War on Coal Adds Victims

Many local residents may well remember the good news of May 2007: A new coal mine had begun production near Brilliant. Scores of good, new jobs were created, with every prospect they would be opportunities for long careers.

For a few years the mine, operated by a subsidiary of the Murray Energy Corp., was a bright spot in a sometimes lackluster Ohio Valley economy. At one time the mine employed 239 people.

Now it is gone. Those jobs have been wiped out. Soon many other jobs -perhaps as many as 2,629, according to studies of the employment multiplier effect of a mining operation – will be erased, too.

What happened? Do the Ohio Valley and the nation as a whole need less of the electricity generated by coal from the local mine?

No. What happened was the war on coal led by President Barack Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency – and supported by liberal members of Congress such as Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Brown has supported Obama’s so-called environmental initiatives staunchly, despite the impact they have had on Ohioans. And even when conservatives in Congress manage to block Obama, he uses his administrative power through the Environmental Protection Agency to continue his war on coal.

Since Obama began his multi-fronted assault on coal, demand for the fuel has plummeted. Several major power companies already have announced plans to close coal-fired power plants and replace them with generating stations fueled by natural gas.

As we have warned many times, the war on coal will be disastrous not just to miners and their families but also to tens of millions of other Americans. Electricity bills will rise dramatically – and already are on the way up. Evidence of that is being provided in Monroe County, less than an hour’s drive from Brilliant, where the Ormet aluminum plant plans layoffs because it cannot obtain reasonably priced power.

But the spotlight was on the Brilliant mine Tuesday, where a substantial number of good people were informed their jobs are gone – for no good reason.

“Forward” is being used by Obama as the slogan for his re-election campaign. But in the Ohio Valley this week, what the president is doing to us certainly doesn’t seem like progress.