“It sounds really bold to say, but what we’re trying to do is to rebuild the Appalachian economy from the ground up. … We don’t get into the moral argument of coal being good or bad, we just talk about jobs and entrepreneurship.”
– Brandon Dennison, co-founder and CEO of Coalfield Development Corp, a nonprofit that offers out-of-work coal miners a chance to learn new skills, including solar installation.
“We want to prepare ourselves and be proactive should this plant actually close … and we’re willing to do whatever we can to support the workers. We just want to make sure we’re prepared.”
– Peter DeJesus, field coordinator for the Western New York Area Labor Federation, speaking about the town of Tonawanda, New York and how it can serve as a model for communities facing the closure of local coal-burning powers plants and trying to diversify their economy.
“In the five stages of grief, we’re past denial. Now we’re into anger, depression and bargaining — and the bargaining is trying to figure out what the new normal is and how to make this work.”
– University of Wyoming energy economics professor Robert Godby, quoted in a Bloomberg story on the impacts of the coal industry’s decline on his state.
“By law, if my office can’t offer a tax break to a single mom who worries about feeding her children, I’m not going to offer one to a multi-national corporation that just asked the bankruptcy court to pay its executives $12 million in bonuses.”
– Brita Horn, Treasurer of Routt County, Colorado, on Peabody Energy’s efforts to avoid paying interest and fees owed for overdue property taxes.
“The writing on the wall for the coal industry is clear. Young coal workers, in particular, should consider retraining for a job in solar now.”
– Michigan Technological University proferssor Joshua Pearce, commenting on a study he co-authored showing that many coal companies, even those filing for bankruptcy, could retrain all their employees to work in similar solar industry job for less than the CEO’s annual salary.