Ahuge sigh of relief could be heard across the coalfields on Sept. 16 when Murray Energy Holdings, America’s fourth largest coal producer, announced that a federal bankruptcy judge had approved its Chapter 11 plan to sell all its assets to American Consolidated Natural Resources (ACNR), a new company set up by its former creditors.
ACNR is now the largest privately owned coal operator in the United States. Its owners hope to extract about 35 million tons of bituminous coal a year from its pits, and they have agreed to hire United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) coal miners, who once worked for Murray, to help them do it.
This is good news for the union’s sorely pressed coal miners, who could use the work. How long Murray’s reincarnation will last, however, is anyone’s guess.
No amount of corporate planning can negate declining demand and the rise of alternative energy sources. When it comes to career security, those facts now pose more of a threat to the country’s miners than dangers that long defined the industry.
No other workers in American history have earned their livings in such perilous conditions or paid such high prices for what they earn. Since 1900, when the federal government first began compiling statistics on coal mining deaths, over 105,000 coal miners have been crushed, gassed, electrocuted or incinerated underground, and well over 15 times as many have been seriously injured.
For the rest of this article: https://time.com/5899318/coal-mining-danger-history/