The White House on Wednesday announced nearly $40 million in aid to ailing coal states in Appalachia as a small piece of a much broader multi-billion dollar plan to rebuild coal country.
"As part of President Obama's ongoing efforts to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector, today the administration is announcing awards totaling $38.8 million for 29 economic and workforce development projects," the White House said in announcing the new funding.
The money will be provided to multiple states, including West Virginia and Kentucky, to assist them in "building a stronger economic future for their communities, businesses and workers," according to a fact sheet.
Many of the 29 projects funded in Wednesday's announcement focus on education and university grant programs to help retrain workers for jobs outside the mining industry.
The program is referred to as the Power Initiative and is part of President Obama's broader Power Plus Plan, which he is calling on Congress to fund as part of his fiscal 2017 budget request.
If fully funded, the plan would use $9 billion in coal states to support economic diversification and training for workers "displaced from the coal economy," the White House said.
The plan also would provide funding for the "health and retirement security of coal miners and their families," while redeveloping abandoned mine lands for other activities and spurring research into clean coal technologies to fight global warming.
The announcement comes as Republicans criticize the administration for leveling regulations on the region that have hurt mining and working families.
Republican nominee Donald Trump has made supporting coal country one of the themes of his campaign and a point of contrast between himself and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has said that her plan for coal country would be to transition workers to clean energy jobs that support renewable energy.
The White House said Wednesday's aid would create an estimated 3,418 jobs.