Caught in transition: the employment landscape following Emerald mine closure

Dallaire-Fortier, Clara Lea
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In July 31, 2014, a large group of UMWA workers (United Mine Workers of America) marches with posters raised high: ‘EPA rules destroy good jobs’, ‘EPA rules put seniors at risk’, ‘Our kids matter too’. They opposed environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration through the Clean Power Plan of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regulations which aimed to reduce, by 2030, by 30% in 2030 national carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. At the margins of the march, environmental activists stand. The march is tense, emotionally charged. A coal miner insults an environmentalist, and the latter reaches to hit the miner. They are ready to fight. A woman stands to separate them. Follows an announcer who present their opposition as inevitable. It is an environment versus job dilemma. Such understanding of the coal deindustrialisation seems limited and the slogans seem like a better starting point to understand the complex economic structure that is sought through by the experience of coal decline. They communicate about the state of pensions and healthcare, about lack of employment opportunities in Appalachia and outlook for future generations.
In partial fulfilment of the Master of Commerce, at the University of Witwatersrand and; of the Master in Economic Analysis and Policies, Paris Sorbonne Cité, June 2018
Dallaire-Fortier, Clara Lea (2018) Caught in transition: the employment landscape following Emerald mine closure, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>