The affected employees were officially briefed on the situation today. PBS attributes the necessity for these layoffs to coal market conditions and increased pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has resulted in increased costs.

“The decision to idle our surface mine operations is a difficult one, but in an effort to manage our inventory and to balance coal production with expected customer demand and shipping schedules, we are faced with making adjustments which unfortunately will impact our workforce,” said D. Lynn Shanks, President and CEO. “Both the foreign and domestic coal markets remain soft due to weak economic growth and activity. Additionally, the escalating costs and uncertainty generated by recently advanced EPA regulations and interpretations have created a challenging business climate for the entire coal industry.”