What will Pike County be like Without Coal
Posted in the Pikeville Forum
#1 Nov 5, 2013
With the EPA's new Clean Air Standard kicking in on January 1, 2015 half of the coal powered power plants will be closed down or converted to natural gas. On top of that it seems about everybody else mines coal cheaper than Pike County and the coal market is searching for a new low level cost per ton. After 100 years all of the easy coal is gone.
The large corporate mines will close first as they are most times not as efficient as the independent coal operators. However over the next 10 years we will see many more mine closings and layoffs in the coal industry.
Do we have enough of a service sector and non coal economy to maintain a healthy economy or will the area fall back into the poverty of the late 1950's and 1960's and before. We had a large exodus of people from Pike County in the 50's and 60's and another round of people leaving in the early 80's when coal dropped to around $20 a ton.
Will we see another exodus of our young families and their merchant and tax dollars or is the economy now diverse enough to provide jobs even if we lose the coal sector of the economy.
Will the state and local leaders finally understand that the coal business will not improve as it has done in past slumps or downturns in the coal market, will get much worse over the next 10 years? Will they start working on developing a non coal economy or will they just let the area sink back down into abject poverty?
Pike County is at a crossroads, every Pike County Political leader needs to be thinking about how we can transition from a coal economy to a non coal economy.
What coal industry we have left will take care of itself for as long as the independents can afford to mine it. The State and Local politicians need to start working on developing an economy not based entirely on the coal industry.
#7 Nov 5, 2013
I hope that the area becomes the new gatlinburg like they talked about in the Lexington herald leader. Maybe tourism is the answer. The mountains are so beautiful and the people if pike county are real. Hollywood has made big dollars exploiting the hatfield and McCoy fued maybe it's time that the descendants get their share. You all ready have world class white water rafting at the breaks and there is plenty of outdoor recreation why not get an amusement park with killer coasters. More hotels are needed as are more restaurants. Pikeville is known world wide. Maybe interstate 66 can connect I 75 in London to the interstate in West Virginia and the mountain parkway can be converted into a second interstate that connects Interstate 66 near pikeville to Winchester. With good roads more jobs will come. I think that us flat landers owe it to the mountains. Consider it as restitution for the rape of your land when the hills were flattened by the strip jobs to provide central ky with cheap electricity. I wasn't born in pike county but I lived there for 2 yrs and I feel like it's my home. Change is coming. Just remember to not let them take what's inside that makes you fill proud when you tell people "yes I am from the mountains". Peace
#8 Nov 6, 2013
Her is a picture of down town Pikeville (or maybe this is the commons?) from the future, in about the year 2020. Enjoy! http://www.ipsnews.net/pictures/A_view_of_Lat...
#10 Nov 6, 2013
The continuous raising of electrical rates will ensure this area goes under. There can not be any kind of transition to a non coal economy with electrical rates climbing beyond what many will be able afford.
17% increase a couple years ago and the Utility Commission just approved a 14% rate increase when AEP takes the Louisa Coal Fired Plant offline. Every year or every other year they come in with a rate increase and the utility commission just signs off on it.
We can't allow the Governor and Hal Rogers to come to Pikeville Dec. 9th without asking them to get the Corps of Engineers to determine if the flood control dams in the are can be converted to Hydro Electrical and still maintain their original purpose for flood control.
The renewables should have been developed and brought on line before they took down that coal fired power plant. Federal Government policies will destroy the economy of Eastern Kentucky. Even though we have seen massive layoffs over the last two years in the coal sector and coal corporations going our of business, the worst is yet to come. January 1, 2015 the clean air standards become so stringent that all the older coal fired power plants will be shut down. As these coal fired plants are closed or converted to natural gas the Eastern Ky. Coal market will be devastated. Economics 101, when the demand for a product is decreased the price for this product goes down as the market becomes flooded with coal. Everybody else mines it cheaper than East Kentucky and the Western Coal Markets can fill coal order even when it drops closer to $30 a ton.
Each year from this point on will mark more and more coal companies in Eastern Ky. going out of business. The coal economy will crash faster than we can recover or convert to a non coal economy. Time is of the essence, the situation is critical and any politician that tells you anything different is either stupid or a lying political coal company bought hack. There will be no recovery for the Eastern Ky. Coal market this time. 2015 on the rapid decent into poverty will be brought on by the collapse of the coal industry, the higher electrical rates we all will pay and the politicians shifting the loss of tax revenue from the coal sector over on the individuals of Eastern Ky. We see tax rate hikes every time a local government board meets now, they will increase every year as coal tax revenue is lost and they shift the loss in taxes over onto the property owners.
Triple threat to economic recovery or transition to a non coal economy. Loss of the coal industry, higher utility rates and higher taxes as the economy implodes.
If we don't elect politicians that will fight for a non coal economy, stay on the state and Federal government to help us replace the power generation they are taking down, and running local governments with austere, lean budgets that provide essential services but cut the waste, this area will fall into poverty that has not been seen here for over 60 years.
#13 Nov 6, 2013
two very good posts 1 and 7. I have been telling the people of West Virginia and Tazewell County, Virginia they need diversification, diversification of industry and jobs.
The first requisite of these is a good transportation system, highways for trucks delivering and picking up. I was in the trucking business for 40 years.
Nothing can be accomplished without the election of business oriented and minded politicians on the local and state levels. If they keep industry out, vote them out.
Finally some in west Virginia are doing just this. On the outskirts of Charleston, a company is putting in a manufacturing business employing 300 to begin with, with potential of 500 working.
As I stated before, a furniture manufacturing plant is opening in Ringgold, Virginia, going to employ 300.
It can and needs be done. It is imperative to Pike county and east Kentucky they get started on it NOW.
The recreational part is good but not entirely dependable and needs to be working in conjunction with a manufacturing base, both and all working together. Pike Countians, east Kentuckians, you need to get on this NOW. The longer you wait, the more hardships it will cause. It will take time to get things set up enough to be able to entice businesses into your area. Businesses spend months and sometimes years studying what areas to go into and what areas not to. Time is money. Time is of essence. It is the equivalent of taking out an insurance policy before or after the heart attack. May be a crude way of telling it but it's the truth.
Coal as far as the states are concerned is going down. What coal will be mined especially in the west will go overseas.
Look alive folks. Spend your time wisely. You definitely need diversification, a wide assortment of jobs, manufacturing, service and recreational. Times a wasting!
#14 Nov 6, 2013
The 14% rate hike AEP was asking for was only approved at around 6%. I assume that was to pay for purchasing half of the WVA. Power Plant when they Shut down the Plant in Louisa. In fact they are going to keep a section of the Louisa Power Plant open now but it will be run on natural gas.
They did this a couple of years ago when they asked for 35% increase and they got 17%.
At any rate it is still an increase and they will come in every year or so and ask for more as the price of power on the grid goes up.
If we could get Federal Funded Hydroelectric conversion of the Flood control dams in East Ky. we could ask the utility commission to roll back power rates. That is one way of attracting new business.
Plus offering new business some tax relief.
#16 Nov 6, 2013
Most don't want to admit that these power plants were slated to close without updates from EPA regulation from the 80s.
#17 Nov 6, 2013
What is your point? It still will have the same negative effect on the East Kentucky Economy. For one thing, Obama has none of his renewables ready to replace coal fired power plants, no matter how much they talk about alternative energy non of the renewables can replace the cheap power we just lost from the Louisa Power Plant.
If this EPA and administration shut down of most of the coal fired plants is going to work they should have replaced the coal fired plant with one of the renewables they are pushing.
We have hauled a lot of coal to that ole coal fired plant since the 1980's, hauled untold tons since it was built in the 60's.
Kind of a landmark during the 60's when a lot of had to leave for points up north to find work, because this place was a poverty stricken hell hole. It don't make me feel any worse knowing we got over 30 more years of power from it than we were supposed to. It will hurt the southeastern Kentucky just as much or more now than it would have in the 80's. Same damn stupid government policy that finally shut it down is just as wrong now as it was in the 80's.
#19 Nov 7, 2013
Well it was a good 100 year plus run. From the early 1900's on for good or bad coal left it's footprint on the area. Some young miners today are 4th generation miners, their Great Grandfather mined coal. It will be hard to accept the fact that coal will not be a major portion of the areas economy. We should still have some metallurgical grade coal for years to come. We have some of the best quality Met coal to be found.
However the major portion of the coal we mine "Steam Coal" is on the way out. I don't imagine the people from the early 1900's ever thought coal would be as important or as large a part of the economy as it turned out to be.
After being a part of our lives for so many generations some will have a hard time turning loose of it and moving on to a non coal economy. We live in a time of transition and change, I just we can make the transition without the area falling back into poverty and we risk losing our best and brightest when they leave the area.
Pick your politicians carefully over the next 12 years, coal bought dinosaurs will not be able to help us make the transition from coal to a mixed economy. To many years with all our eggs in one coal basket and the Pike County Political Machine gathering the eggs!
#20 Nov 7, 2013
Go troll somewhere else you ignorant POS!
#22 Nov 7, 2013
never dreamed i would ever agree with fniaj, but blah blah blah!!
Yes, you make some good points, but, the whole non coal economy, transistion and change, what you really mean is, starvation and despair, suicide and wife beatings, drunks and drugs, this is what this type of economy creates.
Children growing up with no fathers, because either he has had to leave here to go elsewhere to work, or he runs off and leaves his family to do the best they can.
This is one more example of the downturn of the Country.
Thanks to the politicians, lol.
Pick them carefully?
How about f them and dont vote at all, because it doesnt matter who gets in there, they are just as dirty rotten and crooked as the last bunch.
#23 Nov 7, 2013
I'm not going to disagree with you on the path and conditions you listed. You may be right on the not voting at all but I will reserve my right to go vote against some of the people that have been in there the last 30 years and wasting our coal severance money. That money was earmarked for times such as we are entering now. It was supposed to be set aside for non coal job creation for a time when coal was not going to be our main industry.
We need to make sure those people or anybody they support don't get the chance to waste what little coal severance we will be getting over the next 10 years.
We may just vote in another bunch of incompetent crooks but at least it will be new crooks, might accidently get someone in that will work on non coal economy and saving the region.
#25 Nov 7, 2013
on that i do agree. the money should be set aside, not only for job creation for out of work miners and those also affected by the loss of coal economy. but for the miners themselves.
i have always felt part of that money needed to go to a fund to help relocate them to new jobs, pay part of their bills til they either get hired someplace new, or trained for a new career.
afterall, those men put that money in there. they should benefit from it in more ways than an airport, or a place to watch plays.
#26 Nov 8, 2013
2 Words.....Natural Gas.
You stupid boy.
#27 Nov 8, 2013
#28 Nov 8, 2013
Natural Gas is not a renewable energy source, it is a carbon fuel. The Obama campaign to make coal more expensive so the renewables will be on equal footing has no relationship with natural gas.
How does pitting one carbon fuel against another fall into his push for using renewable sources.
We got both but employ more with coal than nat gas. As EPA keeps raising the clean air standard soon Natural Won't meet it either, it is just called the transition fuel. The fuel that burns 50% cleaner that bridges the gap between coal and the renewable energy sources.
The chemicals you lick off the glossy 8X10 of your hero Obama is effecting your brain.
#29 Nov 8, 2013
eat soup beans and sit under a blanket with a 399 lb man or woman of your choice and pray for summer
#30 Nov 8, 2013
People are leaving ky all together, pike county has no jobs, Plus you have to drive so far just to get to work all your money go's to gas and car insurance and then your broke, just fed up with pike county ky, This place is really becoming like hell for the people, so sad.
#31 Nov 8, 2013
#32 Nov 8, 2013
If the mountains fail ky fails. Let's get the interstates through there so that tourism can develop. There's money to be made in developing the hatfield and McCoy idea. People, the Garfield's and mccoys are known the world over and people will come from the world over to talk with the real hayfields and mccoys jump on this now. It's crazy but there are people with money that will pay to tour a coal mine . People will also pay to ride a train from the track ends Resturant to pikeville- look at the train ride and coal tipple in sterns ky and the my old ky dinner train the is in bardstown. There can be ski resorts in pike county just like they have iat paoeli peeks in Indiana. An amusement park with killer roller coaster will bring people into pikeville from California. Man if this flat lander had the financial backing I would bring money into pikeville to build those things. As a central ky flat lander I would drive 180 miles from central ky to go skiing at a pike county ski slope. I would rather spend my skiing money in pikeville than in Indiana. The mountains are full of druggies - bull crap, the mountains are full of some of the most real and genuine people that I have ever known.
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