I have argued, on the ground, that the “War on Coal” was just stupid propaganda. Any decline in coal jobs (currently above 2007 levels) is based on market forces of cheap natural gas thus decreased demand for steam coal; plus lessened national/international economic activity which fuels a demand for metallurgical coal.
There is market for coal, but contracts are signed based on costs vs demand with a large dose of negotiating skill. If a coal company doesn’t get the call, the management can’t blame it on their poor management or bad deal making- so it must be someone else’s fault.
Yes, his EPA did begin to enforce the law again after a 8 yr. hiatus; but any half aware executive could see that train comin’ down the line and prepare for it. Those that didn’t should have lost their jobs instead of crying crocodile tears and blaming everyone but themselves.
So while some companies lay off miners, others hire. Regulations? Demand? Production efficiencies effecting costs? Negotiation skill?
All the above?
This summer I was in Eastern Ky and people were telling me that jobs were terrible and it was all Obama’s fault. Just before and now, just after the election, there have been job announcements for Eastern Ky.
BTW- Look for more of these announcements as the glut of natural gas on the market has dried up and the price per million btu is going past coal; as it usually is.
Justice company announces ‘massive call backs’ of miners
The Justice family’s Southern Coal Corp. said Tuesday it has secured orders that will allow it to save 500 Appalachian mining jobs and hire workers for 650 new positions.
Roanoke, Va.-based Southern Coal announced what it called “massive call backs and hiring” of miners in Southern West Virginia, Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. In a press release, the company said it had entered into a multi-year agreement with American Electric Power that allows the actions.
Southern Coal is part of the business empire of Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier resort, and is run in part by his son, Jay Justice.
The news release said Southern Coal would be hiring 650 new miners over the coming weeks, and that an additional 500 mining jobs would be saved. …………..