West Virginia Law Review

Document Type



In his pivotal primary victory over Hubert Humphrey, President John F. Kennedy pledged that he would lend vigorous assistance to the impoverished coal mining regions of West Virginia to alleviate their economic distress. In fulfillment of this pledge, Congress passed and President Kennedy signed into law in May, 1961, the Area Redevelopment Act in order to "establish an effective program to alleviate conditions of substantial and persistent unemployment and underemployment in certain economically distressed areas." The Area Redevelopment Act created an experimental pilot program within the Department of Commerce to accomplish the above purpose through a system of government loans for the establishment of new businesses or the expansion of existing firms; loans and grants to assist communities in providing needed public facilities for industrial expansion; technical assistance to communities; and job retraining. With the benefit of four years experience under the pilot program of this act, President Lyndon B. Johnson proposed on March 25, 1965, that a number of alterations be made in the Area Redevelopment Act and that the program be given permanent status for the purpose of carrying out the policies set forth in the act. Acting on the President's proposal, Congress considered and passed and the President on August 26, 1965, approved the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965. The act of 1965 replaces the Area Redevelopment Administration with the Economic Development Administration which continues as a part of the Department of Commerce under the authority of the Secretary of Commerce. Based generally upon the Area Redevelopment Act (Public Law 87-27), this act is also based to a certain extent upon the public Works Acceleration Act (Public Law 87-658) and the Appalachian Regional Development Act (Public Law 894). Recognizing that approval or disapproval of an industrial or commercial loan application will be conclusive of the creation or expansion of a business enterprise, and that approval holds the promise of increased activity and improved economic health of an entire area, the great importance of the procedure for making a loan application and the subsequent administrative determination relative to the application is readily apparent. It is, therefore, the purpose of this article to evaluate the alterations effected by the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 with a consideration of past experience under the Area Redevelopment Act, and with particular consideration of the criteria and standards applicable in determining whether or not a business qualifies for a low interest rate industrial or commercial loan.



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