War On Coal?
Although it may seem like decades ago, it was only a few years ago when the coal economy was booming. Coal brings high paying jobs, much higher then minimum wage. Coal truck drivers and coal miners from around the country are hurting while the government wages war on coal. Call it what you want, coal is on the verge of death and now tens of thousands of workers are suffering from lost wages.
The big increase in the production of natural gas, the sharp rise in renewable energy, state efforts to improve air quality, and regulations by the federal government are killing coal jobs. While some measurements taken have been rightfully made, others have not. While everyone may think that the economy is strong, or at least stable, coal states are suffering and it’s being hid from public view.
There’s nothing easy about being a coal miner. Politicians don’t understand what it’s like to risk your life everyday for your family. They don’t understand the hell it is working in 2 foot high coal seams. Coal companies have struggled keeping up with changes and have spent billions improving clean coal technology. You would think that EPA and the government would be happy but their not.
One of the hardest hit states is West Virginia. West Virginia didn’t elect Barrack Obama, perhaps he is paying the mountain state back for the election. In West Virginia, coal is a way of life. In WV, you don’t have a lot of options like other larger states. Coal provided a great resource to take care of your family, to stay local and live in the state they cherish so much.
Truckers Logic took the time to interview local coal truck drivers and miners. We had the opportunity to talk to several coal truck drivers and coal miners. Surprisingly, none of them wanted their names to be released. Why? They felt that it could hurt their chances of being hired somewhere else. Unfortunately, in a small community where everyone knows everyone, this kind of action takes place a lot.
One coal miner was laid off and has been out of the coal industry for 2 years. Prior, he had been working in the mines for 7 years. He had no choice but to take a minimum wage job that barely allows them to live. With three children, a wife and a sick mother, life has been hard for the whole family. They had to downgrade their vehicle, and now the family is getting government assistance.
This was a common theme to those we talked to during our trip to West Virginia and Kentucky. While coal miners continue to be laid off, many coal truck drivers are facing similar issues with the fall of the coal industry. When you take the time to walk their shoes, you get a whole new understanding. I understand regulations, I understand cleaner coal but EPA made it a point to take it personal. No questions about it. If you ask me, all of this was put in action for a reason. War on coal? You be the judge.
NGR War On Coal
NRG has become one of the largest energy players in the United States. NGR has been buying coal plants like their going out of style. While the coal industry thought this was going to be a major benefit in growth, NGR had other plans. NGR is buying coal plants only to shut them down. NGR serves over 40 million homes and quickly growing.
NGR has made a large bid in the Midwest, acquiring coal plants and changing them to natural gas plants. NGR has plenty of political power and money to boot. Their company alone has caused a sizable dent in the coal industry. Blame it on what you want, fact is fact. NGR has moved east also, buying several coal plants in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. NGR converted them into natural gas plants.
It’s nothing new in America, big corporation controls everything. The coal industry will never be the same. We have 50+ years of coal left. We’ll be lucky to see a decade more of coal mining, even that. While efforts to support coal are greatly appreciated, it’s a losing battle.