On a warm June morning, a large crowd gathered in the lush, gentle folds of the Allegheny Mountains to hear President Donald Trump live on video.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be speaking with you on this great, great day,” he said. “The miners of Pennsylvania are mining coal again.”
On a stage, five men unfurled a gold banner that blared, in large black letters: “Trump Digs Coal,” as the audience went wild.
For the first time in nearly a decade, a new coal mine has opened here, and a US president has rallied alongside an industry deemed by many as obsolete.
The Acosta Deep Mine in Somerset County marks a dramatic upturn for the area. And while President Trump cannot claim that he brought the industry back here personally (this new mine was already being developed before the election), he is an effective cheerleader for folks who’ve been discounted by the political elite.
“We will begin by employing 70 to 100 miners and we hope to open a total of three new mines in the next 18 months — and that will mean additional hiring,” said George Dethlefsen, CEO of Corsa Coal, which owns the mine.
More than 400 people applied for the first wave of jobs that will pay from $50,000 to $100,000, Dethlefsen said.
In a region where the median household income is $29,050, and nearly 12 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, the economic injection is huge.
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