By Michael Abraham
Recent commentaries critical of the Obama administration’s regulatory approach to coal mining and his so-called “war on coal” (for example, “Griffith and Allen will fight for the 9th,” Sept. 24, commentary by Marcy Hernick) call for clarity.
Coal mining has been an active part of the economy in several Southwest Virginia and eastern Kentucky counties, along with most of West Virginia, for more than 100 years. Early operations involved pick-and-shovel techniques of underground mining. During the 1950s and 1960s, mechanization of the mines put hundreds of thousands of miners out of work, as a single machine could do the work of 40 or more men. The populations of coalfield communities crashed as people fled the region in search of work.
Abraham is a businessman and writer, living in Blacksburg.