ALPHA COAL ISSUING $12 MILLION BONUSES TO EXECUTIVES WHILE BANKRUPTING – While Laying Off Thousands Of Miners, Reducing And Eliminating Benefits

By Bob Weaver

Last election cycle West Virginia politicians were elected to the WV Legislature and the US Congress under the banner of “Obama’s War on Coal”

Little attention is given to the “War on West Virginia Coal Miners” and the State of West Virginia.

Industry lobbyists are working the WV Legislature to scale back the longtime Clean Waters Act in the Mountain State.

After announcing bankruptcy and nearly 100 layoffs in Fayette County this week and sending out hundreds of warn notices last week, a report says Alpha Natural Resources is paying millions in bonuses to management.

Company employees are losing a significant amount of their health and retirement benefits for 4,600 hundred non-union miners and their families.

They are removing 6,670 current miners from their retirement plan altogether, while rewarding themselves.

Historically, this action has been typical for the coal industry in West Virginia.

Arch Coal’s CEO made $7.3 million in 2014, a full $3 million more than he made in 2013 .

According to forbes.com, the company plans to pay $12 million in bonuses to 15 executives over the next year to help ensure that its financial goals are met.

The Virginia-based company filed for bankruptcy in August 2015. To keep up with costs, Alpha must sell assets and cut expenses.

In 2011, Alpha bought Massey Energy after a deadly explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 miners.

Massey Coal CEO Don Blankenship went to trial related to falsifying safety records, and was issued a misdemeanor charge.

Prior to its sale, Massey Coal amassed billions of dollars in safety and environmental fines, not paying them based on their opposition to over-regulation.

After years, they eventually reached a settlement for a small portion of the multi-billion dollar fine.