Tuesday, June 10, 2014

RIP, Lelia

I've been told one of the prettiest old-time boats on the Ohio River, the Lelia C. Shearer, is going under the torch and is being scrapped. I hadn't seen her for a while, and I was hoping she was working somewhere else or on her way to South America.

In the face-off tournament I had planned once, I was going to pit the Lelia against the O. Nelson Jones (nee Pennsylvania, nee L. Fiore). I would take up for one boat as being prettier and Adam would take the other. I would let him choose which he preferred and I would take the other.

She was a beauty.

Another view on the future of coal

Today I plug an article by Taylor Kuykendall, a two-time former coworker. He interviews Nick Carter, president and chief operating officer of Natural Resource Partners, a company that manages leases to mine coal. Carter is retiring soon, and Kuykendall asks him several questions about the future of the coal industry.

The part that interested me most was Carter's take on Central Appalachian coal. The region includes southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, and it produces a lot of the coal that's moved by barge on the Ohio River. Here is one paragraph from a long answer that was pretty interesting:
You're seeing a lot of Central Appalachia coal miners move to the Illinois Basin for jobs and they will not come back. They will always be residents of southern Illinois, southern Indiana or western Kentucky. We've lost the better educated, harder working group of people from Central Appalachia who had the capability and the skills to earn the best wages in the industry, the best wages in the area. We've seen those people move somewhere else in order to get a job. That puts a big dent in the infrastructure and the ability to grow other industries in Central Appalachia. That's what causes my concern.

Please read the whole interview. It cuts through some of the clutter in what you hear and read about the industry.