Coal Report for Novemeber 30, 2016

 

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource David Boggs of Cumberland, Kentucky: “He’ll put the coal business back together.”

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource
David Boggs of Cumberland, Kentucky: “He’ll put the coal business back together.”

Trumped: Coal’s Collapse, Economic Anxiety Motivated Ohio Valley Voters

Ohio Valley ReSource reporters asked Trump voters what they hope he will do as president.

MONTAGE OF VOTER VOICES:  “More than Obama did! We need jobs.” “I don’t think Trump is some savior. He’s not a savior. But he is somebody with a different perspective.” “I will keep my fingers crossed that he can effect some real change in this country.”

We also asked some questions of the data… how county-by-county vote results match up with some key economic information about the region. The results offers some insights and raise some questions about what motivated Trump voters here.

One obvious factor: anxiety over the collapse of coal. Here are eastern Kentucky Trump supporters Judy Collier and David Boggs. 

“Our coal jobs are gone here in eastern Kentucky and we need jobs./“He’ll put the coal business back together and straighten this country up a little bit, maybe.”

Resource data reporter Alexandra Kanik looked at the votes for Clinton and Trump in the counties in the three-state region that produce the most coal.

KANIK:  “The top coal producing counties in the region, they had 2, 3 sometimes 6 times the support for Trump.”

Trump seized on coal’s decline and pinned the blame on federal regulations. West Virginia University history professor Hal Gorby says that fits a long pattern in regional politics.

GORBY:  “Rolling back environmental regulations, what’s called the overreach of EPA, sometimes referred to as the ‘war on coal.’ That language has had a lot of support of course before Trump was running for president.”

The “war on coal” is still politically potent but it doesn’t match well with facts. Executives at electric utilities say their move away from coal has more to do with economics than environmental regulation. Natural gas is just cheaper.

Trump supporters also want manufacturing jobs to return. That’s something Trump voters Martin Dofka and Jack Rose of Wheeling both talked about.

DOFKA/ROSE:  “I am hopeful he can do something to bring businesses back to this country.” You see jobs outsourced to Mexico, Canada, China, everywhere but here.”

While free trade helped consumers and some companies, the Ohio Valley’s heavy manufacturing base suffered. Many manufacturing and mining communities fell into economic distress.

ReSource reporter Kanik’s analysis shows several counties with the worst poverty also had the greatest turnout for Trump.

KANIK:  “Martin County, with some of the highest poverty in Kentucky, had 10 times the vote for Trump. In fact, no county in our region with greater than 30 percent poverty went blue.”

The Appalachian Regional Commission says 54 counties in the region are economically distressed. All but one — Athens County, Ohio — went for Trump.

Democratic positions on taxes and government services traditionally favor folks with low incomes. But Professor Gorby says it’s not that simple. Democrats, he says, long ago drifted from a platform that appealed to many working people.

GORBY:  “It’s left a lot of people in the rust belt and Appalachia feeling neglected.”

For the Ohio Valley ReSource, I’m Jeff Young in Louisville.

The Coal Report is a weekly production of WMMT. It is assembled from newspapers and press services and reports coal-related material as these sources give it. It does not represent the opinion of WMMT on the matters discussed. Our aim is to reflect both local developments regarding coal and the big picture we’re a part of. For feedback, comments, or questions, email [email protected]

MN&WR: Roads

 

Main Street of Whitesburg in 1911

Main Street of Whitesburg in 1911

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In this episode of Mountain News & World Report, we’re thinking of roads. Highways, roads, trails, paths… walkways… mountain roads and how they get us from here to there.  In roads and out roads.  Deeply worn roads that have been traveled by generations and new roads, that pave the way to the future.

For our first segment, we’re looking at eating as a road to health instead of dis-ease.  The holiday season means food… sometimes too much of it.  And the Ohio Valley region is already dealing with some of the nation’s highest rates of obesity.  A new way of thinking about food might help.  Mary Meehan of the Ohio Valley ReSource, reports on the promise of a practice called “mindful eating.”

Our second story is from Malcolm J. Wilson and the Humans of Central Appalachia Project. Malcolm spoke with Russell Huff, whose life has in many ways been defined by roads old and new. . As late as the 1970s many inhabited places in Appalachia had no roads, and life was both struggle and adventure.

Finally, WMMT is excited to introduce the first edition of Central Appalachia Wonders, or CAW, where YOU our listener asks questions relevant to our region and community, and together, we scavenge for the answers. the question for this episode is about… you guessed it – roads. John Skaggs asks about the condition of our southeastern Kentucky roads and host Kelli Haywood speaks with Mike Hansel, an Environmental Engineer for a Regional Energy Co., and Jason Forson, Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Southeast Kentucky Community and Techincal College to get at the answer. Be sure to ask a question of your own and you just might hear the answer on air – Central Appalachia Wonders.

 

caw 

Mountain News & World Report is a bi-weekly production of WMMT, and new episodes air every other Thursday at 6pm on WMMT, with a repeat broadcast the following Sunday morning at 10:30.  To listen to previous episodes, check out our streaming archives.

Mtn. Talk Monday: Author Carrie Mullins

Carrie Mullins joins host Kelli Haywood in WMMT studios for this edition of Mountain Talk Monday. Carrie’s debut novel, Night Garden, was released by the Lexington small publisher Old Cove Press in 2015. In Night Garden, Carrie tackles the issue of substance misuse and addiction in Appalachia from the eyes of 17 year old Marie Massey. Through Marie’s pursuit of independence and individual identity, Carrie allows the reader an inside experience with one family’s struggles to maintain livelihood and life in the face of drugs. Kelli speaks with Carrie about the process of writing her book, the realities of the Appalachian experience with addiction, solutions, and the importance of literature tackling the hardest issues working in our communities.

Photo and Cover Art by Nyoka Hawkins

Photo and Cover Art by Nyoka Hawkins

Mountain Talk is WMMT’s twice-weekly community space for conversation, airing each Monday & Wednesday from 6-7 p.m.  Mountain Talk programs focus on a variety of topics related to life in the mountains, including: food, community issues, art, health, and more.  Click here to hear past programs.

MN&WR: Conversations on Addiction

  • How do regional rates of opioid misuse affect the potential for transitioning the economy of coalfields Appalachia?  Report Kelli Haywood speaks with business owners, healthcare providers, and government officials about employment and addiction.
  • Carrie Mullins, author of debut novel Night Garden, speaks with Kelli Haywood about the crisis of addiction and the humanity in the midst.

  • Aaron Payne of the Ohio Valley ReSource gives an update on the use of the overdose drug naloxone.  Kelli Haywood shares a special public service announcement for all persons and families navigating active addiction.

Photo and Cover Art by Nyoka Hawkins

Photo and Cover Art by Nyoka Hawkins

Photo by James Heilman MD

Photo by James Heilman MD

 

This episode of Mountain News & World Report features past and current conversations among Appalachians about the destructive impact opioid addiction is having on the region’s communities. Solutions begin with acceptance and conversations.  Dr. James A. Becker writes in his article, The Crisis of Opiates in Appalachia, published by the Marshall Journal of Medicine this year, “Addiction is one of the most challenging health conditions to manage. The problem’s complications include the combination of physical and mental health diagnoses that interact with social factors, leading vulnerable individuals to self-medicate with narcotics.   Even if treatment addresses all of these factors driving the addiction, a patient may move toward recovery, fail, and relapse into drug use again, and then recycle through the treatment programs. The deadly cycle often repeats time and again. Unlike most medical conditions that can be cured or, at least stabilized, addiction frequently runs out of control with devastating impact on addicts, families and communities.”

 

For our first story we revisit a previous report from WMMT’s Kelli Haywood featuring the potential influence of the crisis on the future of coalfield Appalachian economies. In our next feature, Kelli Haywood speaks with eastern Kentucky author Carrie Mullins.  Mullins’s debut novel Night Garden, published by Old Cove Press delves deep into one picture of drug use, abuse, and distribution. For our final reports, Aaron Payne of the Ohio Valley ReSource gives an update on the use of the overdose drug naloxone. And to end our episode, Kelli Haywood shares a special public service announcement for all persons and families navigating active addiction.

Mountain News & World Report is a bi-weekly production of WMMT, and new episodes air every other Thursday at 6pm on WMMT, with a repeat broadcast the following Sunday morning at 10:30.  To listen to previous episodes, check out our streaming archives.

Mtn. Talk Monday: Hospice of the Bluegrass

In this episode of Mountain Talk Monday, host Kelli Haywood welcomes to the studio representatives from Hospice of the Bluegrass. Novemember is Hospice and Pallitative Care Awareness Month, and the group discusses questions and concerns that families might have when their loved one is receiving or may need such care. The Hospice team describes their multifaceted form of care, all the services they provide, and the many volunteer opportunities for the community. Also, several great upcoming events are highlighted, including the “Before I Die” wall. Listen to the episode and share it with your friends!

For more information on upcoming events and receiving hospice services visit the Hospice of the Bluegrass website at www.hospicebg.org.

Representatives from Hospice of the Bluegrass

Representatives from Hospice of the Bluegrass

Mountain Talk is WMMT’s twice-weekly community space for conversation, airing each Monday & Wednesday from 6-7 p.m.  Mountain Talk programs focus on a variety of topics related to life in the mountains, including: food, community issues, art, health, and more.  Click here to hear past programs.

Coal Report for November 02, 2016

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects a small, short-lived uptick in production in the coal basin that includes Eastern Kentucky beginning in a couple of years, followed by continued decline over 20 years.  The rate of job losses in Kentucky overall seems to have slowed during the last quarter, however the state still experienced an overall loss.  Production has increased this quarter in western Kentucky while continuing to decrease in eastern Kentucky.  Analysts do not anticipate eastern Kentucky coal to ever recover because the thick, easy-to-reach seams have been mined out making what is left not economically viable to mine.  New technology allows plants to burn dirtier, cheaper coal and cheaper competition from natural gas and renewables make a recovery even more unlikely. Continue reading Coal Report for November 02, 2016