Former Lt. Gov. says it is time for leaders to look for success beyond coal in Eastern Ky.

05/28/2013 04:29 PM

Former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo believes that the coal industry in Eastern Kentucky is not dead, but that “it is in the ICU” and leaders need to start looking at other options.

Mongiardo told Pure Politics the coal industry in Eastern Kentucky is in desperate need of help as the region has lost thousands of jobs and seen struggles in recent years. Mongiardo said the industry needs to bounce back for the good of the state and of the country.

“We have mined most of the easy to get to coal in Eastern Kentucky and we know that long term that is not where we are going to be because we are going to continue to mine and it is gone,” Mongiardo said (at 3:50). “There’s just a limited supply and thats why you have to look at what is [option] number two and number three and build those assets as well.”

Looking at other options for the region is something Mongiardo believes is very important. Mongiardo said leaders have not looked beyond coal and taken advantage of assets Eastern Kentucky possesses like they should.

“We have the beauty of the outdoors, we have the number one draw for tourists and that is the trails,” Mongiardo said (at 4:30). “We can go down all that list but once you have a foundation of a secondary type of industry there then other things will build around that, health care and other types of jobs as well.”

Mongiardo said while leaders do need to start looking into other options in terms of industry, coal still needs to be number one for the region. And he believes the state needs a leader with a clear vision on what to do with coal.

“I am for using our energy in a smart way that is better for our country and the smartest way we can use our coal is converting it to something we can burn in our automobiles and stop sending billions upon billions of dollars to other countries,” Mongiardo said (at 1:15).


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