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“Bloody Harlan” Revisited: Blackjewel Miners Draw On Labor History While Facing Uncertain Future

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Curtis Cress sat in the gravel beside a railroad track in Harlan County, Kentucky. Tall and thin with a long, black beard, Cress is every bit a coal miner, or, he was until a month ago. “It’s part of my heritage, you know? My dad and papaws had always done it,” he said. “And I’m… Read More

Few Answers For Unpaid Miners After Day One of Blackjewel Sales Hearing

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Blackjewel coal miners will have to wait at least another day to learn if the sale of the bankrupt coal company’s mines and equipment will deliver their overdue paychecks. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia recessed Monday after an all-day hearing that yielded few results. The court is scheduled to… Read More

Auction Set for Bankrupt Coal Producer Blackjewel’s Assets

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An auction is set for the assets of bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel LLC. A notice filed in federal bankruptcy court in West Virginia said the auction was scheduled for Thursday morning at the Cincinnati law office of attorneys representing Blackjewel. Bristol, Tennessee-based Contura Energy last week offered $20.6 million as the stalking… Read More

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice

W.Va. Governor Signs Tax Break for Company Amid Debt Claim

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has approved a tax break for a struggling coal-fired power plant whose operator says a company owned by the governor owes it $3.1 million. The Republican governor on Tuesday signed a bill to stop charging FirstEnergy Solutions a $12.5 million state tax. The company has been… Read More

Blackjewel Miners Block Railroad To Demand Pay From Bankrupt Coal Company

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Some coal miners left without pay by the bankruptcy of coal company Blackjewel LLC are protesting by blocking a coal train in eastern Kentucky. The stand-off began early Monday when five miners blocked the train from leaving the Cumberland, Kentucky, plant. Despite police asking them to leave, miners spent the night blocking the railroad to… Read More

Power Plant: How A Grass Might Generate Fuel And Help Fix Damaged Mine Lands

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Down bumpy back roads deep in central West Virginia, a flat, bright green pasture opens up among the rolling hills of coffee-colored trees. Wildflowers and butterflies dot the pasture, but West Virginia University Professor Jeff Skousen is here for something else that stands above the rest of the Appalachian scenery – literally. Thick stalks of… Read More

Hearing on Bidding Process for Coal Operator Continued

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal hearing adjourned Thursday without a decision on a bidding process proposed for mines owned by a bankrupt West Virginia-based coal company. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Volk told the parties in federal court in Huntington the emergency hearing would resume Friday morning in Charleston. Volk heard nearly two hours of… Read More

Trump Celebrates at W.Va. Fundraiser After Mueller Hearings

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WHEELING, West Virginia (AP) — A triumphant President Donald Trump celebrated Wednesday evening after Robert Mueller’s testimony, telling attendees at a closed-door fundraiser in West Virginia that the former special counsel’s appearance was a dud. Trump, who arrived at the fundraiser energized and excited, told a crowd at the WesBanco Arena that Mueller’s testimony was… Read More

Coal Miners Back in Washington Fighting for Benefits

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United Mine Workers and supporters were on Capitol Hill Wednesday in an effort to shore up their pension and health benefits. More than 43,000 coal miners in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are growing anxious about losing their retirement benefits. The coal miner’s union says its pension fund will be insolvent in three years if Congress doesn’t… Read More

As Disabled Miners Hit D.C., Lawmakers Introduce Bills To Fund Black Lung Benefits

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Democratic members of Congress introduced legislation Tuesday to provide additional funding for coal miners suffering from black lung. The bills came as a contingent of Appalachian miners afflicted with the disease lobbied lawmakers for more support. “It doesn’t only take your health. It takes your identity,” Barry Johnson said of the disease. Johnson is a… Read More