In the drive to reduce coal use because of the harm that carbon emissions cause, it’s easy to dismiss the the pain of coal miners—especially when the US coal industry directly employs a relatively small number of people.
But while the industry as a whole isn’t that large, job losses in the coal industry have an outsize effect, devastating coal towns (partly via multiplying effects). That’s because coal workers tend to be concentrated in small areas, around mines. Half of coal miners work in just 25 counties, according to a Quartz analysis of the latest US Energy Information Administration data. Those counties are in nine states: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.
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