Well, this was one of Obama’s goal.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources said Tuesday it was cutting production by 16 million tons and eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide, including 400 with the immediate closing of mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The mine shutdowns start Tuesday, while the rest of the layoffs will be completed by the end of the first quarter after Alpha fulfills current sales obligations, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Crutchfield said. In all, the layoffs amount to nearly a tenth of Alpha’s 13,000-person work force.
Alpha said it is closing four mines in West Virginia, three in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. They are a mix of deep and surface mines. All the mines being closed are non-union operations.
Alpha didn’t immediately name the mines because it wanted to inform all the workers first.
Though some miners will stay on to seal the operations, most will either be reassigned or laid off immediately.
Support positions will also be cut proportionally as Alpha reduces its operating regions from four to two, Crutchfield said, and two executives will retire Nov. 1. It wasn’t immediately what other states would be affected by the layoffs.
Crutchfield called it “a difficult day,” but said the shutdowns and layoffs are a necessary part of ensuring Alpha survives in what has become a difficult U.S. market, where coal companies face a dual challenge: Power plants are shifting to cheap, abundant natural gas, while companies like his face “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.”