Trump-backing Pennsylvania county braces for layoffs as coal mine closure threatens hundreds of jobs
President Donald Trump may have ended the so-called “war on coal,” but that doesn’t seem to have changed the fortunes of the coal-mining industry as a whole.
Local news station WTVA reports that 370 coal miners are expected to be unemployed after a coal mine located in Greene County, Pennsylvania closes for good this year. The mine closing would all but wipe out any gains made in coal mining employment since Trump’s election, as the coal industry has so far added just 500 jobs over the last year.
Blair Zimmerman, a retired coal miner who now serves as Greene County’s chairman of county commissioners, tells WTVA that the mine closing will be a major blow for the entire area.
“Layoffs are bad, but when it comes to shutting down a mine, that’s as bad as it gets,” he said.
Zimmerman said that, despite the election of Trump, the low price of natural gas has continued to hammer the coal industry, just as it did during the Obama administration. In all, Zimmerman said that it’s very hard to see coal coming back as Trump has repeatedly promised.
“They voted for Trump because he said he’d bring back coal,” said Zimmerman, speaking of the 68 percent of voters in his county who backed Trump. “It’s not happening. There’s not been any significant change in the industry since he’s taken over.”