Today I saw a man standing on the sidewalk with a sign that said “Out of work coal miner. Need help.” The young man holding the sign looked embarrassed to be asking for money. I have to admit, I’m usually skeptical of panhandlers, but given the last several years, I didn’t doubt this man’s story in the least.
Barack Obama and his Democrat friends in Congress formally declared war on coal in 2009 when they introduced the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as Cap and Trade. After it failed to pass the US Senate, Obama enlisted the help of his EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson. Together, Obama and Jackson have put a regulatory stranglehold on the coal industry by manipulating both the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act beyond their original intentions. The Obama Administration has used the Clean Water Act to deny, delay, and even revoked mine permits throughout Appalachia. And they’ve used the Clean Air Act to restrict power plants from turning coal into affordable energy.
On Monday, Alpha Natural Resources, a large coal producer throughout Appalachia, announced it was closing eight mines and laying off 1,200 employees, 400 of those in the Mountain State. By some estimates, that brings the number of mining jobs lost in WV this year to 2,200. Among other things, Alpha’s CEO Kevin Crutchfield cited the closures and layoffs as a result of “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.” That’s a nice way of saying “Obama’s War on Coal”.
While still a candidate, Barack Obama promised he’d bankrupt any company with a coal-powered plant. Just this month two companies announced there will be at least eight coal-fired power plants closing in WV as a result of environmental regulations. I guess that’s just Barack Obama keeping his promise.
Enter Mitt Romney. This week the Republican nominee released two new ads, clearly illustrating the war we’re fighting here in Appalachia. The ads, appropriately titled “War On Coal” and “Way Of Life”, feature real miners concerned about the harmful impact the president’s policies are having on their livelihood. These miners’ testimonials are heart wrenching examples of what’s happening all across this area of the country.
Fortunately for coal country, Mitt Romney’s energy plan includes overhauling and reforming many regulations that are hurting coal mining families. He wants to streamline the permitting process for new mines and amend the Clean Air Act to remove carbon dioxide; two specific proposals that would relieve the regulatory burden on the coal industry and restore thousands of jobs in the region. Perhaps the most important part of Romney’s energy plan is that it doesn’t pick winners and losers, like Barack Obama giving an unfair advantage to so-called “green jobs” while working families in Appalachian suffer shutdowns and layoffs.
Mitt Romney offers Appalachia hope for a better future. As for the out of work miner with the sign, I gave him the few dollars that were in my pocket and told him help is on his way.
Believe in America.