New Layoffs the Latest Casualties in 'War on Coal'


The U.S. coal industry is bracing for more layoffs this fall. Alpha Natural Resources said it expects to lay off 1,100 workers at 11 West Virginia surface coal mines by mid-October.

The company said weak markets and federal regulation on carbon emissions are making it more difficult to operate.

Some have accused President Barack Obama of a "war on coal" in his push to fight global warming.

West Virginia's Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the lay-offs show the state's fears over the Obama administration's strict rules have come true.

"We recognize market trends can play a part in these potential closures; however, these actions also show the real-world impact of the regulatory environment in which industry must operate," Tomblin said.

In the past three years, Alpha said it has laid off 4,000 employees and idled 60 mines and 35 million tons of production.

The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output.

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