The Cure for Coal Country

Original Idea by Thomas A. Stone

Written by Gregory D. Stone II

Being from Kentucky, coal is and has been a huge part of the economic system in the rural parts of the state. However, in the last few years more and more people have lost their jobs as stricter environmental regulations forced some mines to close. Ultimately this drove the major source of employment in some communities to close. In May 2016 it was reported that the coal industry had dipped to its lowest levels of employment in 118 years. This coupled with some of the highest numbers of poverty in the country have sent parts of Eastern Kentucky in to a tail spin of unemployment and other unforseen results. It seems that someone should at the very least propose an idea to help alleviate some of these issues and with the help of my brother I intend to do just that.

First we have to talk about the opinion of coal in the country as it stands. Many people believe that the coal industry is a major contributor to the growing environmental issues that we as a country face. This pushes many people to lobby for more environmentally friendly options such as solar or wind power. On the other side of that coin however are the people whom mine the coal and depend on mines as the only way to provide for their families leaving them to lobby against coal regulations. Also something to note is that many times the men and women that work in mines and in the coal industry in general are unskilled laborers that have little to no further education after high school. This forces many people no other choice but to depend on coal mining.

The solution I am suggesting is simply that, a suggestion, that has its own benefits and draw backs. I am suggesting that the nation, as it moves toward wider use of renewable energy resources, begin a program that allows for training of unskilled laborers affected by the massive loss in coal jobs, to learn to build and maintain wind turbines for use in producing electricity. Wind farms generally are large and employ many people to build and maintain the turbines to keep them running at optimal levels to produce the most amount of energy possible. Also like most other forms of large elaborate equipment the turbines will eventually require maintenance and monitoring. This training would not only offer jobs to those with out them, it would also provide training to people who may have otherwise never recieved any other vocational training. This would improve many of their chances for future employment as well.

The benefits of this suggested program include.

  • Employment for many unemployed or impoverished people
  • Alleviation of much of the poverty issue in rural areas
  • A cleaner, healthier environment
  • A better trained workforce

This program would not be without its drawbacks, which include

  • The general implication of the program itself. Most likely funded by taxes, much like many other parts of our infrastructure, it would be met with its share of detractors.
  • The basic dismantling of the coal industry as a whole.
  • The need for land to support the windfarms

This program would however not only be a benefit to the coal workers and rural areas but it would benefit people all over the country in many ways. These include the demand for jobs in industries that produce parts for wind turbines, the need for engineers and architechts to plan and oversee the planning and building of wind farms. An added benefit would be to the american people as a whole. With wind energy it is possible to produce large amounts of electricity efficiently and relatively cheaply which would cause many people to see reduced utility bills thus easing some of the financial burden on families struggling to make ends meet. In February of 2017 it was reported that in Denmark wind turbines were able to produce 216,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in 24 hours. In February of 2017 it was reported that in Denmark wind turbines were able to produce 216,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in 24 hours.

Not without its drawbacks this program could very well help to end the issues of poverty and environmental destruction in the United States. In a time of uncertainty and disillusion, this is something to think about