War Against Coal is Hurting America
August 27, 2012
By Newton B. Jones, President International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
Across the nation thousands of good-paying jobs are disappearing and the communities that depend on them are withering as scores of coal-fired power plants shut their doors. The plants, and the working families and businesses whose livelihoods are tied to them, are victims of a powerful alignment of external forces—virulent environmentalism, a slow economy, strict new EPA regulations and soaring competition from natural gas.
The Boilermakers union has been a leader among the labor and business organizations that seek to shepherd the coal-fired energy sector through the worst effects of these forces. And we continue in those efforts.
Energy generated from coal has long been the driving force behind our manufacturing strength and our prosperity as a nation. Recent decades have witnessed remarkable strides in reducing the environmental impact of coal emissions, and our field construction members have been at the forefront of those achievements. Advanced technologies hold the promise of the cleanest coal use yet.
With 200 years of reserves and the infrastructure in place to produce coal-fired electricity reliably and economically well into the future, it does not make sense to abandon this valuable resource. We are on the cusp of world leadership in clean coal technology. It would be foolish to cede that leadership to other countries — particularly China and India — that are quickly ramping up their coal use.