Pamela M Hampton Former county sheriff celebrates 80th birthday Missing Adams County man is found Lady Hounds fall to Whiteoak in slugfest Calvert’s walk-off gives Hounds 9-8 win over Whiteoak Charles A Benjamin Give My Regards to Broadway Joyce Berry Joe L Easter William E Foster Margaret Belcher John M Cheatham Ronnie Simpson Under new management county hospital is thriving against all odds Historic fairground gazebo demolished One year later, still no arrests in Rhoden family murders There will be trouble in River City! Monna L Fitzgerald Jesse Carrington Janice M Sowards Rhoden family members make plea for tips in Pike Co murders of loved ones Quilting – the art that’s no longer just for Grandma Young is Adams County recipient of Franklin B. Walter All-Scholastic Award Wenstrup recognized as Community Health Advocate Ready, set, go! 25th annual Egg Hunt draws hundreds Applicants needed for Adams County Fair Queen Humane Society encourages responsible animal ownership ACCS holds annual Science Fair Peebles Elementary names March Students of the Month Pierce fires perfect game as Peebles blanks West Union Hunters preparing for 2017 Wild Turkey Season Lady Hounds fall 12-3 at Lynchburg Dragons lose early lead, drop SHAC match up with Fayetteville, 13-6 Senior Profile: Isaiah Anderson Devils roll to big SHAC win at Ripley Despite soggy night, WUHS hosts annual Invitational Meet Celebrities for a night George F Carr Jr Teresa S Hoskins Mary B McClure Richard B Collins Randall D Fetters Former Manchester officer indicted on five counts WUHS student wins state Beta Club Secretary’s seat OVCTC students part of state competition S.R. 73 closed for culvert replacement Peebles Lions Club holds first Easter Egg Hunt Weyrich graduates with honors from Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics North Adams Elementary releases Honor Roll for Third grading Period Scholarships available from Jefferson Alumni Olympic athlete speaks at April 6 SAAM event Venture Hawks end their basketball season with a victory at WUHS Devils baseball sweeps doubleheader from Northwest Greyhounds gain SHAC split, split twinbill with East England signs with Rio Grande golf Pierce fans 16, Lady Indians blank Eastern Brown 4-0 Maybe somebody on the river does have a plan Senior Profile: Ryan Dryden Enjoying the view Still a time for celebration Carl R Brown Lena R Staggs Adams County Crews Schedule Culvert Replacement Projects Merlan Shoemaker Dwayne E Thompson Help is on the line! West Union Elementary honors February Students of the Month WUHS hosts 2017 All-County Arts and Music Festival Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak Access Grand Opening set for April 20 Kasich cracks down on opiate-based prescriptions West Union High School students have successful trip to State Beta Convention North Adams Beta Club excels at State Convention ACRMC hosts annual Health Fair Robert H Bushman Senior Profile: Skylar Newman Nine-run inning leads Lady Hounds to run rule win over West Union WUHS foursome breaks school record First county baseball battle goes to the Greyhounds On the road, Lady Indians pick up two more SHAC victories Senior Profile: Christa Williams One more ‘shining moment’ for SHAC seniors at C103 All-Star Game Esie M Chandler Phyllis Adkins Former Manchester police deputy faces Grand Jury Indictments Cornell tosses no-hitter, Fenton goes deep, Dragons open season with 11-0 SHAC win over Whiteoak New Verizon store opening in West Union Stephen R Palmer Dual culvert replacements for SR 73 Deana P Grooms Tim Phipps Marcella Walker Alvin R Mitchum Senior Profile: Chase Darnell SHAC hoopsters shine at District 14 All-Star Game Greyhounds run rule St. Pat, 15-0 Indians drop SHAC opener West Union hosts early JH Track Meet North Adams student wins state Beta Club President’s seat Anna B Copas Charles A Nelson

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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