Arch Coal mine in Breathitt Co. set to close by end of year

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Several people around Clayhole in Breathitt County said they are not happy that the Flint Ridge Mine is set to close by the end of the year.

Some said they are not even concerned about losing their job, they are just worried about future generations after 750 people were told they were being permanently laid off.

Arch Coal cited an "unprecedented downturn in demand for coal based electricity" as a reason for the layoffs. Sen. Rand Paul (R) said he believes the E-P-A's rules have hurt the industry more than competition with alternative fuels.

“Natural gas has come way down, and that is a problem, but coal would still be cheaper were it not for all of the regulations they keep heaping on,” said Paul.

The Flint Ridge Mine, which will close between Aug. 20 and Dec. 31, 2012 will leave 131 people without a job and that does not include the ripple affect, which some people said could not mean good things for the future of the region.

“This is concerning economic news not just for our eastern Kentucky coal fields, but really the entire commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett.
“For every one coal miner, three other people depend on their jobs for their livelihood. So this has repercussions beyond the coal fields.”

One Breathitt County miner who lost his job told us he is hopeful things will turn around.

“I am hoping in my heart, like I said before that the younger generation can get back to work and make a living, family is number one,” said William “Streaker” Mullins.

Mullins worked as a utility worker for Arch for nine years and had nothing bad to say about the company. He said he believed President Barack Obama’s leadership and his appointment of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lisa Jackson were to blame.

Senator Paul said he believes a change in leadership would help.

“It makes a difference who the president is, because the president appoints who is in charge of the EPA,” said Paul.
“We need to get someone in charge of these government agencies who have worked in business that understand that new regulations cost jobs and we need to balance things.”

Many who WYMT-TV spoke with said they agreed with Paul and believed new leadership would change the future for the coal industry.

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