How regulations are killing the coal industry

Brian Brenberg, economics professor at The King's College, Conservative Review contributor Tom Borelli and political commentator Eric Guster weigh in on the impact coal regulations have on the industry.

Coal Lumps = American Lumps

By Politics

On Tuesday, the US Justice Department moved for dismissal of the Murray Energy lawsuit that is held up President Obama’s Clean Air Act. The company says the EPA has not fulfilled the duty to perform employment evaluations necessary. If the case isn’t dismissed, it goes to court in July but many will say employment evaluation has already been done and in a word: devastating

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It was candidate Obama that promised that electricity prices must “necessarily” go higher and he kept that promise. I don’t need to tell you how much your electric bill has zoomed but here’s a vision reference.

President Obama came in with an agenda to crush coal and he succeeded mightily. In 2008, coal was responsible for 48.2% of electricity, last year it was down to 33%.

The Carnage

His regulations to force power plants to adjust to measures for "clean coal" have been draconian and unfair as the industry was moving toward cleaner coal without the coercion.

Obama's Onslaught of Regulations

  • Mercury
  • Air Toxics
  • Ozone
  • Fuel Standards
  • Particulate Matter

Bankruptcies include Arch, Patriot, James River, Walter and Alpha Natural. The jobs losses are in the tens of thousands. Stock market values wiped out as Political TV Host Bill Maher even gloated on his show that the industry once valued at $65 billion in market cap is down to $4.8 billion.

The hype that coal has been replaced by solar is a farce....Hydro was 6% and remains 6% and "other renewable" is now less than 7% from 4.8%.

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The standout comes from the fracking miracle which made natural gas cheap. Now it’s grown to 33% of electricity from 21.4%.

More On The Coal Controversy....

We won't get back to the golden era for coal in part because of cheaper natural gas. However a booming economy means price increases and the need for metallurgical steel and power to run the economy helps coal demand, too.

Meanwhile China is firing 1.3 million coal workers and spending $15 billion to retrain them and place them in new jobs. Thus far the administration hasn’t mentioned anything like that but has poured billions in loan guarantees and direct investments into solar.

Hillary Clinton got into trouble talking about more layoffs with a certain amount of glee and she is working hard to walk back those comments. Sadly, it’s too late to walk back all the damage the Obama administration has had on the coal industry.

Coal country is so representative of hard working people it’s actually sparked revolutions in the past. In the Anyuan region of China a massive coal strike in 1922 eventually propelled a guy name Mao and his communist ideas into a full-fledged revolution.

Where Do We Go From Here

We may be on the cusp of a similar revolution in America.

 

Solar Plants Heating Up Jobs

Source Electric

2009

2015

CoalSource Electric

48

33

Natural Gas

21

33

Nuclear

20

20

Hydro

6

6

Other (Solar)

5

7



This piece was published first by Wall Street Strategies.


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