MADISON, W.Va. — State Senator Ron Stollings is a medical doctor. At his practice in Madison he says he can see the toll of job stress first hand among his patients who have jobs tied to the coal industry. 

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Sen. Ron Stollings (D-Boone, 7)

Stollings said he can see insomnia and blood pressure consistently rising among his patients, especially after last week’s WARN notices from Alpha Natural Resources for 1,100 workers.

“People are losing hope,” the senator said Monday on MetroNews Talkline. “We’re always looking for a ‘it might not be as bad’ or ‘maybe the market will come back.’ But the most acutely affected are our hard working coal miners and I’ve seen them in the office. Their blood pressure is high.”

He added the pressure is not just on miners, but on every person in the county which depends on the coal industry for the local economy. Local businesses are impacted, particulary car dealers and real estate agents.

“There’s a lot of ‘for sale’ signs on houses,” said Stollings. “People have come in here making 85-thousand dollars. They’ve bought houses and cars. You get 485 people laid off and this goes from top to bottom.”

Sen. Stollings said the state will also feel the pinch. He said Boone County alone provided more than $50 million in revenue to the state budget. He said it is disappointing very little has been done to diversify the economy, but added it could eventually be done if there’s a will to do it.

“You’ve got the I-64 corridor which is congested and lots of traffic,” he said. “The easiest thing to do is come down 119 toward Madison. There’s all kinds of beautiful land and you’re right outside of Charleston. It’s already happening, but it needs to come further. This is a very liveable place.”

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Comments

  • Beth

    I find it funny that Senator Stollings is speaking out now for coal - in 2009, and the other WV democrats brought us state level Cap & Trade (HB 103, passed in a special session in 2009 - right before Joe Manchin shot a hole in the federal Cap & Trade bill to win the US Senate seat.)

    If WV had been electing real leaders, we wouldn't have a 'war against coal'. Remember that in November. (The following legislators voted FOR WV Cap & Trade: Senate/Barnes, Bowman, Browning, Chafin, Edgell, Facemire, Facemyer, Fanning, Foster, Green, Guills, Helmick, Jenkins, Kessler, Laird, McCabe, Minard, Oliverio, Palumbo, Plymale, Prezioso, Synder, STOLLINGS, Unger, Wells, Williams, Yost and TOMBLIN (now Gov.) House/Argento, Barker, Beach, Boggs, Brown, Butcher, Campbell, CAnn, Caputo, Cowles, Craig, Crosier, Doyle, Eldridge, Evans, Ferro, Fleischauer, Fragale, Kominar, Lawrence, Lonstreth, Mahan, Manchin, Manypenny, Marshall, Martin, Michael, Miley, Moore, Morgan, Paxton, Perdue, Perry, Pethtel, Phillips, Poling, D.; Poling, M.; Reynolds, Ross, Shaver, Shook, Skaff, Smith, Spencer, Staggers, Stephens, Stowers, Susman, Swartzmiller, Tabb, Talbott, Varner, Walker, Webster, Wells, White, Williams, Wooton and Thompson.

  • Vickie lester

    Please save the coal

  • Vickie lester

    Save the coal save our Jobs.

  • From the north

    If anyone thinks that fracking for natural gas is better for the environment than coal mining they are sadly mistaken. Come up to Pennsylvania and have a sip from a contaminated well and tell me what you think. Gasification is a word there were plans for a coal gasification plant to be built in Donaldson Pa but they changed their minds and will now be using natural gas. Google the company Emberclear and read all about it.

  • NBP

    I read these comments and just chuckle. I have been a coal miner for 16 yrs, and if you think it's gonna disappear you are delusional. Yes a lot of the thermal coal will disappear from the US market for awhile. But it will be back more than likely. But most of the coal mined today is met coal and it's not going anywhere. I feel for the miners that have lost there jobs, and I hope the best for them and their families.

  • Hillbilly

    Hey Jack , you all voted for the Slick Black Community Organizer from Chicago That said he was going to do this and you were so Stupid you voted him in anyway , you are getting just what you deserve . Enjoy !

    • Boone County Proud

      Please have your facts correct before bashing my beloved county and state. Although West Virginia has traditionally voted democratic throughout history, if you had bothered to check before you posted, you would have seen that WV broke that trend in the last several elections. In fact BHO did not carry a single WV county in the 2012 election

  • Mine Foreman

    I have worked underground for over 20 years. Spent near 14 years with Massey then ventured off to other companies. I travel a lot and have to say from my experiences as a Mining Consultant and having the opportunity to travel the Country and overseas to Australia, South America and South Africa I gained a lot of friends high up in the Coal Industry.. Our area has killed itself by letting these companies come in and offer these high paying jobs blinding most of the people who work their and blinding the public that every time a Federal inspector or a State Inspector came in and found multiple violations which resulted in large fines.We as management were coerced by company lawyers to say the violations weren't actually there. Which in turn after months and months the companies denied to pay these violations which after time owed super large amounts of money to the government. I can personally vouch for one company I was a General Mine Foreman with owed over 2 Million to the Feds in 2006. This was 1 mines. I personally know of this company with multiple mines owing the Federal government of over 100 Million dollars. That's just one Company in our area. Just think of the money owed by other companies that you guys don't know about. A few of us always knew this was coming to our area just didn't know when. If you leave the circle of of Southern Wva, Eastern Ky and Western Va the Coal Industry is booming. I personally know this because I left and went to Northern Wva. I went a week ago to Illinois for an interview with a mining company and while there I found at least 10 or more separate companies begging for good Miners that either match or pay better than what we seen at home. So honestly a few of us always seen this coming. I hate to see it, its caused a rise in drugs, theft, depression and that's just scratching the surface. So in ending I do not approve of our Presidential administration and I'm not defending them but this was due to happen at home and we shoulda been looking at the companies who we worked for instead of blaming the government who our companies robbed out of Millions maybe trillions.I honestly believe if they would a payed all the fines they owed, we all would still be working.. If you wanna mine coal your gonna have to pack up and go to where the work is..

  • Go coal

    I am a wife of acoalminer who has been laid off in the past couple of weeks. I have to say it is very stressful. It sucks not having money to pay your house and car payment. It sucks not being able to feed your kids. It sucks that he makes 20 dollars to much together food stamps and a medical card. It sucks that the government doesn't have programs or jobs set up for the laid off coalminers and their families. I'm sorry but minimum wage is t an option. Yes coal does damage to the earth, but what about all these cars and everything else that pollutes the air. Why not put a stop to all that before you take people's jobs away.

  • Samantha P

    Getting rid of coal is not the answer. It isn't just coal miners whose lives are affected by this, the train companies who transport the coal, the power plant operators, the companies who fix and supply the coal mines with their material and equipment will all be affected as more and more coal mines lay off and close. Maybe the government should spend some of their money researching ways to use coal to make other fuel sources and energy. Other countries are doing it and other countries have tried using other sources of energy t and return to using coal. I'm glad people think it's that easy to say get rid of it and the coal miners can figure it out well who do you think is buying your products and spending money in your community ?

    • wsr

      Coal gasification plant

      • Coal?

        "Gasification" is not a word. Try to at least form real words WSR.

        Coal is dying and coal soon will be dead. I know that it's tough to wrap your little sheep mind around that; however, it is happening and you will be getting your power from the sun or from wind or from natural gas.

        Sorry, but the end for coal is nigh. Coal is poison.

        • George

          You need to get out of WV........ignorant

        • WSR

          Gasification is a real word and there have been plants built in other states. Its already been proven the wind and the sun cannot make enough electric for the country. You stupid tree huggin hippie!!!

  • There is no doubt that Appalachia is a beautiful land, but if there is no way for people to make a living, the beauty and serenity of this beautiful place, just mask the disparity of its people.

    I think coal miners need an organization, similar to the EPA, to protect our lives. We could call it, MAPA, Mining Americans Protection Agency.

  • WSR

    To all you people who are against COAL, Go shut off the main breaker to your house and then see how much you like it!!!!!!!!!
    Then when you pay your gas bill, go ahead and triple the payment, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!

    • Coal?

      There are many sources of energy other than dirty, polluting & poisonous coal. Many homes throughout the nation do not rely on coal for energy at all.

      Therefore, there is no need for your suggestion to turn off the main breaker. Many of us have decided not to contribute to the pollution and destruction of our land and homes and have moved away from coal. Many energy companies have as well and/or are in the process of doing so.

      There is no need to frighten the public with the "oh no the cost of heating and powering your home will go up" propaganda. That is false. As technology continues to develop, energy sources other than coal will continue to become cheaper and cheaper.

      Many people would prefer to pay slightly more currently so as to cut off the flow of coal, which continues to destroy and pollute our land, water & air.

      Better move on fast WSR, coal will be removed as an energy source in the United States in the not to distant future and that will be the greatest thing to happen to our country. If we're lucky, stringent EPA regulations will cease coal operations even quicker than we had hoped.

      Move on West Virginia! Coal kills!

      • wsr

        Where does your power come from? Do you even know? More than likely a COAL fired power plant!!!!!! DUMBASS!!

        • Coal?

          More than likely, you failed to read my comment.

          My energy does not come from coal because it is poisonous trash.

        • wsr

          So like I said, trip the breaker and live in the DARK!!!!!

          • Coal?

            So angry and so wrong. You failed to respond to any of my excellent points. Why? You are wrong. Coal is dying and shortly will be dead. Thankfully for our beautiful State, coal sheep such as yourself will have to move elsewhere. Can't wait to have you gone!

            Coal is dying and coal will soon be dead. Time to grow a brain in your tiny redneck head!!

            Move on West Virginia!!

          • wsr

            Like I said when the coal competition goes away, the cost of natural gas and oil skyrocket. You stupid people believe something will be cheaper!! HAHAHAHAHA! NOTHING WILL EVER BE CHEAPER!!!

  • Jason412

    I'm in my 20's, follow a strict diet to maintain weight, and power lift 5 days a week, but since moving back to WV I've been on high blood pressure medicine. It isn't just the miner's, or businesses that depend on them, it's something about WV.

  • Coal?

    Though I feel badly for the people who will lose their jobs in the dying carcass of an industry that is coal, and I empathize with their increased stress levels, anything marking steps taken to cease coal production are a good thing, both for West Virginia and for the United States. Now if only more coal companies would cease operations and lay people off, we as a state could move on into the future and end our dependence on the poison that is coal.

    To all of the blind sheep who support the coal scourge, please read the following:

    People blame the coal industry for what the coal industry is responsible for - poisoned drinking water, polluted air that contributes greatly to pulmonary and other diseases, greatly reduced quality of life, destruction of mountains that have provided food, freedom, clean water, shelter, repose, beauty & medicine for generations. Remember, as you attack those who encourage West Virginia to move on past dirty, polluted & outdated coal, that there is NO freedom without clean water & as the Freedom Industries spill showed us, poisoned water is terrible for business. The coal industry is destroying itself by pillaging the land for short-term profit using as few miners as it can get away with (mechanization has led to more job loss than any other cause - employment continues to go down, production continues to rise) while completely ignoring and wholly externalizing long-term adverse impacts to our health, communities, local economies, land, air & water.

    Let's hope that coal continues its downward spiral and ceases to be an energy source in the not-to-distant future.

    The proverbial writing is on the wall! Move on West Virginia!

    Montani Semper Liberi!

  • Harpers Ferry

    Ah, but if there is no coal mined, then MINORS will have less anxiety over the possibility if coal in their stockings. Stop being so negative people!

  • any major dude

    Indeed coal workers are caught in a downward spiral of a dying industry, but it doesn't account for the entire story, as coal has, rightly or wrongly, been tied to global climate change. How much of the difficulty is due to poor demand and how much to regulation depends on who you ask. I can say that the first thing both Jim Justice and the Governor mention is poor demand, due to the rise of natural gas, then add the policy almost as an afterthought. If you ask Capito, however, its all about unnecessary government regulation and she will mention the poor demand only if pressed hard enough.