PITTSBURGH — Cory Davis has worked for Walker Machinery in Huntington for four years in the service and equipment department. His company rents, services and sells some of the biggest machines on the planet — the equipment used to mine and haul coal — and the coal industry provides Walker’s most lucrative business.
But as coal jobs have continued to disappear over the years, Davis and the machine shop have felt the consequences. He says summer is usually the company’s busiest time of renting and repairing machines to coal mines, but coal sector business seems to be dwindling.
“There’s definitely a ripple effect that comes off of any mining job lost and any mine shut down,” Davis said. “That’s some of our bigger customers that are cutting back, which cuts out our profits and make us fear for losing our jobs.
“Usually right now we’re able to have overtime, but instead we’re on eight hours and thankful for it.”
Davis has a wife, a two-year-old daughter and a one-month-old son. He’d hoped his son could learn his trade one day, but now, he’s not so sure because he feels his job is threatened by regulations proposed by the EPA that would cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
Davis traveled with a group of other Walker employees and about 60 Alpha Natural Resources coal miners and representatives to Pittsburgh Wednesday to attend a pro-coal rally. The rally drew more than 2,000 supporters and featured the governors of Pennsylvania and West Virginia — Tom Corbett and Earl Ray Tomblin — as well as Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
The rally comes on the heels of two days of public hearings in Pittsburgh. Similar public hearings in Atlanta, Denver and Washington have drawn hundreds of citizens, advocates and politicians, many of whom have said the proposed rules are either overreaching or not stringent enough…