New report explores long term future of Utah’s coal counties

June 01, 2017 (KTVX)

A new report is helping state, and local leaders get ahead of the uncertain future of coal.

Seven Utah counties depend heavily on coal mining and production. The Utah Foundation report identifies ways to adjust to a new reality.

From decreased demand, to easier mining techniques, rural Utah has been hit hard.

“Utah has lost hundreds of jobs in these communities in this industry, and natural resources in the last year, two or three years,” said Matt Hilburn, with EDC Utah.

That’s contributing to higher unemployment rates in Utah’s coal counties, in some cases more than double the state unemployment rate.

That’s why they are looking to diversify.

“We have hurdles to overcome, but we are excited to face those challenges head on. I think, as they say, necessity is the mother of all invention,” said Scott Barney, Economic Development Director for Millard County.

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