CHARLESTON (AP) - Alpha Natural Resources said Thursday it expects to lay off 1,100 workers at 11 southern West Virginia surface coal mines by mid-October, citing dismal markets and federal regulation.
The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output.
It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak markets and low coal prices. Alpha also laid some blame on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is pushing to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.