Help your miner neighbors and may God bless them

An editorial from The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — “Merry Christmas, miners. God bless them.”

That was a sentiment that was posted on an intraoffice message early today here at the newspaper, and we couldn’t agree more.

 On the heels of Alpha Natural Resources confirming Monday that there would be 138 additional layoffs at four mines in Raleigh and Boone counties, we are just heartsick for the miners and their families. Such news is tough enough, but for the announcement to arrive during the holiday season? A punch to the gut, to say the least.

As reporter Daniel Tyson so clearly wrote in Tuesday’s Register-Herald, “The announcement was the latest in the trend in the boom or bust industry. Bankrupt coal companies slashing payroll, closing mines or placing them up for sale is the new normal.”

Tyson reported that 66 miners will hit the jobless line at operations in Naoma, 72 at operations throughout Boone County. And Alpha could not or would not say whether those jobs would return – ever.

The decline of the coal industry remains, depressingly, the same: a decline in global demand (from China, primarily, whose economy has cooled), dwindling reserves, new environmental relations from the Obama administration, cheaper natural gas and the rise of wind and solar technologies and deployment.

The handwriting for this industry is on the wall. If we chose to ignore it, we do so at our own risk…


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