Indianapolis Monthly

Burned Out

WHEN TIM ABRAMS is up at night, sitting at the kitchen table of his rural Sullivan County home fretting about the future of Indiana’s coal industry, he’s not worried so much about his own job. The 56-year-old was 22 when he landed a position at the coal-fired Merom Generating Station, which, along with the nearby Bear Run Mine and Carlisle Mine, was one of the only high-paying employers in the county of 20,000 people just south of Terre Haute. He has enjoyed a three-decade career in the business. Abrams is concerned because, as president of the County Council, he knows the life-sustaining power coal has given the region, both literally and figuratively through employment. And, like everyone else in the area, he sees the industry dying right before his eyes.

Sunrise Coal permanently closed the Carlisle Mine in March, laying off 90 workers. Soon thereafter, Gov. Eric

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