USA: Alabama Coal Mine Reopens, Names Excavator After the President

An Alabama coal mine is reopening thanks to President Trump’s efforts to save the coal industry from the job-killing regulatory burdens implemented by the Obama administration.

The Alabama coal mine, which closed in 2014, was highlighted by The Atlantic last month wherein former coal miner Randy Johnson said he would reopen his business and rehire his 22 coal miners. Johnson even named his new excavator “Trump” in tribute to the president he says helped save his business:

Randy Johnson looked on as his new 220-ton excavator carved up the ground, clearing the field of rocks to help unearth the coal underneath. Four weeks earlier, the central Alabama mine’s 22 employees had gathered to christen the $2.7 million purchase, painting “TRUMP” in white block letters along the excavator’s side. The day I visited, a recent Friday in July, those letters gleamed under the punishing southern sun, the machine’s every move—every swivel at the base, every curl of the claw—an implicit tribute to the 45th president. [Emphasis added]

It’s tradition in the mining industry to name the “big machines.” Apart from the land itself, they represent the bulk of capital for a new site. For Johnson, though, this excavator was emblematic of much more. The 71-year-old Alabama native and mining veteran had bowed out of the industry in 2014, when he says the Obama administration’s “war on coal” pummeled the market. But with Donald Trump’s election came a wave of “optimism,” he told me: optimism that the crush of regulations would ebb, that the “dirty” caricatures of the industry, aggravated by Barack Obama, would start to soften. So at the turn of the year, when he learned of an idle reserve in Bessemer, Johnson reopened his company, called one of his old foremen, and made the largest investment of his career.


Trump celebrated the reopening of the coal mine in Alabama, tweeting The Atlantic story out yesterday. Tha Alabama coal mine is just the latest American coal mine to open since Trump has taken office. Last year, Trump celebrated the opening of a Pennsylvania coal mine which employs 70 to 100 coal miners, Breitbart News reported. Federal data reveals that between 2008 and 2017 — the years in which Obama implemented job-killing coal regulations that have now been rescinded by Trump — the number of coal mines in the U.S. were cut in about half. Between 2012 and 2017, coal miners had their hours cut by nearly 40 percent.