coal mining

Becca Schimmel, WKU Public Radio

White signs advocating for the protection of pension and healthcare benefits were waived at a United Mine Workers of America rally in Lexington Tuesday. An estimated 4,000 miners, retirees, and family members filled the city’s convention center. They gathered to demand that Congress pass legislation protecting pensions and health care benefits for miners and their families.

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More than 100 retired coal miners and spouses from across the region will file into buses Tuesday for a mine workers rally in Lexington.

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The U.S Department of Labor funded a grant worth 3.4 million dollars to help retrain out-of-work coal miners in Kentucky. Shuttering coal mines has left thousands of miners without a job. 

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More than 100 coal miners from converge in southern Illinois next week to test their rescue skills. The fifth annual Mine Rescue Skills Competition is June 7 and 8 at Southeastern Illinois University in Harrisburg. 

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Kentucky regulators are looking for proposals to spur economic development on Appalachia’s abandoned surface mines.

Erica Peterson | wfpl.org

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has scheduled meetings in Louisville and Lexington for the public to weigh in on plans by utilities Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities to shut down their coal ash ponds at several power plants. 

All over eastern Kentucky, you see cars and pickup trucks with black license plates proclaiming the owner is a "friend of coal."

Even though the license plates are all over, it's getting harder to find actual coal miners here: Fewer than 6,000 remain in the state, where the coal industry is shrinking fast. More than 10,000 coal workers have been laid off since 2008.

Many have had to leave the area to find work, but a few have found employment in other — and sometime unexpected — fields, as businesses are innovating to use former coal workers in new ways.

Hillary Clinton, who is campaigning in Appalachia this week, was confronted Monday by an out-of-work coal miner. At a roundtable discussion in West Virginia, Bo Copley asked Clinton, "How you can say you're going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs and then come in here and tell us how you're going to be our friend. Because those people out there don't see you as a friend."

A coal-mining giant has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid an industrywide slump.

Peabody Energy — which is the biggest coal miner in the U.S. and says it is the largest private-sector coal company in the world — is looking to restructure its heavy debt load and gain relief from its creditors. It hopes to continue operations unimpeded.

Todd Hatton, WKMS

Anything is possible, but it seems unlikely that a Senate bill to abolish state mine safety inspections will pass the General Assembly this year. Legislators are scheduled to return to Frankfort next week for one day before concluding this year’s regular session.

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