WKYT - Harlan - Headlines

Officials want people to line Kentucky highway to support coal

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Some officials want people to line-up and hold hands on a Kentucky highway for 17 miles, all to show support for coal.

The "Hands of Coal Across Bell County" event is planned for next month. The goal is to get thousands of people to line 25E from Flat Lick to the Cumberland Gap Tunnel.

The idea started after the recent coal layoffs.

"We depend on coal business completely," said Joe Harris who a printing business in Pineville. His business is suffering with the recent mining cutbacks. "We're just seeing a decrease in business cause of the coal," he said.

He said print orders from coal companies or other coal supplier businesses are just not coming in anymore. He says other businesses in Pineville are also feeling the pinch from coal layoffs and cutbacks.

"I want our town to come back and be back in business like it used to be," Harris said.

It was a message he posted on Facebook, and soon the event "Hands of Coal Across Bell County" was born.

"In four days, I had 63,000 hits on Facebook of people wanting to get involved with interest and making it one of the largest rallies we could do to bring national attention to our community of coal and of how much it means to us," said Harris.

On August 11th, coal supporters are asked to stand hand in hand on US-25E from the Knox-Bell County line in Flat Lick to the Cumberland Gap Tunnel.

Bell County officials are also involved with the event.

"The point is to get people together to show support for coal mining and the coal miners of this area. I think that's the bottom line," said State Representative Rick Nelson (D-Middlesboro).

Organizers estimate it will take 20,000 people to be hand-in-hand for the 17 mile stretch on 25E.

"This is something we need to do to promote ourselves. To get people together, you know, a lot of us are thinking this same way, but when you have that moral support, it means a lot more. This will make a statement," Nelson said.

The event starts at 2:00 on Saturday, August 11th.

Harris says businesses can "adopt" parts of the highway to be responsible for putting folks along certain sections.

Disqus has not been setup for this website.
Copyright © 2002-2015 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 162151585 - wkyt.com/a?a=162151585
Gray Television, Inc.