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Obama’s fictitious war on coal

October 14, 2012
The Herald-Star

To the editor:

Most folks living in the Ohio Valley have noticed signs stating, "Stop the War on Coal: Fire Obama." Forgive my sarcasm, but President Barack Obama has not ordered Seal Team Six into coal mines throughout our nation to take out the coal like they took out Osama bin Laden. Obama has not ordered a naval blockade on the Ohio River preventing coal barges from passing through. Moreover, if Obama is waging a war on coal, he must be doing a lousy job, because there are more coal miners working today than at any point during the Bush administration.

In reality, there is little correlation between the coal-fired plants shutting down with Obama's environmental policies. The actual causation is due to the price of natural gas drastically decreasing. An interesting statistic; electricity from coal-powered plants costs double the amount than what it costs a gas-fired plant. This statistic came from The Wall Street Journal's article, "Coal-Fired Plants Mothballed by Gas-Glut."

Do the Romney supporters perpetuating this war on coal myth know his history as governor of Massachusetts? In 2003, Romney stood outside a coal-fired plant in Salem, Mass., pointed at the plant, and said, "I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant, that plant kills people."

While governor, Romney was a passionate environmentalist, who wanted dirty coal-fired plants in his state to clean up their plants or he would shut them down. The folks supporting Romney on this issue are blindly overlooking his past. He flip-flopped on coal, in addition to a laundry-list of other issues.

With coal becoming less competitive as a power source, due to the markets being inundated with cheap natural gas, what do these "war on coal" Romney supporters think will happen to their industry when Romney opens up our national parks for more hydraulic fracturing? During the presidential debate, Romney advocated for more drilling on government-owned lands. Basic economics tells us that by increasing the supply of natural gas on the markets, the cost of gas would be reduced even further, thus making coal even less feasible as a source of power, jeopardizing even more coal-fired plant jobs.

If Romney and his supporters want to use this hyperbolic "war on coal" rhetoric, Obama's campaign could do likewise. Obama's Recovery and Reinvestment Act created millions of jobs, which included the jobs of teachers, cops and firefighters all across our nation. Romney opposed this. Furthermore, Romney is against Obama's recent proposal to allocate $35 billion to states and local governments for the hiring of more teachers, cops and firefighters. Excuse my hyperbolizing, but it sure sounds like Romney is waging a war on our teachers, cops and firefighters. Perhaps the Obama campaign should start planting signs that say, "Stop the War on Teachers, Cops, and Firefighters: Rehire Obama."

Michael Dukes


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