Today, coal miners and their families will gather at the state capitol building in Denver to urge the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to reject plans to replace coal in the electric generating mix.
The state of Colorado is considering a proposal that would mandate a switch from coal to natural gas for the bulk of its energy needs, but pro-coal organizations are using every deceptive tactic in their arsenal to delay this change.
Knowing they can’t deny evidence that fossil fuels are finite, more costly in the long term, and detrimental to human health the environment, the Colorado Mining Association has decided to focus on the short-term consequences.
The organization claims that if utility companies are allowed to proceed with the emissions-reduction plan outlined in the ‘Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act’, it will raise electricity rates, reduce the gross state product and put thousands of Coloradans out of work.
No one has ever said that the transition to a clean energy economy would be easy. It will be uncomfortable, and many Americans will have to make sacrifices for which they might not be prepared. However, ignoring the signs of a dying industry will only prolong the inevitable.
Instead of trying to trap coal miners in a business that has no future, the Colorado Mining Association should start investing in their re-education so that these dedicated workers can pursue new careers in renewable energy.
But that would mean Big Coal would have acknowlege that people are more important that profit; somethine they’re not likely to admit any time soon.
As Bob Berwyn of Summit County Voice wrote, “The switch would reduce the demand for Colorado coal, costing the companies that mine the stuff millions of dollars in profits. According to the Colorado Mining Association, the switch to gas would result in a 4-million-ton hit to the industry, and [pro-coal analysts say] say that it wouldn’t be possible to sell that coal to other markets, as overall demand for coal declines.”
Renewable Energy = Resilient Economy
While pro-coal organizations scramble for pity, Colorado and many other states are slowly realizing that a switch to renewable energy is the only way to create economic security for the long term.
Aside from the environmental benefits that will result from phasing out the coal industry, America will finally be able to reap the economic benefits of the wind, solar, natural gas, and geothermal industries, which have been growing rapidly in other countries.
If the United States is ever to regain its position as an economic power in this world, the time to change is NOW- not after another round of bureaucratic deliberation or ten more years of destructive coal mining.
Coal miners worried about the future of their families need to realize that the only way to achieve true job security is to get behind renewable energy and support a cleaner future.
Image Credit: Adam Shake - Twilight Earth