Governor Bevin Enters the "War on Coal" - Coal Miners
Governor Bevin and his co-patriots have revealed their true alliance. Like Mitch McConnell, they are all for coal owners and their financial support. They like the miners for their votes. Like Donald Trump they promise to restore industry's and power plant's reliance on coal. For years, coal severance monies have paid for maintaining local infrastructure. Unfortunately, both coal and the severance fees used for the maintenance of roads and utilities in coal producing counties are quickly disappearing.
Not so the coal miners. Clean coal has not created clean lungs. Modern technology has not eliminated the peril of working in the mines. Good paying salaries do not cover work related disabilities, nor cure black lung disease. The UMWA has departed from Kentucky. No KY unions represent worker interests or their safety. Miners now have to rely on their legislators.
The votes have been taken. Governor Bevin and his companions have committed to battling those who "are waging "A War on Coal". But they want to eliminate state mine inspectors for budgetary reasons. Apparently "Miner Lives Don't Matter", as much as their votes. The same group wants to eliminate KYnect. "They simply don't have enough skin in the game". Governor Bevin loves state rights, but when it comes to mine inspection or health coverage, let the Feds do that.
Coal is in transition. Eastern Kentucky now produces only 4% of the nation's coal, down from 13%. By the end of 2015, the region employed 5,000, down 29% from the previous year. Worldwide, nearly a half of the nations that produced coal no longer do so. Through technology, miner productivity per hr. has risen from 1.37 tons per man hour to 2.37, but the demand for coal is down as is the demand for mine workers. Is the Governor sensitive to the reality of this transition? Does he have any plans to develop this economically challenged region? Whether or not he and his party realize it, they are leading the "War on Coal Miners".