State Delegate Don Perdue said
future is in peril following the announcement of more than 400 coal-mining
layoffs during the Memorial Day weekend. Wayne County
“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).
miners learned Friday they
will face unemployment within 60 days, according to the state’s two largest
coal producers, Alpha Natural Resources and West Virginia Energy. Murray
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.”
Virginia’s biggest problem a “lack of
diversification,” Perdue said he hopes jobs will spring from the newly
completed Heartland Intermodal Gateway in ,
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. Prichard
“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.”