Monday, October 18, 2010

After coal, what next? Appalachia looks to Wales

If Central Appalachian coal production continues to decline as forecast, miners who are forced out of work need education and training to develop "new skills in the creative industries," just as the British government did when coal mines close in Wales, a Welsh member of Parliament said at last weekend's "Appalachia and Wales: Coal and after Coal" symposium at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.

Market experts expect the decline in Central Appalachian coal production to continue, and perhaps accelerate, depending on the regulatory environment for the industry. “Given the issues going on around the Appalachian coalfields right now, we need to look at what has happened in Wales since the closing of the mines from about 1986 on,” said Pat Beaver, director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at ASU and co-organizer of the event. “The experience of Wales could inform how we think about the future of Appalachia and a sense of urgency about thinking about the future in Appalachia.”

For a text story by Sylvia Ryerson of WMMT-FM in Whitesburg, Ky., click here. For her audio story, go here.

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