Monday, August 15, 2005

The Washington Post on the coal boom

Via this RK post, I see today's Washington Post article titled Next Generation Moves Into the Black, which begins: "A new generation of miners is in training in central Appalachia, where a onetime hub of the nation's coal industry is recovering from prolonged slumps that shuttered mines, bankrupted companies and whittled away the life from communities."

The article says:

"Many people are skeptical of whether the miner hiring boom is here to stay -- and whether it will have the broad impact it had generations ago in lifting miners and their families from poverty.

This is still a depressed corner of the Virginia, where in many stretches, one in four people live below the poverty line. Old mountain burgs and coal hollows that once hummed with life still line winding country passes, only now many are depressed, their company stores boarded up. As jobs left in recent decades, so did the people.

Now, as the industry experiences an increase in prices, local governments -- which depend on taxes from coal companies to finance roads and other public works -- also find themselves better off. And small businesses that supply coal companies with equipment have started to sprout up throughout Virginia's seven coal-bearing counties."

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