Trump states Wells Fargo’s penalties for ‘bad acts’ might be ‘substantially increased’

December 8, 2017

Trump was apparently talking about a Reuters story published Thursday that stated the customer Financial Protection Bureau, lately absorbed with a Trump appointee, was reviewing if the bank should should pay potentially millions of dollars for mortgage lending abuse. Wells Fargo has acknowledged it incorrectly billed some customers charges to secure lower home loan rates and stated it might issue refunds. Wells Fargo declined to discuss the president’s tweet.

The CFPB’s former director, Richard Cordray, decided to settlement terms with the organization before resigning recently, based on Reuters, which reported three anonymous sources. However the “Wells Fargo sanctions take presctiption ice” under Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s pick to guide the company, Reuters stated.

In the tweet Friday morning, Trump searched for to eliminate the concept the financial institution might be free.

“We can’t discuss pending enforcement matters,” John Czwartacki, a senior advisor in the CFPB, stated inside a statement. “However, ought to be principle, Acting Director Mulvaney shares the President’s firm dedication to punishing bad actors and protecting Americans.Inches

Mulvaney, even the White-colored House budget director, stated a week ago he was reviewing the agency’s ongoing investigations and lawsuits. “I am searching each and every of individuals with an individual basis,” he stated.

Trump’s tweet alarmed some legal experts, who stated he shouldn’t be hitting the scales around the work of the independent agency. Mulvaney’s capability to put on two hats — director from the Office of Management and Budget and acting mind from the CFPB — has elevated concerns among some consumer advocates and Democrats. In the OMB, Mulvaney is really a political appointee, susceptible to being fired when needed by Trump. But in the CFPB, he’s a effective independent financial regulator who are able to make nearly unilateral decisions affecting mortgages, charge cards, accounts and lots of other lending options, legal experts have stated.

Trump makes moving back banking rules he states have hindered economic growth a vital focus of his administration, but he’s been belittled to be too cozy with Wall Street executives he once guaranteed to control.

“The president shouldn’t be commenting on which ‘will’ take place in a continuing analysis, especially in an independent agency that shouldn’t be reporting to him,” said Lauren Saunders, affiliate director from the National Consumer Law Center. “I appreciate his recognition that severe penalties are warranted when information mill caught cheating, but rules to outlaw unfair practices will also be essential in industries where abuses are rampant.”

Together with his tweet, Trump has thrust themself into two most contentious issues facing the banking sector this season: whether Bay Area-based Wells Fargo has compensated enough because of its newest misdeeds and if the Trump administration would considerably weaken the CFPB, a watchdog agency setup following the global financial trouble.

Trump’s tweet likely reflects the large bank, which declined to comment, will stay a political punching bag for a while. The financial institution continues to be pressurized since acknowledging this past year it had opened up countless fake accounts customers didn’t want or need. Wells Fargo has compensated nearly $200 million in fines and penalties for that incident, however, many lawmakers and consumer advocates have stated it ought to should pay more.

“This shows how politically difficult it’s to affiliate with a really large bank on the policy issue. The very best move politically should be to party the greatest bank. Obama essentially knows this,Inches Jaret Seiberg, financial services analyst at Cowen Research Group, authored inside a note on Friday.

“We check this out like a purely political move divorced in the broader issue of whether penalties from the scale the CFPB have been contemplating are warranted.”

Complicating matters is always that the leadership from the CFPB was tossed into limbo recently after Cordray resigned and stated his chief of staff, Leandra British, would function as acting director. Trump hired Mulvaney towards the publish hrs later. Both British and Mulvaney now tell you they are acting director from the agency, along with a federal judge has scheduled a 12 ,. 22 hearing around the issue.

On Friday, dueling categories of Democratic and Republican attorneys general from the 3 states and also the District of Columbia filed friend-of-the-court briefs meant for and opposition to English’s suit, correspondingly.

Democrats, brought by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and representing 18 states, including California, Illinois and New You are able to, contended that allowing Trump’s appointment of Mulvaney to face would undermine the bureau’s independence and violate the Dodd-Frank act creating the CFBP’s type of succession.

Racine reported the agency’s handling in excess of a million complaints, return of nearly $12 billion to consumers, and settlements with banks, collectors along with other banking institutions, and it is recent action against allegedly predatory actions by for-profit colleges.

“The CFPB is a crucial partner in protecting consumers within the District and elsewhere, so we won’t uphold watching it become yet another arm of the administration which has shown much more interest in corporate interests than everyday consumers,” Racine stated. “We believe what the law states and justice are great.Inches

Individually, eight states, including Texas, West Virginia, Alabama and Arkansas, backed the president’s authority to mention the acting director, citing a federal appellate court in claiming the CFPB mind possess more unilateral authority than any single commission or board member in almost any other independent federal agency.

Staff author Spencer S. Hsu led to this report.

Useful: They studied Blue Apron to learn how to ship Md. crabs to your house

Cousins Cameron and Pey Manesh saw a brand new business within the eyes of the guy from West Virginia.

Last March, a crab-lover folded as much as certainly one of his family-owned Cameron’s Sea food trucks in Hagerstown, Md., to purchase a bushel of Maryland blue crabs. Cameron’s, that has about $20 million in gross revenue every year, sells raw and cooked sea food at 14 locations — 11 storefronts and three trucks — within the Baltimore-Washington-Philadelphia market.

“He can be used to having to pay $315 for blue crabs in West Virginia, so it’s cheaper for him they are driving six hrs, round-trip, for any bushel from us for $255,” stated Cameron Manesh, whose family members have run the sea food chain for 32 years. “That’s when Pey had the lightbulb moment.”

Within days, the cousins had launched an internet business to ship the family’s products to blue-crab junkies and sea food-enthusiasts across The United States. Pey understands the sea food finish, while Cameron handles finance and administration.

The cousins’ project is really a timely illustration of our prime-stakes challenges active in the companies of home food delivery and prepared-to-eat meals distributing nationwide through companies for example Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated.

Can little Middleburg stay its ground against America’s retail apocalypse?]

“We picture shipping crabs and crab cakes nationwide to individuals who can’t come on Chesapeake Bay crabs,” stated Cameron Manesh, 37, who spoke for themself and the 28-year-old cousin.

Five several weeks in, Cameron’s Sea food Online has shipped about 1,000 orders of Maryland blue hard-covering and soft-covering crabs, crab cakes and jumbo lump crabmeat to customers in 46 from the Lower 48 states. The typical order is about $160, and also the nascent internet business has taken in greater than $150,000.

“I am targeting $a million in sales through the finish of the coming year,Inches Manesh stated. His goal would be to gross $20 million inside a couple of years.

FedEx accumulates his products two times each day in the Rockville Pike store. You will find 29 states close enough to get his orders via FedEx Ground. All of those other orders are sent by air.

Manesh recognizes that the actual way to earn money about this clients are selling Cameron’s Sea food products towards the Costcos, Harris Teeters and Walmarts around the globe.

Quite simply, he must scale it. There’s one big contract set to produce in April 2018 which will send as much as 640,000 flash-frozen crab cakes annually to some home delivery service, that they declined to mention since it isn’t a done deal.

“For that deal, there exists a 3rd party preparing, flash freezing, and packaging the crab cakes,” he stated. “The food-delivery service picks up in pallet form.”

We have all been hearing and studying concerning the logistics of home delivery, particularly with Amazon . com.com (whose founder and leader, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Publish) pioneering that sector. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole-foods Market last summer time has fueled speculation concerning the online retail giant’s intentions about food delivery.

Right now, Cameron’s Sea food Online is centered on the house customer. A couple of hrs with Manesh at his Rockville headquarters, that is above certainly one of his family’s retail locations, provided an affection from the supply-chain logistics involved with delivering food — including highly perishable fresh sea food — to homes.

“We catch the crabs every morning in the Chesapeake Bay,” he stated. “They are steamed in Old Bay seasoning and chilled for six hrs to awesome them lower to 34 levels prior to being shipped with gel packs.”

The goal is to achieve the sea food delivered within 24 to 48 hrs from the order.

This really is fairly complicated stuff. Just searching round the store, I saw bushels of live crabs that arrived in the Chesapeake a couple of hrs earlier. About 10 crabs from the 60 to 72 in every bushel die prior to being offered, that is a cost that Cameron’s must absorb.

“We did lots of research before we did anything,” stated Manesh, whose regular job is becoming an agent for those who purchase and sell large apartment qualities. The brokerage is yet another of his family’s companies, begun by his father.

To discover how others were shipping food, he and Pey purchased several meals from Blue Apron, which ships 60,000 orders each day.

“We reverse-engineered nowhere Apron packages to determine the way they made it happen, such as the frozen gel packs they incorporated to help keep the meals fresh,” he stated.

Among the early setbacks came when some Cameron’s Sea food Online customers complained the crabs and crabmeat were coming with melted gel packs. Apparently , the packages needed as much as five days during summer time several weeks to freeze completely.

The answer: Pay companies to keep the gel packs at minus-10 levels.

The Manesh cousins bought countless foam coolers for shipping the crabs. They bought bubble-wrap to safeguard soups and hired an uncle’s company to print labels and directions. The constituents are kept in an empty Germantown, Md., home where his family once resided.

Manesh’s wife, Mimi, built the web site. Manesh invested $65,000 of their own cash to produce the company. (The internet clients are another company from Cameron’s Sea food, which is a member of Cameron’s father and uncle.)

Manesh stated he expects to become cash-flow positive by December 2018 if he can acquire the big retail contracts with stores and meal services. It might take longer if he relies only on shipping to individual home customers, that are costly to locate. The organization has spent greater than $42,000 on the internet AdWords and social-media sites for example Instagram.

There are approximately 4,600 names in the customer database, and the quest for each client — referred to as customer-acquisition cost — is really a high $35 each, that they must reduce by 66 percent to create a profit.

Manesh stated the aim for home delivery is 100 orders each day. He throws in totally free for orders in excess of $200 within the nearest 29 states.

I do not determine if he’s going to succeed, but he seems to possess his eyes available. He, Pey and Mimi — all whom own a few of the business — work 7 days per week.

Cameron knows what must be done to obtain a start-up off the floor. After graduating in the College of Maryland in 2002, the finance major launched a repayment system designed to help individuals save for retirement.

Manesh lost $50,000 but learned a few training. First, you’ll need more income than you believe. Second, when the start-up can’t earn money in 3 years, “take it behind the barn and shoot it. It’s a spare time activity, not really a business.”

He has worked at his father’s apartment brokerage for a long time, connecting high-finish consumers which include foreign investors, investment trusts, endowments and-internet-worth individuals.

His father and uncle founded the sea food market in an effort to generate cash between property deals. It sells 75,000 bushels of fresh crabs annually, 150,000 crab cakes and 500,000 pounds of shrimp.

“It’s as an old-school fish market in which you are available in and choose your fresh sea food and go home,” Manesh stated.

From April through November, that is Maryland’s crab season, the line is out of the door. But traffic drops throughout the winter and fall. Manesh sees his internet business as obtaining the slack.

“We visit a large market with untapped potential,” Manesh stated.

It simply might keep your crabs crawling out of the door during individuals slow several weeks.

A Broke, and Broken, Flood Insurance Program

In August, when Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on Texas, David Clutter was in court, trying one more time to make his insurer pay his flood claim — from Hurricane Sandy, five years before.

Mr. Clutter’s insurer is the federal government. As it resists his claims, he has been forced to take out a third mortgage on his house in Long Beach, N.Y., to pay for repairs to make it habitable for his wife and three children. He owes more than the house is worth, and his flood-insurance premiums just went up.

The government-run National Flood Insurance Program is, for now, virtually the only source of flood insurance for more than five million households in the United States. This hurricane season, as tens of thousands of Americans seek compensation for storm-inflicted water damage, they face a problem: The flood insurance program is broke and broken.

The program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has been in the red since Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005. It still has more than a thousand disputed claims left over from Sandy. And in October, it exhausted its $30 billion borrowing capacity and had to get a bailout just to keep paying current claims.

Congress must decide by Dec. 8 whether to keep the program going. An unusual coalition of insurers, environmentalists and fiscal conservatives has joined the Trump administration in calling for fundamental changes in the program, including direct competition from private insurers. The fiscal conservatives note that the program was supposed to take the burden off taxpayers but has not, and environmentalists argue that it has become an enabler of construction on flood-prone coastlines, by charging premiums too low to reflect the true cost of building there.

The program has other troubles as well. It cannot force vulnerable households to buy insurance, even though they are required by law to have it. Its flood maps can’t keep up with new construction that can change an area’s flood risk. It has spent billions of dollars repairing houses that just flood again. Its records, for instance, show that a house in Spring, Tex., has been repaired 19 times, for a total of $912,732 — even though it is worth only $42,024.

And after really big floods, the program must rely on armies of subcontractors to determine payments, baffling and infuriating policyholders, like Mr. Clutter, who cannot figure out who is opposing their claims, or why.

Roy E. Wright, who has directed the flood insurance program for FEMA since June 2015, acknowledged in an interview on Friday that major changes were called for and said some were already in the works. The program’s rate-setting methods, for example, are 30 years old, he said, and new ones will be phased in over the next two years. But other changes — like cutting off coverage to homes that are repeatedly flooded — would require an act of Congress.

“The administration feels very strongly that there needs to be reform this year,” he said. “I believe strongly that we need to expand flood coverage in the United States, and the private insurers are part of that.”

The federal program was created to fill a void left after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, when multiple levees failed, swamping an area bigger than West Virginia and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Insurers, terrified of the never-ending claims they might have to pay, started to exclude flooding from homeowners’ insurance policies. For decades, your only hope if your home was damaged in a flood was disaster relief from the government.

Policymakers thought an insurance program would be better than ad hoc bailouts. If crafted properly, it would make developers and homeowners pay for the risks they took.

When Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968, it hoped to revive the private flood-insurance market. Initially about 130 insurers gave it a shot, pooling their capital with the government. But there were clashes, and eventually the government drove out the insurers and took over most operations.

Since 1983, Washington has set the insurance rates, mapped the floodplains, written the rules and borne all of the risk. The role of private insurers has been confined to marketing policies and processing claims, as government contractors.

That worked for a few decades. But now, relentless coastal development and the increasing frequency of megastorms and billion-dollar floods have changed the calculus.

Graphic | Unable to Keep Up With the Floods

“Put plainly, the N.F.I.P. is not designed to handle catastrophic losses like those caused by Harvey, Irma and Maria,” Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in a letter to members of Congress after the three huge hurricanes barreled into the United States this season.

Mr. Mulvaney called on Congress to forgive $16 billion of the program’s debt, which both houses agreed to do.

The program, however, needs more than a financial lifeline: Without major, long-term changes, it will just burn through the $16 billion in savings and be back for more.

The White House is hoping to lure companies back into the market, letting them try to turn a profit on underwriting flood policies instead of simply processing claims for the government.

One measure proposed by the Trump administration is for the government to stop writing coverage on newly built houses on floodplains, starting in 2021. New construction there is supposed to be flood-resistant, and if the government retreats, private insurers may step in. Or so the theory goes.

“The private market is anxious, willing and completely able to take everything except the severe repetitive-loss properties,” said Craig Poulton, chief executive of Poulton Associates, which underwrites American risks for Lloyd’s of London, the big international insurance marketplace.

“Severe repetitive-loss properties” is FEMA’s term for houses that are flooded again and again. There are tens of thousands of them. While they account for fewer than 1 percent of the government’s policies, they make up more than 10 percent of the insurance claims, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued FEMA to get the data.

The Trump administration has also proposed creating a new category of properties that are at extreme risk of repeat flooding and that could have their insurance cut off the next time they flooded.

That might sound harsh. Environmental groups, though, argue it’s worse to repeatedly repair doomed houses on flood-prone sites as oceans warm and sea levels rise. The Natural Resources Defense Council argues that the flood-insurance program should buy such properties so the owners can move somewhere safer.

The program, however, has only limited authority to make such purchases; homeowners need to line up funding through other government agencies. As a result, such buyouts are rare.

“I have mounds and mounds of paper, and I’m still waiting,” said Olga McKissic of Louisville, Ky., who applied for a buyout in 2015 after her house flooded for the fifth time. “I want them to tear it down.”

Ms. McKissic even had her house classified as a severe repetitive-loss property, thinking FEMA would give it higher priority. But FEMA has not responded to her application. Instead, it doubled her premiums.

That’s what happens when there’s a monopoly, said Mr. Poulton, the Lloyd’s underwriter.

Over the years, he said, he has noticed that his customers are buying Lloyd’s earthquake insurance because it includes flood coverage. They do not like the government’s flood insurance because payouts are capped at $250,000 and have other limits.

Such as basements.

Matt Herr of Superior Flood in Brighton, Colo., another underwriter for Lloyd’s, recalled a client whose handicapped son lived in a “sunken living room,” eight inches lower than the rest of the house. When the neighborhood flooded, $22,000 of medical equipment was ruined. The government refused to pay, calling the living room a basement. Its policies exclude basements.

While the government program insures more than five million homeowners, that is just a small fraction of the number of people who live on floodplains.

Mr. Poulton researched the flood insurance program and eventually found a public report that explained how its pricing worked. The program, he learned, was not using the detailed, house-by-house information on flood risk that is available through satellite imagery and other sources.

That’s because Congress gave the program a legal mandate to work with communities, not individual households. So the program was surveying floodplains, then calculating an “average annual loss” for all the houses there. Its insurance rates were based on those averages.

“It undercharges 50 percent of its risks, and it overcharges 50 percent of its risks, on an equal weighting,” Mr. Poulton said.

Offer a better deal to the households with a below-average risk of flooding — a policy whose price reflects their lower risk — and they will jump at the opportunity to save money on premiums, he said.

But the government does not readily divulge all of its historical claims data, so insurers cannot comb through them and analyze the risks.

“What we know is snippets,” said Martin Hartley, chief operating officer of Pure Insurance in White Plains, which offers supplementary flood insurance to homeowners who want more than the government’s $250,000 coverage.

Also, the government relies on mortgage lenders to enforce the rule requiring at-risk homeowners to buy flood insurance. Mr. Poulton said he found that FEMA officials had told lenders that, in effect, they shouldn’t trust private insurance.

He went to Washington to complain to program officials.

“We told them their guidelines were bad, bad for consumers,” he said. “We said: ‘They’re only good for you. You’ve got to change them.’ They said: ‘We don’t answer to you. We answer to Congress.’ We’ve been lobbying ever since.”

No one paid much attention until after Sandy, when the program fell deeper into debt with the Treasury. To help fill that hole, Congress in 2012 approved big increases in its premiums. But that caused an uproar when people got their bills. Two years later, Congress rescinded much of the increase.

Then came this season’s hurricanes and the $16 billion bailout.

The Office of Management and Budget sent Congress an updated list of proposals in October, including measures that would remove certain obstacles to private-sector competition. Its plan would open up the data trove to potential competitors and direct mortgage lenders to accept private flood-insurance policies. It would also revoke an agreement that the program’s contractors — including about 70 insurance companies — must currently sign, promising not to compete against the government program.

Some members of Congress — including Democrats like Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, whose states have significant flood exposure and bad memories of Hurricane Sandy — are resisting. They say bringing in private insurers would make the program’s troubles worse, because the insurers would cherry-pick the most profitable customers and leave the government with all the “severe repetitive-loss properties.”

Mr. Poulton did not dispute that. In fact, he said that was exactly what should happen.

“We need the N.F.I.P. to be a full participant in this as the insurer of last resort,” he said. That means it would take the high-risk properties that the private insurers did not want, acting like the state-run insurance pools for especially risky drivers.

Some lawyers for aggrieved policyholders think a shake-up might improve things, if it brought accountability.

August J. Matteis, who is representing Mr. Clutter in his lawsuit, said the insurance program had been so criticized by Congress for its borrowing that by the time Sandy blew in, it had instructed contractors to hold the line on claims. They did so with a vengeance. Thousands of people with flood damage from Sandy ended up disputing the government’s handling of their claims.

Long Beach, Mr. Clutter’s town, is on a barrier island off the southern shore of Long Island. When Sandy sent several feet of floodwater washing over it, the piers supporting the Clutter family’s foundation collapsed. Upstairs, floors buckled. Walls cracked.

Mr. Clutter called Wright National Flood Insurance, the Florida company that administers his policy. Wright sent an independent adjuster, who took photos with captions like “structural foundation wall has been washed in” and “piers have collapsed — no longer supporting risk.”

But then, Wright sent a structural engineer from U.S. Forensic of Louisiana who declared that Sandy had not caused the damage.

In 2015, Mr. Clutter happened to catch a “60 Minutes” report on the aftermath of Sandy. It included accusations that U.S. Forensic had falsified engineering reports on other people’s houses.

There were so many disputed claims and questionable inspections, in fact, that the government opened an unusual review process for Sandy victims. Mr. Clutter went through it, but said the government’s offer fell far short of his repair costs. He sued FEMA and Wright Flood Insurance in August.

Michael Sloane, Wright Flood’s executive vice president, said in an email that while the company could not comment on Mr. Clutter’s case, “we are always committed to working with our customers to keep the lines of communication open as we continue working toward resolution.”

U.S. Forensic did not respond to messages.

Mr. Wright, the program director, acknowledged the problems after Sandy but said corrective measures had been taken “so that it doesn’t happen again.”

Much of Long Beach has been rebuilt since Sandy. Small houses like Mr. Clutter’s are being torn down and replaced with bigger ones that sprawl across two lots. Mr. Clutter worries that if insurers, not the government, set the prices, premiums will soar.

“Then, what happens to me?” he asked. “I’m essentially being driven out of my home that I have three mortgages on.”

What’s Up in Coal Country: Alternative-Energy Jobs

From the mountain hollows of Appalachia to the vast open plains of Wyoming, the coal industry long offered the promise of a six-figure income without a four-year college degree, transforming sleepy farm towns into thriving commercial centers.

But today, as King Coal is being dethroned — by cheap natural gas, declining demand for electricity, and even green energy — what’s a former miner to do?

Nowhere has that question had more urgency than in Wyoming and West Virginia, two very different states whose economies lean heavily on fuel extraction. With energy prices falling or stagnant, both have lost population and had middling economic growth in recent years. In national rankings of economic vitality, you can find them near the bottom of the pile.

Their fortunes have declined as coal has fallen from providing more than half of the nation’s electricity in 2000 to about one-third last year. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs and moved on — leaving idled mines, abandoned homes and shuttered stores downtown.

Now, though, new businesses are emerging. They are as varied as the layers of rock that surround a coal seam, but in a twist, a considerable number involve renewable energy. And past jobs in fossil fuels are proving to make for good training.

In Wyoming, home to the nation’s most productive coal region by far, the American subsidiary of a Chinese maker of wind turbines is putting together a training program for technicians in anticipation of a large power plant it expects to supply. And in West Virginia, a nonprofit outfit called Solar Holler — “Mine the Sun,” reads the tagline on its website — is working with another group, Coalfield Development, to train solar panel installers and seed an entire industry.

Taken together, along with programs aimed at teaching computer coding or beekeeping, they show ways to ease the transition from fossil fuels to a more diverse energy mix — as well as the challenges.

‘Absolutely No Catch’

GILLETTE, Wyo. — John Davila, 61, worked for 20 years at Arch Coal’s Black Thunder Mine in Eastern Wyoming, a battered titan from an industry whose importance to the region is easy to see — whether in the sign in the visitors’ center window proclaiming, “Wyoming Coal: Proud to Provide America’s Energy,” or in the brimming train cars that rumble out of the Eagle Butte mine on the outskirts of town.

But in April last year, at a regular crew meeting in the break room, he was among those whose envelope held a termination notice rather than a work assignment. “They called it a ‘work force reduction,’” said Mr. Davila, whose straight, dark ponytail hangs down his back. “Nice way to put it, but it still means you’re out of a job.”

So a summertime Thursday morning found him, along with a couple of dozen other men and women, in a nondescript lecture room at a community college, learning how a different source of energy, wind, might make them proud, too.

The seminar was the last of three that week organized by Goldwind Americas, which is ready to provide as many as 850 giant wind turbines for a power plant planned in the state. The company was looking for candidates, particularly unemployed coal miners like Mr. Davila, to become technicians to maintain and operate the turbines.

The program, which is to teach the basics of wind farm operation, maintenance and safety over two weeks in October, would cost the participants nothing but their time, organizers said. Those who wanted to test their potential would have a chance to climb a 250-foot tower that Saturday at a farm Goldwind owns in Montana. And if they completed the full program, they would have certifications that could open the door with any employer they chose.

“There’s absolutely no catch – you don’t like me, you don’t like Goldwind, that’s O.K.,” David Halligan, the company’s chief executive, told an even larger crowd in Casper the day before. “There’s going to be opportunity across the country.”

It is a message of hope that has been in short supply, especially after the loss of more than 1,000 jobs in the region and the bankruptcies last year of three major producers. But while coal’s prospects have been dying down, wind development is poised to explode in the state, which has some of the world’s strongest and most consistent winds. And while coal mining jobs have fallen to historic lows nationally in recent years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that wind-energy technician will be the fastest-growing occupation, more than doubling over the next seven years.

Though most of the coal jobs lost last year have since returned as companies have emerged from bankruptcy, the insecurity surrounding the industry remains. “It’s been a little scary when you’ve got people all around you getting laid off,” Brandon Sims, 37, an Air Force veteran who works for an explosives company that serves the mines, said outside the lecture room. “You never really know when your day to get the pink slip is.”

Hands-On Practice

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Coal mining was already dead in Crum, a town of less than 200 just this side of the Kentucky border, by the time Ethan Spaulding, 26, graduated from high school, he said. That dashed his hopes of becoming a roof bolter, helping stabilize the ceilings of mine tunnels. “You don’t even have to have a high school diploma to go to the coal industry,” he said, “and you can start making $150,000 a year.” Or perhaps you once could.

Mr. Spaulding was standing near the railroad tracks at the edge of town where trains move coal out of the region, behind a dilapidated brick building that once housed a high-end suit factory. It is becoming a hub for the family of social enterprises that Coalfield Development leads, which include rehabilitating buildings, installing solar panels, and an agriculture program that grows produce and is turning an old mine site into a solar-powered fish farm.

Wanting to stay in Crum, Mr. Spaulding went through the solar program Coalfield runs with Solar Holler, which offers its participants a two-and-a-half-year apprenticeship. He is now a crew chief at the training center, overseeing the renovation of a larger classroom inside the building. Though he is optimistic that he can eventually reach his target income in the solar industry, the installation jobs for which the trainees will ultimately qualify generally pay far less — $26 an hour, on average, nationally.

And yet there is keen interest. For David Ward, 40, managing installations at Solar Holler helps repay the student loans he ran up pursuing a degree in counseling — a growth industry in a state reeling from opioid addiction. An electrician, he said he was “interested in the idea of making your own power and the environmental impact.”

The program is the brainchild of Brandon Dennison and Dan Conant, two West Virginians who wanted to help develop a sustainable economy in the state. Mr. Dennison, 31, started Coalfield Development in 2010; it grew out of a volunteer effort to build low-income green housing. Mr. Conant, 32, had worked on political campaigns, including Barack Obama’s first presidential contest. After becoming involved in the solar industry, he concluded that rooftop solar development, with its individual, decentralized nature, could combine the door-to-door approach of political campaigning with a technology to fight climate change.

He completed the first Solar Holler project — putting panels on the Presbyterian church in his hometown, Shepherdstown, on the Potomac River — and, quickly overwhelmed with demand for similar installations, realized the state didn’t have a work force to handle it. So he formed a partnership with Mr. Dennison’s organization to develop one. At Coalfield’s facility here, participants learn how the arrays create electricity and connect to the power system, but they also get practice installing panels on a shed behind the main building. That helps them clear one of the basic industry hurdles: becoming comfortable working on a roof.

A View Most Never See

SHAWMUT, Mont. — If a big worry for would-be solar installers is staying balanced while ferrying heavy glass-sheathed panels around a roof, for potential wind energy technicians it is whether they can climb more than 200 feet in broiling heat or icy cold and emerge into the gusts to fix machinery. Still, the Goldwind technicians say working so high up is one of the job’s best features.

“You get a view that most people will never see,” as Lukas Nelson, 27, a site manager in Ohio, put it in one of the company’s promotional videos. Only a few towers have elevators, and at Goldwind’s power plant here, the access is by a series of 90-degree aluminum ladders and steel mesh platforms, straight to the top.

It was Saturday morning after the three seminars, and Goldwind safety managers had delivered a brief lecture in a trailer that served as the farm office, warning of perils like rattlesnakes in the tall grasses outside and electrocution from throwing switches in the towers.

The organizers separated the crowd of about 20 into two groups. One would take a tour of the wind farm and substation while the other climbed towers whose blades sat idle. After lunch, they would switch.

In front of the trailer, Chancey Coffelt, 33, Goldwind’s regional safety manager, was showing the climbing group how to put on harnesses — a network of heavy metal clips and rings attached to straps that thread over the shoulders, across the chest and around each thigh. They would latch onto a rope pulley system as they climbed each of four ladders and then hook into a bracket as they reached each platform before freeing themselves from the pulley.

Mr. Davila, the 20-year mine veteran, was standing with members of the second group, chatting about Wyoming’s wobbly energy economy and how wind might — and might not — steady it. “A lot of coal miners don’t like wind or solar, but you need them all,” Mr. Davila said. “It’s like a puzzle you have to solve: just think about how many things we plug in.”

Still, many of the men expressed concern over what the jobs would pay, saying the salaries paled in comparison to what they could earn on an oil rig, for instance.

“It’s so easy to get a six-figure job in the oil industry,” Jesse Morgan, a baby-faced 31-year-old city councilman and back-office worker at a drilling services company, had said over beers at a bar in Casper where he was asked to show ID. “You get addicted to that money.”

But it could be worth taking a pay cut to get out from under the stress of constantly planning for the next layoff, and being able to return home at night rather than working 30- to 40-day stints offshore. The oil field never stops, Mr. Morgan said of his time on the rigs. “It’s 24/7 — you miss birthdays, every holiday.”

As with the other men, Mr. Morgan’s work experience made him an attractive candidate for Goldwind. Accustomed to the industrial behemoths of fossil fuel production, he is familiar with the environment, equipment and procedures of working safely while surrounded by danger — like remembering to fasten the chin strap on a hard hat so it won’t slip off and injure a colleague laboring hundreds of feet below.

Chelsae Clemons, 26, a technician at a Goldwind plant in Findlay, Ohio, said the emphasis on safety and training was part of the program’s value. Among the few staff members at the seminars with a bachelor’s degree, she had worked in a lab at a hospital and had little relevant experience when she decided to pursue a career in renewable energy. In Gillette, she told the crowd, “They’re giving certifications I had to pay for.”

‘This Is Bee Paradise’

HINTON, W.Va. — “Solar’s not going to be everything, and one of the big challenges for the state is how do we diversify and get lots of cool stuff going,” Mr. Conant, the Solar Holler founder, was saying as he drove from a solar installation at a hilltop farmhouse toward a 1940s summer camp that the local coal company provided for the children of its employees until 1984. “When you’ve been a one-industry town for a really long time, that’s an issue. The last thing we would want to do is pin our hopes on doing that again, just with some other technology.”

After winding down a road canopied by emerald-green trees, he passed the opening of the Great Bend Tunnel, during whose construction in the 1870s, as one legend tells it, the African-American folk hero John Henry beat a steam drill in opening a hole in the rock, only to die from his efforts. Minutes later, Mr. Conant came to Camp Lightfoot, which a nonprofit organization, Appalachian Headwaters, is turning into an apiary with an eye toward helping displaced coal workers and military veterans get into the honey business. Early next year, Mr. Conant plans to install solar panels on an old gymnasium, which now holds racks of wood frames for the hives.

Deborah Delaney, an assistant professor of entomology and wildlife ecology who oversees the apiary and bee program at the University of Delaware, said the area was well suited for a honey enterprise. It is largely forest, unsullied by the pesticides that threaten the insects in industrial farm areas, and it has plant species like black locust and sourwood whose honey can fetch a high price.

“This is bee paradise,” she said, sitting on the porch of the cafeteria building where a Patriot Coal banner hung askew on one wall. For now, Ms. Delaney and the program’s staff are getting the colony established on a hillside in 86 hives that buzz away behind electrified wire fencing to protect them from bears. Next spring, they plan to distribute about 150 hives to 35 beekeepers either free or through a low- or no-interest loan. Come harvest time, the beekeepers would bring their honey-laden frames to the camp for extraction and processing; organizers would pay them for their yield and then sell the honey to support the program.

“For some people it might be a side hustle, but for other people it could really turn into, over time, a true income that could sustain a family,” said Kate Asquith, program director at Appalachian Headwaters.

Economists say this kind of diversification is important, especially in a region where coal is unlikely to make a major comeback, even if Trump administration policies are able to foster a revival elsewhere. Demand is strongest for the low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin straddling Wyoming and Montana, rather than what Appalachia produces. The new-energy industries cannot replicate what coal once did, economists say. Long-term jobs at the Wyoming wind farm would number in the hundreds at best, while the solar program thus far trains only 10 workers each year.

Even a coal boom wouldn’t create jobs the way it used to: like the steam drill that ultimately took John Henry’s place, new equipment and technologies have replaced workers in heavy industries. Production of coal, for instance, increased over all from the 1920s until 2010, while the number of jobs dropped to 110,000 from 870,000.

So interest in the bees has been high here. “Thought it was weird at first — bugs in a box in the backyard,” said Sean Phelps, 27, who left a secure job as a school janitor to work with the bee program. Exposure to his father-in-law’s hives changed his perspective. Now he sees them as a way to help the area, as well as fun. “This is what I want to do,” he said. “Whenever you’re out in them, it reduces a lot of stress.”

Interrupted by a Storm

SHAWMUT, Mont. — It was after lunch, and Mr. Davila and Mr. Morgan were at the base of one of the wind towers, wearing heavy harnesses and waiting for the first group to finish so they could start the climb. Suddenly, Jason Willbanks, 39, who lost a job as an electrician with a coal company and now drives crews to and from their shifts on coal trains, emerged from within. Walking heavily into the blazing sunlight, he clattered onto the metal platform and stairs. Asked how he was, he shot back: “Sweating like a fat guy at an all-day dance.”

As he pulled off the harness, dropped to his knees in a patch of shade on the grass and rolled onto his back, Mr. Davila offered him a bottle of water from a cooler. “You’ve earned it,” he said.

Not long after, word came from the Goldwind crew: A thunderstorm was heading toward the farm, so the second group could not climb.

“I feel like I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go,” Mr. Davila said, disappointed, gesturing toward the harness. “ I wanted to see if I could get up.”

“You’ve just witnessed what it’s like to be a wind-turbine technician,” Mr. Coffelt, the safety manager, said, cocking an ear over one shoulder and suggesting that the group move away from the rattlesnake he had heard. “Imagine if you’re one or two stacks up when you get that alert: right back down we come.” After weighing options, the Goldwind organizers called it a day, offering repeated apologies and promises to get the men back to the site which, over the following months, they did.

Mr. Morgan, who posted a beaming selfie from atop the turbine on Facebook, did not apply for the training program. But Mr. Davila did, and was accepted.

He is torn over whether to enroll, he said. He is desperate for the work but hesitant to leave his wife and home in Gillette, where he has lived since he was 6, for one of the jobs immediately available outside the state. Still, he added with a chuckle, it might be good to move: “Maybe there’s more to the world than Gillette.”