Coal industry sheds jobs, leaving Eastern Kentucky economy in tatters
The impact of an estimated 2,000 mining layoffs this year is hitting home across the mountainous coal counties of Eastern Kentucky.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Lexington Herald-Leader.
#1 Jul 29, 2012
Thanks obama. Way to be for the the US and the economy. Hopefully you will be retired next year on a beach somewhere.
#2 Jul 29, 2012
Hopefully, it will be a beach in South Africa with the rest of your BRO"S.
#3 Aug 1, 2012
Obama didn't kill Appalachian coal.. Cheap natural gas and cheap Illinois River basin coal did that. Even the KY Power coal-fired plant in Louisa was going to burn IRB coal if the Atty Gen had approved their hairbrained scheme to install coal scrubbers (which he didn't, for that very reason).
Think about that -- a coal-fired plant sitting right smack in the heart of Appalachian coal country was going to haul coal in from the Illinois River basin instead of burning Appalachian coal. Why? Because IRB coal is so much cheaper that it would still cost less to haul it in than it would to burn coal from right up the road.
There's no product that can survive that kind of competition. It would be like Toyota trying to compete with a company that sold a car that was functionally equivalent to a Camry...for $5,000.
Appalachian coal is dead for sure, but Obama isn't the one responsible. It's simple economics.
However, IF YOU MUST blame a president to feel better about yourselves, blame Bush. It was the Bush administration that allowed special "fracking" rules to be drafted by lobbyists and private gas industry executives, and fracking is the reason why natural gas is so cheap and plentiful right now. If not for that, natural gas might be more expensive and there may not be quite so many electrical plants switching from coal to natural gas. Which is to say, BUSH bottomed out the coal market, so blame him if you must blame a president.
#4 Aug 1, 2012
Please get your facts straight before you start defending Obama. The plant was going to put in new scrubbers until they felt pressure from the libtards. Obama couldn't get cap and trade past so he had the EAP institute new policies that fined companies instead. If there is any president to blame it is OBAMA. That is why I will be voting against him in the next election.
#5 Aug 1, 2012
Obama is hell bent on destroying this country he hasn't really done one good thing for america.what's crazy is he was elected just because he was black he was just a senator for like 2yrs or something like that.I hope america has learned its lesson and wont pull this crap again.Appalachia is gonna be devastated when the coal companies leave its gonna be like a third world country big business wont locate there because there tucked in the mountains with no easy interstate access.this country relied on coal for generations and helped make this country and this is how we repay them.the "epa" is just like a terrorist organization but there way of bringing down a country is different than the traditional method they just destroy your ability to conduct business.
#6 Aug 2, 2012
..I think its safe to say america is destined to fall..
#7 Aug 3, 2012
You need to get your own facts straight, pal. The fact of the matter is that the plant had originally planned to switch to gas, but there was an uproar from the 'friends of coal' community. So, Kentucky Power submitted a plan to install scrubbers and pass the $940 million cost of the upgrades on to the consumer in the form of a **30%** surcharge.
What they didn't openly announce was that, had they been allowed to install the scrubbers, they would almost certainly have switched to burning cheaper, higher sulphur coal -- like that from the Illinois River Basin -- instead of vastly more expensive Appalachian coal.
When they KY Atty General's office came to the realization that burning coal didn't necessarily mean burning APPALACHIAN coal, coupled with the fact that they were going to impose a 30% surcharge on electricity rates of one of the most impoverished areas in the nation, they did what was RIGHT and argued vehemently against it.
The thing to understand here is that Kentucky Power already knew what the decision would be before they ever submitted the plan. The fact of the matter is that they only submitted the scrubber plan because they were getting pressure from coal supporters, and they knew full well that a plan to install scrubbers would have been rejected by the PSC anyway because it wouldn't have been anywhere near the least-cost option for an upgrade.
The only value in the plan was that they could say they tried but were rejected, and 'coaltards' like YOU would blame the rejection on left wing politicians -- not simple economics.
As for this being the result of failed cap-and-trade or 'EAP fines,' the fact of the matter is that the rules which are being imposed now are the result of EPA findings from 2000, at which point the EPA finalized rules on mercury emissions from power plants and was set to enforce them. Of course, the energy industry challenged the rules and convinced a D.C. Circuit court to make the EPA rework the language. MATS is the result of reworking the language.
Now, if you'll stop and think just a wee bit to who was sworn in as President in 2000, you might remember it was GEORGE W. BUSH. Which is to say, the EPA began cracking down on electric plant emissions during THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION.
Now, you can either grasp the facts or remain ignorant -- it's up to you. This has *all* been covered in detail in the media, so go read about it for yourself if you don't believe me.
#8 Aug 3, 2012
Newsflash -- Appalachia is already devastated. I would even go so far as to say that Appalachia has been devastated *BY* coal companies, and I believe that even the slightest amount of objective research into the the region's history lends support to that statement.
If you disagree, tell me something: If the coal industry is so amazingly great for Appalachia, then why is it that 15 of the top 100 poorest counties IN THE NATION are in Eastern Kentucky's coal country?
That's not a rhetorical question either -- I honestly want to see you try to reconcile your glowing opinion of the coal industry in the face of very real longstanding economic hardship.
By the way...I find it interesting that you mention the lack of roads in/out of Eastern Kentucky and how big industry won't locate there, when one of the loudest rallying cries of mountain top removal advocates was that mountain top removal created FLAT GROUND, possibly as sites for things like businesses and factories.
Reconcile that for me too, while you're at it.
#9 Aug 3, 2012
If people like you don't pull your heads out of your asses and read the writing on the wall, then yes, I'd say you're right.
#10 Aug 3, 2012
..I never said that the coal industry was the savior of Appalachia but up until this point its basically all they had..the coal companies can flatten as many mountains as they can but I don't see the government putting in accessible roads..like I said america benefited pretty damn good from Appalachian coal over the last century and now that their no longer needed we just walk away and forget them..im assuming your some spoiled rich brat who had everything handed to you and your clueless about Americas problems let alone how to fix them..its totally acceptable to help all these third world countries but america refuses to help Appalachia advance because of people like you.
#11 Aug 3, 2012
Oh, so now it's the government's fault because they're not stepping up to subsidize Appalachian development with new roads..
If I had said that, you'd call me a socialist.
Yes, pretty much that's what happens in a capitalist society. Did you not realize that?
The country benefited from Appalachian coal, and coal companies benefited from expendable labor resources and America's need for coal, and all the while the people of Appalachia have moved further and further down the socioeconomic ladder. And now that the country doesn't need Appalachian coal anymore (again, thanks to low NG prices and low IRB/PRB coal prices), Appalachia will be summarily abandoned because there won't be anything left to pillage and plunder.
That's capitalism, my friend, when you lay it bare in the cold, unflinching light of day.
The thing is, it's nothing new for Eastern Kentucky to be abandoned once the coal has been pulled from the ground. Take a trip to Appalachia sometime and visit one of the towns where a prosperous coal camp used to be, and see what you can find there now. See how things have been allowed to decay and dilapidate once the coal companies left and took the money with them.
Did the coal companies care that they were leaving an entire town behind to rot? No. Of course they didn't -- they're CAPITALISTS. Big coal is capitalism, and capitalism is about money. If showing some modicum of appreciation for what the people of the area did actually made some money for the coal company, they'd appreciate them...but it doesn't. So, naturally, they don't.
If you expected any different, then perhaps you're not quite the capitalist you believe yourself to be.
Which is to say, you *might* be a decent person afterall!
You couldn't be more wrong. You should know this because if I was rich, I would probably be a Republican arguing your side of the debate.
That's what Republicans and right-wingers are supposed to be, by the way -- rich. If you're not rich, but you vote right-wing, you're voting against your own economic best interest. Why do you think all LABOR organizations endorse Democrats??
Again, I find it hilarious that amidst all your right-wing banter, you don't see the irony that you end by calling for the 'gubmint' to step in and "subsidize failure".
Funny how the right-wing ideals of 100% personal responsibility and making one's own way with no hand-outs goes right out the window when the hardship starts hitting really close to home, huh?
Personally, I would think it's only fitting if Appalachia is left in the cold by the Gods of Industry and if folks from the pro-labor side of the aisle leave them to rot, considering most people from Appalachia voted BRIGHT RED in the last election...and likely will again! To me, it only seems FAIR that they'd get to experience the blunt end of right-wing capitalism first-hand, since that's what they keep voting for!
Like so many lemmings tumbling over the cliff....
#12 Aug 3, 2012
I'm from E. KY and cannot wait for the last coal train to cross the county line never to return. After 100 years of mining, this county is poor, dirty, in ill health and lacks proper opportunities for its citizens. If I had a time machine I would go back and kill the SOB that first suggested we open a mine. MTR is a damn disgrace to humanity. If this kind of sh!t happened anyplace else, hell would be raised; BUT here in forgotten E. KY it's okay to abuse the rights of people for a quick, greasy buck. I believe there will be more bloodshed before it's all settled.
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