The bankruptcies of two major coal-fired power plants in Alabama could threaten the livelihoods of millions of people.
Murray Coal, which is a subsidiary of billionaire industrialist Murray Energy, announced last week that it was laying off 1,100 employees.
The company said it planned to close its facilities and shut down operations by early December.
The layoffs come just months after the company filed for bankruptcy protection in the state.
The company said the layoffs were necessary due to “significant financial pressures” and the company’s “ongoing efforts to reorganize and reenter the marketplace.”
Murray Energy, which has owned and operated coal plants for the past decade, has struggled to find a viable business model and has struggled with declining coal prices.
The coal industry’s demise could have a large impact on Alabama, a state that’s been in a recession for more than a decade.
The announcement comes as the state struggles with a massive backlog of coal-related construction permits, a shortage of qualified contractors and a high cost of natural gas.
The state has had to purchase a $9 billion pipeline to carry gas to the West Coast from New York to California.
The shutdowns come after a week in which the state lost two major power plants, shutting down one of them for the third time in as many years.
Last week, the state said it would begin decommissioning the other coal-burning plant.