Pike County's judge-executive is calling on Kentucky elected officials to extend federal unemployment benefits to help out-of-work miners. Wayne Rutherford wrote a letter this week to Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Rep. Hal Rogers. Rutherford said he finds it "unconscionable and heartless" that lawmakers would decline to extend unemployment benefits.
Long-term benefits for 1.3 million people who are out of work in the U.S. will end on Saturday, unless Congress moves to extend them. Rutherford said the benefit is crucial in his county, where coal jobs are disappearing. He says the benefits are the only income for unemployed miners. In 2012, Pike County lost about 1,200 coal mining jobs, according to the state Department of Energy Development and Independence.