If the voters in Louisa, Ky., had their wish, Mitt Romney would have taken the oath of office Monday. Louisa is in eastern Kentucky, and "coal" was the one-word issue in the election. President Obama is seen as an enemy of coal mining and he got only 27 percent of the vote in the county.
And now comes word that Louisa is going to lose its biggest industry — a power generating plant that's been burning coal since 1962.
Nearly three years after a deadly mine explosion in West Virginia, a former Massey Energy mine superintendent has been sentenced to prison and federal regulators have toughened a regulation that could have helped prevent the disaster.
Just a few years ago, Georgia Power generated nearly three-fourths of its electricity with coal. Last year, for the first time, natural gas edged out coal, and just this week the company announced plans to close 10 coal-fired power generators within the next few years.
"We do recognize this is a historic event for our company. We've never announced this many closings at one time," says Mark Williams, a company spokesperson.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
For more than 40 years, American presidents have talked about the need for the U.S. to become energy-independent. Easy to talk about, difficult to make happen. But some recent discoveries could mean a giant leap in that direction. We begin this hour talking about energy and whether it's the kind that burns to power the internal combustion engine in your car, or the kind that harnesses wind to turn on the lights in your house.