Hope for the Best in a Troubled Coal Industry

The State Journal - With declining coal markets, mine closures and efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions making daily headlines, it's no secret the once-soaring Appalachian coal industry has hit turbulence. Read

As Appalachian coal production has declined, thousands of Mountain State residents, who once made well-above-average incomes in the mines, are now left with few options for employment. The decades-long Golden Era for miners and mining counties, which have historically been relatively prosperous in otherwise tough economic times for the state and the country, might be headed toward a permanently dead end.

"There's going to be a serious transition," said Sean O'Leary, fiscal policy analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. He added, however, that the individual impact of the decline will vary for residents living in different parts of the state.

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