Lions and Cowboys and no Bengals, thankfully Senior Profile: Tyler Horsley North Adams sweeps Manchester Cheer Championships Indians face tough test in first pre-season scrimmage Senior Profile: Abby Faulkner Seas reflects on second state tournament experience NA’s Harper signs to continue hoops career at Rio Grande Hendrickson named Assistant Coach of the Year in Division III girls soccer Take the hint, it’s Thanksgiving time again Small Business Saturday in Adams County Art Council’s newest production will have you ‘laughing through your tears’ North Adams students working to help the homeless Grateful Richard A Graham #SawyerStrong Billy L Smalley Wenstrup announces re-election campaign Delta Dental provides two local schools with new drinking fountains Ernie McFarland honored by Ohio Bankers League Veterans Day parade, ceremony held in West Union Adams County schools celebrate Veterans Day Being the change November: As Mr. Seas it Protecting Ohio seniors from rising healthcare costs It’s November-have some soup and pie SHAC Boys Preview is Nov. 24 at Peebles June Hall Alice B Himes Claudia U Mitchell TRAFFIC ALERT: SR 41 restrictions set for Saturday Jewell Foster Senior Profile: Nicholas Fish SHAC Girls Preview set for Nov. 17 Senior Profile: Lakyn Hupp Again, Lady Devils ousted in district finals ‘Lighting the Serpent’ event is being discontinued Voters favor incumbents at the ballot Arts Council dedicates Buzzardroost Rock mural Heroes in disguise Fighting for future generations in OH2 A few puffs of smoke, and a happy ending Lois Wilson Helen M Hesler Jerry L Dickson Ohio’s Traditional Deer-Gun Hunting Season begins Nov. 27 WWII veteran honored in banner raising ceremony Veteran of three wars honored for volunteer work Charlotte Evans Jason A Barr Why we celebrate Manchester man killed in single-car accident Adams County Election Results – 2017 Hubert Knauff To keep or not to keep Time again for the changing of the seasons November proclaimed as Adoption Recognition and Recruitment Month Local business is seven decades old and counting Local student gets Nashville call Senior Profile: Gabe Grooms Lady Indians fall in districts Quest For The Cup complete for Dragons Meeting a true sports hero WU’s McCarty named District Player of the Year With regional run, Pennywitt completes memorable career West Union eighth grade volleyball finishes as SHAC runner-up Senior Profile: Tray Brand Greyhounds drop home finale, finish at 4-6 Lady Devils fall in district semis Devils go down in district finals Matt Seas headed back to State XC Meet Senior Profile: Charlee Louden Lady Indians ousted in sectional final Lady Devils down Minford 4-1 in district semis North Adams volleyball claims fourth consecutive sectional crown Senior Profile: Brooklyn Howlett Afterschool fun begins at NAES Wearing it pink in October Kenneth L Austin Jay E Minnich Reuben E Hershberger Bobby L Williams 18 years just isn’t long enough Emotional, historic, and victorious Taking action against addiction Utilities commission approves DP&L electric security plan What matters and what doesn’t Oh dear, is that a deer? Junior Gaffin Charlotte J Thatcher Matthew D Miller Megan R Phillips Ralph M Swearingen Linda C Ackley Robert Ralston Shelly Seaman Increased access to treatment, Improving economic opportunity keys to combating Ohio’s Opioid Crisis Seas siblings are again SHAC Cross-Country Champions Lady Hounds cruise to sectional victory Senior Profile: Alyssa Hoskins 101 and another sectional championship

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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