Letter to the editor: ‘Mountain top development’ benefits Ky.

I grew up in Wolfe County, Ky., and I am writing in regards to the “New Power promises to keep Ky. proud.”

As a resident of a small eastern Kentucky community, I thought it was important for the public to see the real story of coal.

I have lived in Wolfe County my entire life, and until this past year, we have never had a park. Because of coal severance money (the money “Big Coal companies” give back to communities), we were able to build a park. Those big coal companies help many eastern Kentucky counties by improving hospitals and roads, funding volunteer fire departments or upgrading schools, among many other improvements.

One common misconception people have about coal is the process of mountain top removal, or what I prefer to call “mountain top development.” Before the actual mining, to be issued a mining permit coal companies must present a plan of what the land will be used for once the mining is complete. During the restoration process, in some cases, trees are planted and grass is sowed, and in others, hospitals and businesses are built. Mountain top development brings many things to communities, such as golf courses, airports and sports complexes. It stimulates the economy in those regions and creates more jobs.

The coal industry is important to Kentucky because it provides thousands of direct and indirect jobs. For every one job in the coal mine, it creates three more jobs for the state. As important as it is to Kentucky, it is essential for the United States.

Looking at the coal industry from a day-to-day perspective, you can see our low energy rates. From a national perspective, you can see how America avoids being dependent on foreign countries for energy. What does coal do for us? Coal supports well paying jobs to people across the Commonwealth. Coal provides the third lowest energy rates in the country. Coal allows Kentucky to be an energy leader in America. If we’re really going to be Kentucky proud, let’s be proud of what we do best.

Tyler Phipps

Agriculture economics junior