Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan visited Belmont county, in Ohio, Saturday to claim that President Obama has a war on Coal. It is part of the Romney-Ryan plan to drill for more oil, keep the huge handouts to Big Oil, reduce pollution regulations, and stop government assistance to green energy. Of course this also means telling Coal miners that their jobs are in danger even though no matter who is the President their jobs are in danger. If we were at the beginning of the 20th century, Paul Ryan would be complaining about President Obama having a war on horse drawn buggies. Coal is a dying source for energy much like buggies gave way to the better technology of the automobile.
“Gas prices have doubled since President Obama was elected,” he said. “We are losing thousands of coal jobs. We have a hundred coal plants scheduled to close, and thousands more jobs are on the chopping block.”
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s strategy to capture the must-win state of Ohio counts on a heavy turnout in largely rural southeast Ohio — coal country. One large sign on the road leading to the Valley View Campgrounds read: “Save Eastern Ohio: Fire Obama.” The words “Eastern Ohio” had been painted over with “USA.”
Mr. Ryan repeated Mr. Romney’s promise to make North America energy independent by the end of the decade, pledging to approve construction of the Keystone oil pipeline and to embrace new technologies, such as those expected to produce a natural-gas boom in the region.
“We can unleash this technology boom that will keep American energy dollars in America,” Mr. Ryan said. “That creates good jobs. That creates coal jobs. That creates gas jobs. That creates all-of-the-above jobs, and it creates all the manufacturing jobs that come with it.”
Of course Romney-Ryan are known for saying anything to get elected. From the same article:
President Obama made his first southeast Ohio visit of this campaign last week, rallying in friendly Democratic territory, Ohio University in Athens, where he went after Mr. Romney’s focus on coal during Tuesday’s second debate.
“The truth is, while he now claims he supports coal, Mitt Romney has been a longtime critic of coal-fired power plants,” Obama spokesman Jessica Kershaw said Saturday. “As governor of Massachusetts, he stood in front of a coal-fired power plant and declared he would not ‘protect jobs that kill people.’
Not to mention that the coal industry has some serious issues not related to public policy:
In certain states like West Virginia, meanwhile, the coal-mining industry faces a structural decline that goes beyond federal regulations. Mining jobs have been slowly dwindling for 40 years, thanks to competition from Wyoming’s vast Powder River Basin as well as the advent of mountaintop-removal mining (which requires fewer miners to go underground). What’s more, as Ken Ward Jr. recently reported, the coal in some Appalachian seams is gradually running out…
If natural gas prices evolve as expected (i.e., rising slowly over time) and EPA regulations remain “lenient,” then utilities are expected to retire 59 gigawatts of coal capacity by 2016 — about one-fifth of the coal fleet. By contrast, if those EPA regulations get cranked up to “strict,” then about 77 gigawatts of coal capacity gets retired. Regulations do make a difference, not least by making coal more uneconomical in a world where natural gas is cheap. But natural gas is a huge factor here.
It looks like that the Republican darling “the market” is what will cause more job losses than government regulations and not even the Republicans will stop it especially since they are so friendly toward fracking (extracting gas from shale that can cause more pollution than coal).
It reminds me of the transition from horse drawn buggies to automobiles back in the early part of the 20th century. Columbus had a large buggy factory run by the father and brother of later rubber tycoon Harvey S. Firestone.
Ohio had many buggy manufacturing companies at the beginning of the 20th Century, but the Columbus Buggy Company, was the largest, with plants not only in Ohio, but in different locations throughout the country. With the invention of the automobile, these buggy manufacturers saw the future of horse-drawn transportation was at an end. Many of the companies started manufacturing powered buggies, with the Columbus Buggy Company leading the way with both electric and gasoline powered models. However, when Henry Ford developed the innovative assembly line manufacturing plant, the large buggy companies could not compete with them, nor did they have the financial strength to convert their already existing large plants into assembly line production facilities.
The other major factor in the demise of he Columbus Buggy Company, like many other manufacturers in the state, was that the new horseless carriages were being made out of steel. Columbus had iron mills, but steel was a new industry that required lots of raw materials not easily transported long distances by rail. Thus the auto manufactures gathered in the port cities like Detroit and Cleveland where these raw materials could be brought in by ship. Thus ended the age of buggy and automobile manufacturing in Columbus.
There are many businesses that were supplanted by better or cheaper technology. Promising miners they will still have jobs is, based on the evidence, a lie.
Strict regulations may speed up the transition but the hurt is coming, it can’t be stopped, and I would rather deal with it now then have to support another buggy industry like coal.