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Coal is coal’s problem

To the editor:

While I am sympathetic with Phil Bowman’s point that the Democrats don’t seem to genuinely care about the working class or the working poor and are more interested in focusing on the Russian investigation and being anti-Trump, I take issue with his parroting of the Trump line regarding “clean” coal and some sort of coal industry renaissance with respect to employment (“The rescue of the coal industry must continue,” Oct. 19.) It is true that coal production is rebounding, but, as they old saying goes, we can all have our own opinions but we can’t have our own facts.

The facts are, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that the mining industry by way of a laser-like focus on automation has managed to increase productivity per miner by between 7 percent and 8 percent a year since the great recession of 2000. If you don’t want to take my word for it, just ask Southeastern Ohio’s favorite coal baron, Robert Murray, who told Mining.com in 2017 that “Trump “can’t bring jobs back … (because) many of those jobs were lost to technology rather than regulation.”

Donald Trump yelled from the mountaintops about bringing back coal for one reason and one reason only: He knew what Murray knew and that is that such claims will fall on receptive ears like Bowman’s. The Paris Climate Accord is not king coal’s problem. King coal is king coal’s problem, with a dash of technology that will further redistribute wealth to coal company shareholders. That giant sucking sound Bowman hears isn’t the rebirth of coal, but, rather, distant millionaires and billionaires reaping the rewards of a false promise that will never be kept. Please grow up and stick to the facts. I’m not defending Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, as they are woefully out of touch with middle-class Appalachian America. But if you think that Trump has his finger on the pulse of anything beyond that which divides us, you’ve got another thing coming when the coal boom eventually busts.

Walter E. “Ted” Auch

Shaker Heights

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