VIRGINIA CITY, VA — An Appalachian mining town once crushed by the restrictions and penalties put forth by the Obama administration is now back in the black and its residents say they have one person to thank for their turn of fortune. Donald Trump.
In the rural community where coal is king, coal mines that have been vacant for years are now up and running again.
“We load coal every day for the power plant in Virginia City,” Rick, a supervisor for a major local coal operation who did not want to give his last name, told Fox News. “There’s one shipment a week for Georgia Power, and one for Tennessee Eastman.”
Since president Trump’s inauguration in January the town has seen a resurrection of the industry that once served as the life source of the region’s economy, and locals say Trump’s pro-energy agenda is what’s driving their town’s economic comeback.
Trump famously promised to do everything he could to help the coal mining industry rebuild and took a giant step toward that goal last month when he eliminated the Stream Protection Rule (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/02/congress-scraps-obama-era-rules-on-coal-mining-background-checks.html), which had once crippled the industry with regulations.
“There’s definitely cautious optimism after years of being brutally beaten down,” Jeremy Sussman, an analyst at Clarksons Platou Securities Inc., told Bloomberg (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-17/u-s-coal-mines-are-opening-in-a-year-of-cautious-optimism).
For many in Appalachia, who have lived for nearly a decade in a deep economic depression, the president’s new agenda is giving them something more important than money…it’s given them hope.
“We’re staffing up,” Corsa Chief Executive Officer George Dethlefsen told Bloomberg. “We’re going to hire 100 people, and we’ve gotten hundreds of applications.”
Earlier this month, Ramaco announced the industry’s first initial public offering in two years. In addition to the three mines it’s now planning to open in 2017, the company says it hopes to get one in Pennsylvania permitted so it can start operations in 2019.
“We will be a very big shot in the arm down into an area that certainly needs some help and good news,” Ramaco Chairman Randall Atkins told Bloomberg.
The town once filled with Democrats now proudly decorate their lawns with Trump signs.
“I don’t think production is going to go down anytime soon,” Jason, an underground miner from Big Stone Gap told Fox News. “At one of the mines in the town of Appalachia, [employees] were told they would have work for the next four years.”