Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


September 20, 2012

Alpha mine closures sparks emotional reactions

A selection of reader comments from our Facebook page last week:

On the announcement that Alpha Natural Resources is closing eight mines in the region and eliminating 1,200 jobs.

• When miners get laid off and unemployment is gone how are people going to live. No money to buy food or pay their bills. The power companies are not going to sit back and wait on these people to go back to work. They will want their money now. The federal government needs to take a look and see how to keep people working rather than seeing how they can take their jobs away — Mike S.

• Here’s a few facts about the so-called war on coal and coal-fired power plants. Some regulations in the works were mandated by an amendment to the Clean Air Act in 1990, which was approved by Congress and signed off on by George W. Bush, a Republican. Other regulations were mandated through the years by court order. Most, if not all, of the coal-fired plants going off-line were already on the list to be retired due to being too small or outdated to economically update. Forward thinking power companies elsewhere such as PG&E and others have already worked to clean up emissions at older plants and ensure new plants being brought online burn cleaner. The Obama administration has invested nearly $4 billion in clean coal technology research. Cheap natural gas prices makes it a more attractive solution than coal for the power companies. And even with the recent layoffs, the West Virginia coal industry still employs the most people it has since 1995. It’s not the administration’s fault that companies who knew for years these changes were coming chose to keep looking the other way. Do your own research — don’t rely on what politicians and sloppy news reports and biased editorials (including quite a bit from Bluefield Daily Telegraph) tell you — Don Z.

• So sad at this time in our economy. Praying for these families — Kathy P.

• We are all going to be affected by Obama’s war on coal — Lecia S.

• This will trickle down to everyone. More jobs and industries that rely on the mines being functional and men earning a good living will be impacted — Teresa D.

• That’s a shame. We need a new leader — Dottie S.

• Sad — Pam B.

• Terrible — Mary R.

• Yet another very good reason to vote the present administration out of office — Sherry K.

• So sad to hear this information. So many families affected, and the trickle down effect will be awful. Why are we not hearing about this situation on the national news? Does it not matter that so many workers have lost their jobs in the past month? If this was a auto maker factory closing in Michigan, it would be all over the news. The national government would be stepping in to help with bail outs. We need help saving our jobs in West Virginia — Diane S.

• This will effect every job in this area and also in our country. Wake Up America! Coal makes our country. This is just another way the government wants us to depend on other countries. Ask yourself a question. Aren’t we having enough problems trying to get gas to run our cars — Martha J.

• You think being without power this summer was bad? Just wait until this starts affecting us all year round. The government right now doesn’t care about coal or West Virginia. But when they’re freezing their rear ends off when it’s below zero and the price of natural gas to heat your home skyrockets and you pay through the nose to turn on your lights and run your household ... somebody will look around and say what did we do? Those would be the idiots that needs to be taken out behind the woodshed and beat the crap out of them. They don’t care about us here in the mountain state one way or the other. All they care about is the money in their pockets, and keeping our pockets dry. We’re really hurting bad this election year — Debra C.

• Another example of the coal companies losing mines and blaming the EPA, etc. They’ll blame anyone except themselves for the problems they are having now. They should have been working these past years on ways to burn coal lean, cleaner mining practices, etc. Our state politicians are also responsible for relying on coal and refusing to encourage a more diverse economy. Imagine what the King Coal highway would have done for the southern coalfields. The industries attracted to the area would have given the coal owners serious competition for workers. I wonder if this is the reason it was never completed? — Bill S.


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