“This industry is dead”: in Pennsylvania, on the eve of the presidential election, the last coal miners despair

“This industry is dead”: in Pennsylvania, on the eve of the presidential election, the last coal miners despair

In 2016 Donald Trump promised to revive the coal industry. In Pennsylvania, many miners had been seduced. But four years later, in Greene County, Appalachia, only a few open mines remain.

In Greene County, Pennsylvania (United States), pro-Trump signs outnumber those for Biden (SANDRINE MALLON / RADIO FRANCE)

The train carrying the coal breaks the silence that hangs over the town of Masontown (Pennsylvania). In a small Italian restaurant, Lisa and her friend are busy making Christmas decorations, for lack of customers: “Everyone left here. When I opened my restaurant sixteen years ago, there were shops all along the main avenue. Now they are closed. Instead of the gym there, there was a shoemaker. He only sold to minors. He made their belts, their boots and when the mines closed he had to close too. There is nothing left here. ”

In the county of Greene County (Pennsylvania), there are only a few active mines left. Tony Brunsak is working on the one in Cumberland: “At one time there were mines in every corner.”The last closure was in 2018, when 370 miners lost their jobs.

Today Tony is enraged against Donald Trump, for whom he had yet voted four years ago: “I regret it and it will never happen again. It was the first time that I voted for a Republican. Because of his promises! Because he said he was going to revive the coal! And that he was going to stop the plant closures. In fact, since he has been in the White House there have been more closures than in eight years under Barack Obama. So he lied. Anyway, it doesn’t matter who wins this election: there is no more need for coal. ”

At Top Hat, a local bar, Robert believes that coal has a future but on one condition: that Donald Trump be re-elected. Even if the outgoing president did not restart this industry, he still has his job and that is the main thing: “I still have my job! What has Biden done in 47 years? He is against hydraulic fracturing and coal mining! ”

One only has to look at the lawns of Masontown, studded with signs for Donald Trump, to see that Robert will not be the only minor to vote for the incumbent president. Many want to continue to believe that he will fulfill his promise, even Toni Petrus, the mayor of the city: “I don’t have the feeling that he lied to the minors. He was honest when he said he would keep the fossil fuels, the coal mines. It just needs more time. When you look at Joe Biden’s interviews over the last few years, he doesn’t want fossil fuels and that’s something this country wouldn’t put up with. ”

Renewable energies continue to grow in the United States, however, despite coal.

Pennsylvania miners, more Trump than Biden: listen to Farida Nouar and Sandrine Mallon’s report