HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) Five Pennsylvania State Senators from Northeastern PA are behind a resolution designating July 16 as Anthracite Heritage Day in the Commonwealth.
The Senate has adopted a resolution. Click here to read the Resolution
Senator Lisa Baker (R-20th) introduced the resolution at the suggestion of constituent Robert Alper, a Korean War veteran from Kingston. Seeking to honor the men and women who worked in the hard coal mines throughout Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland and Schuylkill counties over the past 225 years, the senators that represent those counties joined together to ensure King Coal’s importance in the region’s history is recognized and remembered.
Senator Baker said “In Northeastern Pennsylvania, anthracite is a bedrock part of our heritage story. It is a prominent part of our past, a distinct part of the present, and an intended part of the future,” .
Pennsylvania still ranks as the fourth largest anthracite producing state in the country and the industry contributes more than $200 million annually to the state’s economy.
“In the early years of the 20th century, our proud region forged ahead as the center of Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal industry, fueling the Industrial Revolution and warming homes around the globe,” said Sen. John Blake (D-22nd). “With the recognition of Anthracite Heritage Day in Pennsylvania, we are paying tribute to the tens of thousands of coal miners from across NEPA that sacrificed so much in order for our region and our country to flourish both economically and industrially.”
The coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania were a dangerous place and some of the nation’s labor laws were crafted in response to the conditions miners worked in. The grueling work resulted in high levels of employment for the region. At one point, coal miners accounted for half of the nation’s male industrial workforce.
“The anthracite industry fueled the Industrial Revolution and helped meet the energy demands of two World Wars,” said Sen. John Gordner (R-27th). “Today it fuels more than 1,000 Pennsylvania jobs.”
Anthracite coal accounts for more than two million tons annually.
“Coal is more than just an important local natural resource. The coal region is defined by a work ethic and way of life. I’m proud to represent so many hard working men and women who work in this industry,” said Sen. David Argall (R-29th).
“The designating of Anthracite Heritage Day is formal recognition of the many sacrifices and major contributions made by the miners and their families in the anthracite region,” said Sen. John Yudichak (D-14th). “As the proud son of a coal miner, I know firsthand the importance of coal mining in the development of Northeast Pennsylvania and the nation.”
(Information from Senator Lisa Baker’s Office)