A new study by The Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies found that the coal industry only delivers a fraction of the jobs promised when seeking approval for new power plants.
In the six plants studied in five counties across the country, the report found only 56 percent of every 1,000 jobs promised actually materialized. In four of the five counties, coal plant construction delivered only 27 percent of the jobs projected.
Fearful of a global switch to renewable energy, Big Coal has garnered support for its hazardous practices by telling people and politician that mining operations provide much-needed jobs in rural areas.
“Our study demonstrated that new coal-powered plants simply don’t deliver on their promise of new jobs for host communities, in fact, they don’t even come close,” said David Eichenthal, President and CEO of The Ochs Center.
“The fact that only one of the large plants built in the past five years appears to have provided the number of jobs it promised shows that communities being asked to take on the burden of hosting new coal plants need to take promises of new jobs with more than a grain of salt,” Eichenthal continued.
The Ochs Center analyzed the six largest new plants that became operational between 2005 and 2009. Researchers examined public data for each plant including employment data and labor retention rates for the periods before, during and after construction.
Local job retention rates in each of the six counties actually declined during construction of the coal plants, suggesting that many new jobs went to workers coming from outside of the host county.
There are currently 37 proposed new coal-fired power plants that are under development. Coal plant proponents frequently suggest that counties where they are built will reap an economic windfall through construction and permanent jobs. The Ochs Center report shows those promises of new construction jobs are frequently overstated.
Instead of trying to trap coal miners in a business that has no future, say opponents of mountain top removal mining and other coal industry practices, coal companies should start investing in their re-education so that these dedicated workers can pursue new careers in renewable energy.
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Image Credit: Flickr - Eli Beck
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