Friday, April 06, 2007

The Enviro-Wackies vs. Working Americans

Here's a guy who should be heard more often:

The New York Coal Trade Association, headquartered in New York City, recently held its 94th annual banquet and meeting at the New York Hilton. One of the guest speakers was Bob Murray, founder and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation...

"Some wealthy elitists in our country," he told the audience, "who cannot tell fact from fiction, can afford an Olympian detachment from the impacts of draconian climate change policy. For them, the jobs and dreams destroyed as a result will be nothing more than statistics and the cares of other people. These consequences are abstractions to them, but they are not to me, as I can name many of the thousands of the American citizens whose lives will be destroyed by these elitists' ill-conceived ‘global goofiness' campaigns."

Mr. Murray was a coal miner in Ohio who survived two mining accidents and built funds from a mortgaged house into a private coal mining company with more than 3,000 employees. He expresses concern about the proposals in Congress that will ration the use of coal, warning of much worse adverse consequences to Americans than those experienced after the 1990 amendment of the Clean Air Act.

Mr. Murray told me that he had seen the effect of the drastic reductions in coal production, and the wrenching impact on hundreds of communities, as a result of that legislation. In Ohio alone, from 1990 to 2005, about 118 mines were shut down, costing more than 36,000 primary and secondary jobs. These impacted areas have spent years recovering, and some never will. He spoke of the families that broke up, many lost homes, and some were impoverished, because of legislation that the environmentalists call a "success."

In his testimony, Mr. Murray explained: " America is dependent on our coal because it is abundant, with some of our best deposits located on public lands; it is affordable; and it is critical to our energy security to protect all Americans from the hostile and unstable governments from which much of our country's energy is currently imported."

Right now about 52% of the country's electricity is generated by coal. In the coastal cities we tend to forget about that because we get most of our electricity from oil, natural gas, and nuclear power plants. But the farms that grow our food and many other industries around the country can't afford these more expensive sources of energy. Manufacturers will outsource jobs to foreign countries that will not subscribe to emission caps and controls. China is building 50 new coal-fired power plants, and Beijing has stated it will not agree to mandatory emission constraints in the post-2012 Kyoto treaty. Why are we being so stupid about this issue?

Personally, I'm tilted towards nukes--but then, uranium is mined right here in the USA, too, and there are such things as 'clean coal' technologies which can be put to work.

Murray's speech highlights the 'back-story': the inane elitism of those who manufacture a crisis without concern for the unintended consequences. In this case there are at least two "unintended" consequences: the destruction of jobs (and families) in coal-mining; and the larger destruction of jobs (and families) brought about by the anti-competitive economics being forced on US manufacturers.

We don't refer to "Globaloney" without reason, folks.

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