Coal Miners Take New Path With Apple Tree Planting

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Officials say displaced coal miners and veterans will be hired as part of an apple tree-planting project.

The state Department of Environmental Protection says in a news release that the Patriot Guardens Golden Delicious Apple Project will receive $5.3 million. It’s part of a $90 million abandoned mine lands reclamation pilot program in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The DEP says the apple tree project was initiated by the West Virginia National Guard. It involves planting 100,000 apple trees on 500 acres in Nicholas and Clay counties. Clay County is the birthplace of the golden delicious apple.

The DEP release didn’t say how many ex-coal miners would be hired. Thousands of miners have been laid off in recent years due to the economic downturn in the coal industry.