According to projections, coal production in southern West Virginia is likely to go down in the coming years. However, this may not have the same long term impact on jobs. As this blog post from the WV Center on Budget and Policy points out, there is some chance that employment may actually rebound or even increase over the long term.
Going after highly priced but relatively scarce metallurgical coal, most of which is underground, may require more "miner hours," which adds up to more work for miners.
Of course, all of this is speculation. Southern West Virginia is headed for a rough transition regardless and it makes sense to prepare for that by convening an economic transition task force and by creating a Future Fund so that West Virginians in the years to come will enjoy some of the fruits of the extraction of non-renewable resources.
Blaming the president and the EPA for problems that go way beyond either, which is the sport of many of WV's political leaders, is intellectually and morally dishonest. And it just plain won't work in the long term. Whether southern WV is in for a hard or soft landing, we need to prepare.
CHILDHOOD NEGLECT is bad for the brain.
STRANGENESS may improve creativity. That explains a lot.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED