Earlier this week, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a field hearing in Abingdon, Virginia, to examine the real world consequences of new EPA regulations on the nation’s coal communities. These regulations, which effectively ban construction of new coal-fired power plants, are contributing to job losses across the country.
West Virginia’s WSAZ-TV yesterday highlighted the “domino effect” created by layoffs in the coal industry, something that would only be exacerbated by the string of costly regulations affecting the sector. The mounting layoffs in the coal mining industry are affecting the bottom line of other local businesses. Despite 41 consecutive months of higher than 8 percent national unemployment, the EPA’s regulations are threatening to put countless more Americans out of work.
From the report:
The loss of thousands of jobs in the area is having a domino effect on local business.
So far this year, WSAZ.com has reported nearly 2,000 job losses in the coal industry.
Stan Morgan owns the Radio Shack in Logan. He says business is down 16 percent from this time last year.
He attributes the loss in revenue to the loss of mining jobs.
“Without the mining jobs we’re gonna be a ghost town,” a customer said to Morgan.
“Yup, we’ll be packing up and moving out of here won’t we?” Morgan replied.
“This is normally one of our better times going into the fall and it’s been quite slow,” David Dean, the owner of Tri-County Reality in Chapmanville said.
Dean says his business is down 35 to 40 percent compared to last year.
“Homes are people’s lives. Homes are our community,” Dean said. “That’s the cornerstone of every community; owning a home.”
However, that American dream is turning into a nightmare. Every time more layoffs are announced — more deals fall through the cracks. The impact can be felt all around.
“There are eight or nine jobs here in the county for every coal miner and we’re losing thousands of jobs,” Rick Abraham, who’s been in the mining industry for 40 years, said.
“They’re holding onto their money. They’re not spending or making any huge purchases right now. They don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Morgan said.
While customers hold onto their money, businesses hold on to hope.
“Like most other folks we’ll weather the storm, come out on the other side and hopefully be better and stronger,” Dean said.
Read the article online here.