Region has lost 8,500 coal-mining jobs
WINCHESTER, Ky. (April 23, 2015) —East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) and its 16 owner-member electric cooperatives have released a documentary film examining the effects of Eastern Kentucky’s declining coal industry on the region’s residents.
The film, “The People At The End Of The Lines,” documents the impacts on laid-off coal miners, local schools and people struggling to pay household bills.
“These are real stories of real people facing real struggles, and there are no easy answers,” said Tony Campbell, EKPC’s president and CEO. “It is important to tell their stories and make their voices heard, especially by federal policy-makers and regulators.”
Electric cooperatives serve some of the most pervasively poverty-stricken areas of Kentucky and the nation. In the areas served by EKPC’s 16 owner-member cooperatives, average household income is 25 percent below the national average and unemployment is 60 percent higher than national average.
Since 2009, Eastern Kentucky has lost 8,500 coal-mining jobs, more than half the region’s coal-mining employment, as coal production has plummeted due to increased federal regulations, rising production costs and increased competition from natural gas.
EKPC and its owner-member cooperatives plans to show the film at the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) summit in Pikeville on May 11.