Coal miners and their families filled the gym at the Paonia branch of the Delta Montrose Technical College on Saturday. Many of them were among the 300 people laid off by Oxbow’s Elk Creek Mine in Somerset last month. They were there to hear state Senator Gail Schwartz and others talk about how the state could help them deal with the job losses. Some ideas included rural economic development grants and financial aid for miners to go back to school. But many people left the meeting feeling just as lost as before.
Mike Ludlow, Executive Vice President of Oxbow’s mining operations, points to where managers hope to start coal mining at Elk Creek Mine with a new or rebuilt longwall miner. Those plans are on hold while Oxbow Mining tries to line up that equipment.
Flanked by Democratic leaders at the statehouse – Governor John Hickenlooper outlined his top job creation priorities for the upcoming legislation session and previewed the first house bill that will be introduced on Wednesday. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
State economists were in an optimistic mood yesterday, saying Colorado’s economy is performing better than the rest of the nation. As a result, lawmakers will also have more money to spend in next year’s budget than originally anticipated. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.