War Against Coal is Heating Up

May 10th, 2013 | by Morris Beschloss | Comments

When former EPA head Lisa Jackson mounted the pulpit to call for the “bankruptcy of coal” in January, 2012, she released a firestorm of supporters agitating not only against the use of coal for power generation and iron ore/steel conversions, but are now active in attempting to stop all coal exports. This would, in effect, bring coal, and its American world-leading reserves down to an irreducible minimum; in effect, eventual extinction.

This growing legion of fossil fuel negation has mounted an increasingly effective “War-on-Coal,” which is not destined to stop until the last coal mine in the U.S. closes its gates. It’s common knowledge that U.S. coal companies (Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, near-bankrupt Patriot Coal etc.) have been building overseas order backlogs. These are mainly from Southeast Asia and are rebuilding the mining volume and revenues lost due to the diminishing use of coal for electric utilities and the tempering of iron ore into steel.

While frustrated by the lack of federal legislation to close coal mines or severely limit mining production through “back-breaking” legislation, these coal opponents are reaching out to municipalities, state legislators, and threats against export coal facilities to strangle the global coal demand being facilitated by less squeamish overseas users.

The latest victim of this organized boycott is one of America’s leading pipeline fabricators. Kinder Morgan, which has announced dropping plans, already underway to build a major export terminal at Clatskanie, Oregon, along the Columbia River. One of the leading anti-coal export exponents, Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director, for the “Columbia Riverkeeper” opponents,” is leading the charge

This spreading anti-coal antipathy has been surging like a wildfire along the politically progressive Northwest quadrant, attempting to close out all coal shipments to Southeast Asia. This intensely populous area is in the middle of building massive coal-using power generating utility infrastructures. The anti-coal coalition, headed by the liberal media across the states of Washington and Oregon, is whipping up pro-environmental hysteria, without regard to consequences in states that badly need additional employment and revenues.

If this latest outburst of anti-coal export fever catches on nationally, it could be another blow against an economic recovery that is depending on the utilization of America’s unlimited natural resources. If allowed to be developed, this would pump new life into an economic recovery stalled by a flattening out of export activity, limited consumer demand and higher taxes. A collapse of coal mining would scuttle recovery in such states as Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Montana, Pennsylvania and upstate New York; even Illinois and Indiana.

Having been encouraged politically by an Administration that has favored “climatological purity” over a strong economic rebound and employment recovery, the anti-coal and nuclear usage antagonists are growing in numbers and influence. To fend off fossil fuels in favor of cost-ineffective renewables, unable to generate even a fraction of the remaining energy vacuum, would further prove deleterious to any reasonable economic comeback in the future.

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