qualify to become Coal Community Zones. The program looks to assist communities which have been hit hard by the downturn in coal prices and demand in recent years, and will help local workers and leaders strengthen and diversify their economies as they deal with the broader market forces that continue to pressure coal production. Bennet says the country has an obligation to provide our coal communities with support to implement the economic diversification strategies they’ve developed, so they can thrive again in today’s economy.