Publication of the Associated Press article, “Ex-coal mining CEO asks Trump to resist punishing coal exec,” is another example of the Herald-Leader negatively impacting perception of the coal industry.
Don Blankenship does not speak for the industry and, more specifically, does not speak for Kentucky’s coal industry. Nevertheless, the Herald-Leader chose to run with an article presenting irrelevant, uninformed, and biased opinions because it might help promote anti-coal views and the false notion of coal executives who do not care about employees.
Over the past eight years, Kentucky coal production has fallen from 121 million tons in 2008 to just 42 million tons in 2016, directly resulting in the loss of over 11,000 jobs. The impacts of the “war on coal” have devastated our coalfield economies. However, during this unprecedented decline of the coal industry in Kentucky, through cooperative efforts with state and federal regulators and the hard work of producers, coal mines are safer than they have ever been.
In fact, the injury rate for underground coal miners has declined 30 percent since 2008.
Our miners work extremely hard to provide for their families and provide America’s source of affordable, reliable energy. This resource provides a competitive advantage for all manufacturing industries, especially those vital to Kentucky such as aluminum, automotive and steel. Whether they are executives or equipment operators, they approach their jobs every day with the best interest of all employees and coworkers at heart. The real stakeholders in the coal Industry are committed to working toward new and innovative ways to improve mine safety.
There is certainly room for a healthy and honest discussion regarding the proper size, extent and effectiveness of regulations related to the mining industry. Unfortunately, that becomes considerably more difficult when newspapers like the Herald-Leader continue to give a voice to outsiders in order to fuel their own biased agendas.
President, Kentucky Coal Association