Our sympathies go out today to all of the Eastern Kentucky families impacted by another major coal company filing for bankruptcy.

The most recent is Cambrian. This follows the bankruptcy of Blackjewel. Blackhawk Mining LLC filed for Chapter 11 court protection in Delaware, according to Bloomberg. Cloud Peak Energy Inc.is also on the grim list.

With each filing hundreds of families are impacted in one way or another. In the case of Blackjewel news reports indicate paychecks have bounced, prompting protests in Harlan County that have received international media attention. Cambrian employs more than 600 people, according to news accounts that suggest, however, that the mines are being kept open and the company is continuing to pay its employees as they proceed forward with their filing.

The bankruptcies literally threaten thousands of jobs throughout Kentucky, West Virginia and other coal producing states. It is a terribly sad time for the industry. Promises to save the coal industry have certainly not materialized although it does seem that the president has done what he can. The administration just recently put out an order looking to prolong the use of older coal-fired power plants as the industry has gone through a transformative change,

We have some basic thoughts on all this. Of course at the top of the list is our deep sympathies for all those impacted. Any money that can be generated or collected through the Blackjewel bankruptcy need to go to workers who now face an uncertain and frightening future. We also hope that those presiding over all of these bankruptcy proceedings will put the workers and families impacted first.

The push to combat climate change has been devastating for coal producers and its employees. There are no easy answers here. We hope that the industry can be revived in the context of pursuing a balanced energy portfolio across the nation. In the meantime we offer our prayers to all those impacted by this relentless string of bankruptcies.

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