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Trump’s Affect on Coal Towns

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Sharia Williamson, Staff Writer

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The 2016 Presidential Election is finally over and the winner, Donald Trump, will officially be inaugurated as the new President of the United States on January 20, 2017.

Through endless months of fighting and arguing, one of the biggest deciding factors in Trump’s victory over his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was the continued usage of coal as our main energy source.

For coal towns, such as Alliance, Nebraska, it has been an ongoing discussion of what would happen to our town without the use of coal. We do not have a coal mine here in Alliance, but we are a major railway terminal for multiple states including Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. We also have a major maintenance and repair shop, where multiple trains are serviced every day and night. The railroad is not only a job, it is a lifestyle for towns such as Alliance.

Just about everyone residing in Alliance either has a family member or acquaintance who is employed by the railroad. Our town survives economically off of coal and even before the election, the railroad had been laying off, furloughing, or offering large sums of money for people to “retire” early.

Houses, cars, campers, and anything of value flooded the real estate and garage sale sites as some railroaders looked to make a quick buck in preparation for the worst. The chance of getting laid-off was too great for any railroader to be able to keep all of their valuables.

All people, not only in Alliance, but other towns across the country would have been greatly affected by the sudden decline of jobs if coal was not in our presidential candidate’s interest.

Switching to clean energy could benefit both us and the Earth, but any person who relies on the use of coal cannot afford to switch over to clean energy in such a short time without the creation of other jobs.

New jobs would have to at least equal the benefits gained from the railroad for the least possible amount of backlash in our economy. For now, any railroader can relax and get back to work, at least, until an alternate and comparable solution to both issues can be proposed.

“I will bring our energy companies back and they will be able to compete and make money and pay off our national debt and budget deficits that are tremendous. Now we have natural gas and so many other things… we have found in the last seven years, we have found tremendous wealth under our feet,” Trump stated during a presidential debate.

With this newfound wealth, Trump hopes to build our economy and bring jobs back from China. Once Trump takes over the White House, our little town can once again continue to grow and attract new people from all over the place allowing us to grow and prosper.

Now that the election is over and a presidential candidate who is with coal has been elected, Alliance has no reason to worry.  As a small coal town with a large dependence on the railroad for jobs, we can expect any person who is furloughed to be called back to work soon and people who have been stressing over the possibility of losing their job can relax.

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