A New Day for the Coalfields


The United States has 50,000 coal miners and 150,000 workers in oil and gas extraction. Their jobs come and go (see graph), depending on the economy, automation, energy prices and the growth of renewable energy. They bear the brunt of the country's energy cycles. The areas where they live often have few other jobs. 

They deserve support when they're laid off, temporarily or permanently.

A printable paper, A New Day for the Coalfields, (and video presentation) estimates that support for coal workers when they lose jobs will cost about $3.4 million per year for each 100 miners who lose their jobs.

The maximum cost would be if all 50,000 coal miners lost their jobs over 10 years. Supporting the workers and their communities would cost $25 billion over 10 years, or less than 1% of likely revenue from carbon pricing. Administration can be done by existing Workforce Boards or other experienced groups. 

Proposed Support for Coal Miners
$3.8 Million per 100 Miners per Year or $12 Billion for All Miners in First 10 Years
and $13 Billion Total for Coal Communities over 10 Years, if Most Mines Close

Paper with full details: A New Day for the Coalfields

Panel discussion June 2019 with speakers from West Virginia and Brookings Institution (DC).

Letters to editors: 
Need transition help: Dominion PostInter-MountainWeston Democrat, Herald-Mail
Need help and carbon price: Gazette-Mail 9/23/20194/11/2019
Paying for CO2 capture & transition: Herald-Dispatch
Op-ed: Gazette-Mail
Next Steps:

People can ask their members of Congress to adopt A New Day for the Coalfields. You can tell them the program is on this page, Here is a handout for meetings.

You can write a letter to the editor to local papers, where you ask readers to support this plan.

This is a draft plan to start discussions, written by people in West Virginia and Indiana. Please send ideas and reactions. Email:

Comparison of bills in Congress, and other sources for a transition for fossil fuel workers