Coal deal in town where folks make $15,500
Welcome to the rural town of Wheelright, Ky. Population 1,029 (as of July 2007), down from 3,000 residents 50 years ago and still declining. That includes 765 males or nearly 75 percent of the population whose median household income is a meager $15,000. Small wonder that a heap of unused coal and slate near Wheelright apparently has caught the eye of Kentucky-based TECO Coal, part of Tampa's TECO Energy, and another competing coal business.
Mayor David Sammons says the town will pick one of the two and try to get the best sales deal for the town. Check out this local Kentucky TV news report to see the town and its leaders discuss this potential shot in the arm for Wheelright. Recent remarks by presidential contender Sen. John McCain backing coal as a key energy resource for the country were warmly welcomed by a TECO Coal official.
Last month, the Sierra Club and a Kentucky environmental group separately sued a TECO Coal unit for allegedly dumping mining waste in an Appalachian stream valley without a permit. The company, Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Co., acknowledged the dumping and called it an "isolated incident."
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist