(Climate pact) Ex-coal miner yearns for more jobs

Friday, June 02, 2017

In Centertown, Kentucky, retired coal miner Kenny Smith watched Donald Trump's TV announcement with approval. 

"He's keeping his promise that he's going to help get the coal jobs back, help people get back to work, and that's what we need, anywhere in this country,'' Smith said. "You can go to Detroit, you can go to Pennsylvania you can go to West Virginia, there's people that have been laid off for years, they're just forgotten. And most of our factories have gone overseas, we need to get them back, I think he's trying to do that.'' 

Trucks constantly rumble through town from the Midway mine, a major employer, but production has fallen from around 10 million tons of coal a year to less than half that figure. 

Trump "said when he [got] elected, that's the first thing, jobs, jobs, jobs. That's what he said he'd do, and that's what he's doing,'' Smith said. "I mean, I'm proud of him.'' 

Smith, 67, dismissed the idea that coal is unhealthy or environmentally unsound. He pointed in the direction of a coal-fired power plant. 

"I've lived in this house since 1974 and that power plant has never made me sick,'' he said. "There's good jobs that come from power plants.''-AP