In Coal Country, What's Next for Miners?

Apr 10, 2015

Last year, when his boss called and offered miner Shane Lucas back his surface mining job, he said yes.
Credit Catherine Moore / For the Allegheny Front

At a fire hall in Logan County, West Virginia, dozens of coal miners and their families are mulling around a room. State officials called this meeting to help them figure out what to do next after the coal mine they worked in closed. Dell Maynard is one of these miners. His primary emotion right now is shock.

"I've been laid off three times in the last year," says Maynard. "I'm not kidding. And it's not because I don't try to find a job because I've found three. Oh, it's awful. I'm telling you this place is going to be a ghost town if they don't do something."

Faced with competition from natural gas and increasing federal regulations, layoffs and mine closings like this one are becoming more and more common in parts of West Virginia and Kentucky. The coal industry is facing tough times.

For others in Logan County, it’s anger—at the federal government, politicians, at the coal companies, each other.

Read more of this report at the website of our partner The Allegheny Front. This story was supported by High Plains News. It’s part of the ‘The Future of Coal’—a collaboration of The Allegheny Front, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and Inside Energy.