Winchester- How an interstate highway changed the face of one small town Facebook – a growing marketplace for local entrepreneurs When kids know best Giving some love to those dog days Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr

Waiting for the ax to fall, who’s to blame?

Demise of coal-based power plants spotlights failure of legislators to protect communities and workers in transition –

By Patricia Beech –

One wonders these days what it must be like to be an employee of either the J.M. Stuart or Killen power plants here in Adams County.
What fears and frustrations those workers must have felt in the aftermath of DP&L’s announcement that the plants will be retired in June 2018, putting 700 people out of work.
For over 40 years the power plants have provided some of the most in-demand jobs in our area: jobs that held the promise of a 40-year career and a healthy retirement; jobs that allowed for a secure and comfortable life; jobs that people were proud to do.
That is all coming to an end.
Like many power companies across America, DP&L is transitioning away from coal to natural gas and other clean energy sources. It’s good for their bottom line. It’s good for their stock holders. It’s good for the atmosphere. But, for the employees and the communities that have supported and relied on coal-burning plants, it is a devastating turn of events.
Employees at DP&L were fortunate in their choice of jobs. They were able to buy homes and vehicles, take family vacations, send their kids to college, and secure their future retirement, while millions of tax-based dollars paid by the company bolstered their communities and local schools.
That is all coming to an end, leaving both the employees and their  ommunities wondering what happens next.
Adams County will lose $9 million annually in tax revenue, $35 million annually in community payroll, and could potentially be left with a rusting hulk sitting on the bank of the Ohio River, visible for miles around, surrounded by unmanaged and untended ash-ponds containing billions of pounds of toxins that threaten the source of drinking water for millions of people.
It’s a double-edged sword. When DP&L is gone, expect higher unemployment. While higher unemployment can attract new businesses, a community needs infrastructure to support those businesses, and that is a necessary component that Adams County lacks.
Many, if not most of the locals employed at the plants graduated high school and went to work for DP&L. If they are unable to find work that pays wages comparable to what they’ve been making, many will face the direst economic repercussions.
Employees with 10, 15, or 20 years,  but not yet at retirement age feel understandably betrayed, and those on the cusp of retirement after 40 plus years of labor are left to wonder whether they can compete in a market flooded by younger people.
In a recent statement DP&L officials said they recognized the “extent of the impact and uncertainty” the decision to close the plants created for their employees, and they reaffirmed their commitment to “managing workforce transition”.
However, many of the company’s employees say they are waiting in the dark for the hammer to fall. “We need more transparency,” one worker said. “They’re leaving everybody blind – we have no idea when they’ll close the doors.”
Having failed to forewarn in a meaningful way, it seems only fair that DP&L should be bending over backwards to provide its soon-to-be-disenfranchised employees with any and all answers they require during this period of transition.
The inscrutable professional behavior of the company’s officials and their unwillingness to engage in meaningful and open communication with local government officials spotlights the failure of legislators to pass laws that protect workers and communities facing unavoidable economic calamity.
In hindsight, perhaps some should have seen that the “war on coal”, which has become common parlance among politicians – both Republicans and Democrats, was foreshadowing the inevitable shuttering of coal-burning power plants.
Coal employment in the U.S. hit its peak in 1949, and the employment trend since then has primarily been downward. Under every recent president, both Democrats and Republicans, coal jobs have been lost, and the political rhetoric has ramped up without any real action being taken to protect those who would eventually be impacted by coal’s impending demise.
Was it lack of foresight or indifference on the part of our elected officials? Probably a bit of both. The changes in natural resources-based economies are complex and based on a variety of ever-shifting factors. It may be politically convenient for politicians to focus on the “war on coal”, but in doing so they may have missed the big picture, and neglected the needs of people and  communities whose economic survival depends on coal-based industries.

3 comments:

  1. Adams County will lose $9 million annually in tax revenue, $35 million annually in community payroll, and could potentially be left with a rusting hulk sitting on the bank of the Ohio River, visible for miles around, surrounded by unmanaged and untended ash-ponds containing billions of pounds of toxins that threaten the source of drinking water for millions of people.

    Those of you who voted for Trump should be held responsible for the cleanup because DP&L won’t have to.

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