This is not a green jobs story. There are no soirees, no socialites running across the veranda drinking mojitos to hear about the latest, Obama electric car boondoggle.
This is not a story of families sharing their latest trip to Martha's Vineyard. This story is a story about Morgantown, West Virginia and cities like Morgantown all across the United States.
This is a story about coal miners, hard-working people who mostly inherited their way of life from their fathers and grandfathers. Every day they go to work and every day the dangers they face could make it their last.
Their workplace has no windows. There are no "Alfred Jacob Miller" prints hanging on the walls. What there is, is hard work, darkness and dust and at the end of the week an income to support their families. The same as it has been for generations.
There are an estimated 174,000 blue-collar, full-time, permanent jobs related to coal in the U.S., including mining (83,000), transportation (31,000), and power plant employment (60,000).
Coal is used extensively for electricity around the country. Without coal electricity prices will rise and even now they already started to.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show a steady climb in the kilowatt hour rate since Obama took office: Price per KWH in May 2009:12.6 cents, May 2010:12.7 May 2011: 12.9, May 2012:12.9, May 2013:13.01.
Not since 1993 has the price of Per KWH been as high as it was in May according to the BLS. This translates to higher electricity prices.
The coal industry produces about 40% of the electricity used in the US and without it coal consumers will feel the brunt of Obama's new national climate action plan. His goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to fight alleged "global warming". Globally, the US produces 13% of the world's coal. Our abundant coal resources are one reason our electricity has remained reasonably priced compared to Europe. If Obama's new climate change edict lower the our production of coal it will increase the cost of electricity as much as 40% to 60%. But that is part of his game plan to force more of America to rely on unworkable alternative sources of energy such as wind (kills lots of birds) and solar (the sun don't always shine on it.) Why get rid of coal when it actually burns cleaner today that it ever has.
According to the EPA and other sources, coal-fueled power plants are capable of reducing up to 98 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, 90 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions and 90 percent of mercury emissions in some instances.
Bottom line: U.S. coal is more than 90% cleaner than it used to be.
The coalmines in Morgantown are miles from the plastic smiles, Armani suites and Bentleys driven by fat cats and lobbyists. In Morgantown, Washington D.C. is a place on the news, not a place that has much to do with their lives in West Virginia.
That was until 2008 when Obama declared his war on coal.
Obama's EPA cap and trade policy was designed to intentionally squeeze the coal industry out of business. Exorbitant fines have been designed to bankrupt the US coal industry, just as he promised he'd do in 2008. (See his speech and video of same below.)
Obama knows Congress would never allow him to hurt this many American workers. Republicans and Democrats alike from coal mining states are outraged that he would use the EPA to do his bidding.
Senator Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, called Obama's recent Climate Change Speech, "A War on America". If this policy stands families who for generations relied on coal for their life support will be forced to try and find other work.
Who will win this war is anybody's guess: The first shot was fired in 2008 and the artillery was stepped up last week. Will the miners fight back?
The is great irony:
A man reportedly "of the people" fired another shot at the miners from an elite ivy league school in Washington D.C. To an audience filled with upper-class rich kids, Obama said he would oversee the end of coal mining. In doing so this will also bring an end to the only income thousands of mining families have across our nation.
The rich kids cheered the end of coal mining and by doing so also cheered the future hardship of thousands of miners and their families across the nation.
There are few rich kids in Morgantown and there were no cheers.
The general public won't be cheering either when our electricity bills increase this winter due to an executive decision, not to utilize coal.
Presidential talking points from the day of the speech urged staffers not to talk of the coming electricity rate hikes.
I have included a transcript of the President's 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. There is also a link to a Youtube video of the speech as well.
We would like to know what you think, so please vote in the poll below and we always read your remarks so please feel free to respond. The investment information I promised is below:
Obama interview to the San Francisco Chronicle: January 2008
"What I said was that we will put out a cap and trade policy that is more aggressive than anybody else's out there. I was the first to call for 100% option on the cap and trade which means:
Every unit of carbon greenhouse gas admitted would be charged to the polluter: Whatever power plant was out there, whatever plant that is being built they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that would be imposed every year!
So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant they can but it's just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being admitted."
From the same interview:
"When I was asked earlier about coal, you know under my plan the electricity rate would necessarily sky rocket."