THE COAL industry is in the midst of tough times. Much of the problem is due to tough air emissions standards.
Those problems rose to another level Tuesday.
President Obama said he was no longer willing to wait on Congress to act to reduce carbon emissions. Thus, he is planning to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to do just that. The EPA is by no means a friend of coal. Such a statement obviously doesn't bode well for an industry already leaking oil.
As expected, those associated with coal mining are fearing the worst.
At least one coal official believes Obama's latest proposal may put the industry on the brink of elimination.
Robert E. Murray, founder and chief executive officer of Murray Energy, operates the Century Mine and Powhatan No. 6 Mine in Belmont and Monroe counties. He said, "President Obama's proposal is yet another attempt to decimate the United States coal industry - and destroy the thousands of good-paying, well-benefited jobs the industry provides."
Murray's assessment was supported by others in the coal business.
"Today's announcement simply does not align with our economic or national security interests," said Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay, reacting to the president's climate change plan. She noted her company believes the plan will "choke off economic activity, impair our global competitiveness and ship manufacturing and other jobs overseas."
Obama's latest move gives credence to those who says the president has a war on coal. He has done nothing to disprove that belief.
Until we get leaders that realize the benefits of coal, it is an industry that will continue to struggle. If given a level playing field, coal could go a long way in solving many of our nation's energy needs.