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Coal country reacts to election results

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Nov 07 2012 04:50:19 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 07 2012 04:39:49 PM CST

The nation has spoken, and it's four more years for President Obama; but those words weren't the ones many in coal country wanted to hear.

The nation has spoken, and it's four more years for President Obama; but those words weren't the ones many in coal country wanted to hear.

This year's election results sting for Raven Keene. "I could feel a lump in the pit of my stomach. I could see the coal jobs going back downhill again," Keene told News 5.

Her husband works closely with the coal industry, and she worries with President Obama keeping his job her husband will lose his. "I see a lot of low hours. I see my husband changing jobs to go out of the state just to find a job, because there aren't any here," said Keene.

Latosha Thornsberry, a coal miner's wife, told us she felt her family's livelihood was safer with Governor Romney. "We don't know whether he'll have a job now or what will happen to the coal industry. So, it's scary," Thornsberry said.

Barbara Altizer, executive director of the Eastern Coal Council told us there is still a big demand for coal, but in order to keep the industry stable there has to be change in the next four years. "I think the EPA, there really needs to be some changes there, and that needs to come from the president. Of course, Congress would help us too if the Democrats and Republicans could work together and come up with some legislation," Altizer said.

That cooperation is just what coal miner's wife Jessica Clevinger is also hoping for; she says that without coal, her family will have to start all over. "It would actually mean that we'll be going back to school [and] finding other jobs, even if it's taking a very big pay cut, but we have to do what we have to do," Clevinger said.

We reached out to Alpha Natural Resources to get their response from this election. CEO Kevin Crutchfield told us, "What's really encouraging is to see the millions of citizens who stood up and raised their voice in support of coal during this campaign. They have been heard and they will be heard again in the years ahead. They'll also be watching their representatives in Washington closely and insisting that the EPA be fair and sensible in imposing regulations."