Coal Mine

This Feb. 15, 2017 photo shows railroad tracks along the West Virginia town of Matoaka, which once carried coal trains several times a day and at night.
Michael Virtanen / AP

A union official says a coal mine in northern West Virginia has been idled, with 260 workers losing their jobs, apparently because of adverse geological conditions and market issues.

Bullets, Bullet, Ammunition
Pixabay

Nearly a year ago, executives with Ranger Scientific LLC announced plans to bring a large industrial facility to a reclaimed surface mine site in West Virginia.

Several state officials, mostly Republicans, spoke at the event and touted the pro-business legislative agenda they said helped attract the ammunitions manufacturing project near Belle.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we meet members of the United Mine Workers of America's Local 1440 union in Matewan, where a group of retired miners say they don't see Pres. Donald Trump's promises  to bring coal jobs back to the region coming true. 

The group, which largely voted for Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, says coal's struggles aren't the result of former Pres. Barack Obama's policies, but of the free market.

April 25, 1923: Labor Leader Arnold Miller Born in Kanawha County

Apr 25, 2016
E- WV Encyclopedia / Rick Lee via Goldenseal magazine

Labor leader Arnold Miller was born in Kanawha County on April 25, 1923. The son and grandson of coal miners, Miller quit school at age 16 to become a miner himself. 

April 5, 1856: Educator Booker T. Washington Born in Franklin County

Apr 5, 2016
Booker T. Washington
e-WV Encyclopedia / Library of Congress

Educator Booker T. Washington was born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia, on April 5, 1856. After the Civil War, he relocated to Malden, a few miles east of Charleston, where he attended a one-room school for blacks. He also was tutored by Viola Ruffner, whom he later credited for instilling in him the qualities of cleanliness and hard work.

March 14, 1974: Dr. I. E. Buff Dies at 65

Mar 14, 2016
Dr. I. E. Buff
University of Virginia Library

Dr. I. E. Buff died in Charleston on March 14, 1974, at age 65. Buff was the first physician to protest publicly that many coal miners’ deaths were inaccurately being labeled as heart attacks. He argued that the coronaries were being caused by a widespread disease known commonly as black lung. He suggested that as many as half of West Virginia’s 40,000 miners suffered from black lung.

March 11, 1939: W.Va. Becomes First State to Pass Law on Surface Mining

Mar 11, 2016
Bureau of Land Management

  On March 11, 1939, the West Virginia Legislature passed the state’s first law regulating surface mining. Once referred to as strip mining, surface mining strips away earth, rock, and vegetation—known as overburden—to expose coal deposits.

February 15, 1902: Confederate Veteran Isaiah Welch Dies at 76

Feb 15, 2016
A 1946 Saturday afternoon, Main Street, Welch.
Russell Lee via e-WV Encyclopedia

Industrial promoter, land speculator, and railroad developer Isaiah Welch died at St. Albans in Kanawha County on February 15, 1902. He was about 76.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, We hear from Ron Pennington about being a trailblazer for African Americans in professional football.

Join West Virginia Public Broadcasting for an exclusive preview of The Mine Wars from PBS's American Experience series, with special guest, Executive Producer Mark Samels.

The event will be held Thursday, January 21 at 6:30 pm in Beckley, WV in the Hulett C. Smith theater at Tamarack.

Coal Layoffs, unemployed
Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Alpha Natural Resources continues to scale back its coal-mining operations.

Workers were told Friday at mines in West Virginia and Virginia that they were being laid off. The total in both states is more than 160, with the majority occurring in West Virginia, according to media reports.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Nov. 20 marks the anniversary of the 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster, which killed 78 men. It was the worst U.S. mine disaster in 50 years. On Sunday, a crowd of about 150 people gathered at the memorial of the Farmington Mine Disaster.

Alpha Natural Resources

Alpha Natural Resources expects to idle a West Virginia coal mine that employs more than 400 workers. 

In a press release, Alpha said it notified 439 workers Friday that it expects to idle Rockspring Development's Camp Creek underground mine and processing plant in Wayne County.

 Last week, Alpha cut 71 jobs at four mines in Kentucky and Virginia.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

House Judiciary took up a bill Tuesday that addresses mine safety. Senate Bill 357, also known as House Bill 2566, is the Coal Jobs and Safety Act of 2015. This is a big bill with many provisions, and House Judiciary considered a handful of amendments to it.