Unemployment rate in 2008: 3%.
Unemployment rate in 2018: 7%.
In December 2008, The Unemployment Rate in Boone County Was 3 Percent. (“Unemployment Rate In Boone County, WV,” St Louis Fed, Accessed 3/7/18)
In December 2017, The Unemployment Rate In Boone County Was 6 Percent. (“Unemployment Rate In Boone County, WV,” St Louis Fed, Accessed 3/7/18)
There are still roughly 15 billion short tons of coal in West Virginia.
According To The Energy Information Administration, There are Roughly 15 Billion Short Tons Of Estimate Recoverable Coal Reserves Still Remaining Statewide In West Virginia. (“How Much Coal Is Left,” U.S. EIA, Accessed 3/22/18)
In 2010, almost 4,000 people were employed in coal. More than half would be unemployed by 2015.
In 2010, There Were 3,894 People Employed In Coal Production In Boone County, More Than Any Other Country In West Virginia. (“Coal Facts 2012, West Virginia Coal Association, Accessed 3/7/18)
In 2015, There Were 1,492 People Employed In Coal Production In Boone County, Which Was The Third Most Of Any County In West Virginia. (“Coal Facts 2016, West Virginia Coal Association, Accessed 3/7/18)
Over six years, nearly 10% of Boone County’s population would move away.
On April 1, 2010, The Population Of Boone County Was Estimated To Be 24,627. (“Boone County, West Virginia, United States Census Bureau, Accessed 3/7/18)
On July 1, 2016, The Population Of Boone County Was Estimated To Be 22,816. (“Boone County, West Virginia, United States Census Bureau, Accessed 3/7/18)
Boone County’s school system has cut millions from it’s budget due to lack of tax revenue.
Heading Into The 2016 Fiscal Year, Boone County Cut Its School System Budget By $2.6 Million Due To The Decline of The Coal Industry, “But It Was Not Enough.” “Boone County cuts its school system budget by $2.6 million heading into the current budget year because of coal’s downturn, Hudson said, but it wasn’t enough.” (Jeff Jenkins, “Boone County Schools Need Money From State To Finish Budget Year,” WV Metro News, 6/1/16)
Boone County continues to close schools and cut teacher pay.
Employees Of Boone County Schools Faced Pay Cuts Of $4,000 Annually On Average As A Result Of The Budget Passed In 2016, In Addition To Losing Benefits Such As Optical And Dental Insurance. “Under the new budget proposal that was passed, Huffman says employees of Boone County Schools will have their pay cuts by $4,000 a year on average. Huffman says that’s about $175 a pay check. Huffman says the pay cuts will begin this school year. The others included eliminating optical and dental insurance, eliminating employee contract days beyond 200, and altering or eliminating extracurricular contracts to reduce expenses.” (“Boone County School Board Votes To Increase Employees Paychecks,” WSAZ, 7/18/16)
Three Elementary Schools In Boone County Were Closed In 2016 As Of A Result Of Declining Revenue From The Coal Industry. “A state budget shortfall and dwindling coal tax revenues have been blamed. Boone County is at the heart of the coal mining region – good and bad news since the industry has historically supported the community and its residents, but no more. Coal’s epic decline is literally touching classrooms there. School district officials have confirmed that in addition to the layoffs, three elementary schools will be closed.” (Jenni Vincent, “West Virginia Is About To Layoff Hundreds Of School Employees,” We Heart WV, 3/3/16)
Sierra Club has sued the largest employers of Boone County into bankruptcy.
In 2012, The Sierra Club, The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy And The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Sued Alpha Natural Resources “On Environmental Grounds.” “Here’s the story: In 2014, Alpha Natural Resources was the fourth-largest coal producer in the U.S., accounting for 80 million tons. But in 2012, the Sierra Club and two other nonprofits, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, had sued the company on environmental grounds. Several of its evocatively named mines (like the Elk Run Coal Company’s White Castle No. 1 Surface Mine) were polluting West Virginia streams.” (Daniel Gross, “How The Sierra Club Got Control Of A Massive Coal Reserve,” Slate, 7/11/16)
In August 2015, Alpha Filed For Bankruptcy. “The battered U.S. Coal industry suffered another big setback on Monday as its second-biggest company filed for bankruptcy court protection. Based in Bristol, Va., Alpha Natural Resources once had a high-flying stock, but with coal prices tumbling it was overwhelmed by big debts it had accumulated to finance the purchase of coal mining assets.” (Nathan Vardi, “U.S. Coal Company Alpha Natural Resources Files For Bankruptcy,” Forbes, 8/3/15)
In 2015, The Sierra Club, As Well As Other Environmental Groups, Sued Coal Company Patriot Coal Corp. One Month Later, Patriot Coal Corp. Filed For Bankruptcy. (“Sierra Club And Groups Sue Patriot Coal Over West Virginia Water Pollution,” Sierra Club, Accessed 3/7/18; Amanda Becker, “Clinton Blasts Patriot Coal Bankruptcy Plan,” Reuters, 10/2/15)
- Steyer Backs The Sierra Club. “Michael Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York, says ‘coal’s days are numbered,’ and recently announced $30 million in support for the Sierra Club’s goal of eliminating half of all coal plants in the United States by 2017. The donation comes on top of the $50 million he supplied in 2011. Other billionaires such as Nathaniel Simons, Roger Sant, David Gelbaum and Tom Steyer are also funding their efforts.” (Andrew Quinlan, “The Sierra Club Fronts For ‘Green’ Billionaires,” Pittsburge Post-Gazette, 8/16/15)