Feb 5 (Reuters) - Leon Lieser has been a coal miner 49 years, his bent fingers testament to his first job, loading coal by hand into a bucket. Mining also led to a hip replacement and a knee replacement. He loves his job and his industry, despite what it has done to his body.
"It's a way of life. It's a proud life," said Lieser, 66.
It may also be doomed. Lieser's boss, Robert Murray, chief executive of Murray Energy Corp, said he fears for the end of coal, prodded by a U.S. president who has promoted wind and solar power while cracking down on emissions from coal-fired power plants.
"There are no coal-fired plants being built. Mr. Obama took care of that. I think we're totally eliminated by 2035," said Murray, 73, a prominent advocate for his industry and a fund-raiser for Republican Party causes.