Brian Anderson grew up in West Virginia, seeing the coal industry slowly decline to the point of utter collapse in recent years.
Now, Mr. Anderson, a veteran energy scientist who since 2018 has served as director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory, has an opportunity to do something to help towns like his. In April, Mr. Anderson was tapped by President Joe Biden to lead national efforts to revitalize coal-dependent communities.
The mission came with inherent challenges beyond his scientific background. Mr. Anderson, long a proponent of carbon capture technology and a fierce believer in his scientists’ work at lab facilities in South Park and Morgantown, W.Va., stepped into a role with weighty political objectives.
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