Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Coal Layoffs Announced

Hurricane Barrack Devastates Jobs
by Bill Smith, ARRA News Service - Before the Hurricane Sandy pounded the East Coast with devastating effects, Americans were experiencing the devastating effects of the Obama administration war on various industries notably the oil, gas, and coal industries. Today, we have new reports on the damage being done to jobs by the Obama administrations "war on coal." Again, Americans employed in the coal industry are losing jobs thanks in part to federal regulations under the Obama administration.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports today, “Consol Energy has told officials and workers that it will idle a West Virginia surface mine and lay off approximately 145 employees starting at the end of the year. The Cecil-based coal and natural gas company blamed the idling on permit delays that have slowed necessary environmental permit approval at its Miller Creek operations. It said it has been working on securing permits related to the Clean Water Act since November 2007, and said it continues to work through permit delays.”

The AP adds, “Consol has sought U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permits to redirect the Mingo County operations to mine land that would then become a 5-mile stretch of the King Coal Highway. . . . [Consol President Nicholas J.] DeIuliis noted that while the EPA had relented in objecting to one of the two permits sought, ‘that permit alone is not sufficient to allow miners to begin work.’”

Just last month, the AP reported, “Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources said Tuesday it’s cutting production by 16 million tons and eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide, including 400 with the immediate closing of eight mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. . . . [Chief Executive Officer Kevin] Crutchfield called it ‘a difficult day,’ but said the shutdowns and layoffs are a necessary part of ensuring Alpha survives in what has become a difficult U.S. market, where coal companies face a dual challenge: Power plants are shifting to cheap, abundant natural gas, while companies like his face ‘a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.’

And of course, these layoffs have effects beyond the jobs for coal workers themselves. Recently, the AP noted that “Norfolk Southern Corp. says it has laid off about 200 workers in the railroad’s divisions based in Bluefield and Roanoke. Robin Chapman of Norfolk Southern tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that decreased coal traffic led to the furloughs.”

Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, said last month, "At this point, you’d have to be blind not to see President Obama’s war on coal, and the devastating impact it is already having on coal mining communities and will, sooner rather than later, have on everyone who pays an electric bill. Does this administration care at all about saving American jobs?"

Earlier this month, Kerpen noted, "War on coal comes to Virginia . . . Mines are being closed. The latest announcement came from Alpha Natural Resources, which is laying off 1,200 coal miners, citing 'a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.' The strongest words of anger against this regulatory destruction of the coal industry came from Cecil E. Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers: 'The Navy SEALs shot Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and [Obama EPA Administrator] Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington. This rule is an all-out, in my opinion, decision by the EPA that we’re never going to have another coal-fired facility in the United States that’s constructed.'"

As noted this summer, Senator Mitch McConnell said, “Perhaps the clearest example of this Administration’s regulatory assault is its War on Coal.  Since being sworn in, President Obama’s EPA has set out to circumvent the will of Congress and the American people by turning the already-cumbersome mine permitting process into a back-door means of shutting down coal mines. . . . With this radical environmental/anti-coal agenda, it is no wonder the Administration has failed to answer the American people’s call for greater domestic energy production.  The real-world impact of their fantasy-world energy policy is that people are losing their jobs and energy prices will rise even further.”

It is time to Stop Obama's War on Coal, Gas and Oil

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