Wednesday, May 27, 2015

High concerns in Wayne County following miner layoff announcement

State Delegate Don Perdue said Wayne County’s future is in peril following the announcement of more than 400 coal-mining layoffs during the Memorial Day weekend.
“Those layoffs have an extraordinary impact on Wayne County, not only from the point of view that many of those employees are Wayne County citizens, but also from the loss in tax base that our county will accrue from these layoffs and from the shut down of that mine,” said Perdue (D-Wayne, 19).
Nearly 1,800 West Virginia miners learned Friday they will face unemployment within 60 days, according to the state’s two largest coal producers, Alpha Natural Resources and Murray Energy.
Alpha Natural Resources blamed the layoffs at its Camp Creek operation near East Lynne on a low demand for coal and federal EPA regulations.
Touting the need to establishing new job opportunities, Perdue said, “Now it’s becoming even more critical for the benefit of all those folks that are going to be laid off at least at that mine that we are able to do that.”
The outward impact of the layoffs will be huge, Perdue said, with suppliers, support services and retailers such as grocery stores and gas stations feeling the pinch.
“As that employment becomes non-existent, than so do those revenues in retail.”
Calling West Virginia’s biggest problem a “lack of diversification,” Perdue said he hopes jobs will spring from the newly completed Heartland Intermodal Gateway in Prichard, a truck-rail transfer terminal that provides most of the state with a link to international markets. He said the transportation industry is “in our future” and that they need to accelerate this outlet.

“These are people that are out of work now. They’re going to have to respond to being out of work now, so we have to respond to the business of trying to create new jobs now.”