Kentucky's Energy and Environment Cabinet secretary is not expecting any short term rebound in the eastern Kentucky coalfields. Charles Snavely appeared before the senate’s natural resources committee this week.
Snavely was asked about the issue by Pike County Senator Ray Brown. “Is there any hope for a rebound in the central Appalachian coalfields? Asked Jones. "Well, I regret you ask me that question in a public forum because if you ask me a question, I’m gonna give you the answer,” replied Snavely.
Snavely told Jones and committee members that he didn’t foresee a rebound in the eastern Kentucky coal industry over the next five years. He pointed to negative world economic conditions, the shift to natural gas production, uncertainly in the regulatory environment, and cheaper coal in states like Illinois, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania. Jones says he gets calls every day from friends who have been laid off. “There are residential communities in Pike County where houses used to never go up for sale," Jones said. "It was rare. Well now, you can drive through and it will be 12 or 15 homes."
Jones says the ripple effect is causing financial problems for local schools and governments. The senate minority floor leader says attention needs to be given to stop the loss of residents from the state’s largest geographical county.