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The US Coal Industry Is Going Out, Not With a Whimper, But With a Burst of Rent-Seeking


Business  (tags: coal, dying industry, energy, subsidies and handouts, Trump )

Judy
- 540 days ago - vox.com
The US coal industry is dying -- but not with any dignity. As the end approaches, its sense of aggrieved entitlement is increasingly naked, its demands for government handouts increasingly frantic.



   

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Comments

Evelyn B (63)
Sunday August 27, 2017, 3:42 am
The ONLY reason for tax subsidies to coal is to support company & share-holder interests ...

and the only VALID subsidies for coal workers would be for retraining to work in alternative energy services ... or other professions.

I don't know if Trump Corporation & private) portfolios include coal-related investments as well as oil ... I wouldn't be surprised.

But reality is swinging far from coal power (about time too!!) - and I hope the relevant government offices keep their attention on practicalities rather than DT-pleasing ...

Thanks, Judy
 

Freya H (345)
Sunday August 27, 2017, 5:07 am
Big Fossil Fuel knows its days are numbered, so it isn't going down without a fight. Big Oil and Big Coal will rage, rage against the dying of the light. But in the end they will lose.

Fossil fuel is DEAD. Long live renewables!
 

Peggy B (43)
Sunday August 27, 2017, 7:04 am
Well said, Evelyn.
 

Ed Site Issues V (198)
Sunday August 27, 2017, 11:16 am
Noted, Thanks
 

Judy C (91)
Sunday August 27, 2017, 8:27 pm
After checking several sources, Evelyn, I did not run across any holdings that Trump owns in the coal industry – not that it's impossible that he does. He does own stocks in other fossil fuels. The coal industry was not a huge contributor to Trump's campaign; however, their contributions to his inauguration were enormous. Conveniently, funds for inauguration do not have to be accounted for. So in other words, big coal has been very nice to Donald Trump, and he will be very nice to them.

The article gives some examples that are interesting to read, about the ridiculous schemes and rationales that coal executives cook up to try to justify keeping it on life support. The author states:

...just as there are alleged to be no atheists in foxholes, there are no free marketeers in dying industries.
Which brings us back to the US coal industry. It is instructive, as coal mining companies go bankrupt and coal plants shut down, to watch as industry leaders vigorously shed their purported free market principles in support of public assistance.

It would be laughable if it wasn't so harmful to the people of the U.S. Instead of letting this industry die out naturally, all sorts of machinations are going on behind the scenes. Carl Pope, former Sierra club director, describes ""The secret Cool Bailout", quoted in the article:

Pope tallies up the favors: allowing companies to dodge their pension and health care obligations to retirees; allowing them to “self-bond” and avoid paying to reclaim strip-mined land; allowing them to lease public land at beneath-market rates. By his back-of-the-napkin calculation, there’s something like $25 billion in largesse involved.

Most of that value is going to executives, as miners, retirees, and Appalachian coal communities bear the brunt. Democrats (including Hillary Clinton) have put forward plans to help those beleaguered communities, but they’ve been blocked in the Senate by Kentucky’s own Mitch McConnell. The GOP mostly likes miners as campaign props.

This is all quite disgusting. At least we have the consolation that this dirty fuel is on its way out.
 

Raleighaway k (358)
Sunday August 27, 2017, 11:54 pm
noted shared ty, Judy
 

Darren Woolsey (218)
Monday August 28, 2017, 12:16 am
Shared news article and analysis over social media to raise and spread awareness.
 

Kathy B (106)
Monday August 28, 2017, 12:19 pm
I don't feel the least sorry for the fossil fuel industries. They have to have known years ago that their days were numbered, but did they do anything smart - like invest in clean energy technology? Not so much.
 

Bonnie Lynn M (1)
Tuesday August 29, 2017, 7:20 pm
Thank you
 

W. C (7)
Wednesday August 30, 2017, 8:01 am
Thanks.
 

Judy C (91)
Wednesday August 30, 2017, 9:30 pm
Actually, Kathy, quite a few fossil fuel companies are investing in clean energy. They see the writing on the wall, although they aren't running around publicizing it. They want to make money, no matter what.
 

Ian Crory (31)
Thursday August 31, 2017, 11:18 am
:)
 

Sheryl G (359)
Thursday August 31, 2017, 5:18 pm
Seriously. He wants Trump to make it temporarily illegal to close a coal plant. That’s beyond a subsidy. It’s practically Soviet!

Naturally, Trump was all for it

But the GOP were all up in the air about Bernie Sanders and his socialism. Both Bernie and the Green Party had some wonderful ideas on how to transfer away from the coal industry. Sure some govt money was to be spent but it was going to be spent on training the workers how to do other work in a green economy.

It was suggested that anyone that was 5 years away from retirement be given their pay for those 5 years to cover them until their retirement kicked in. Basically a govt paid pension to tie them over as teaching a new skill they would not be able to use long wasn't as effective as teaching the younger ones with more time to use it. But didn't want to just toss those people out.

There was going to be some type of WPA or CCC program brought into coal area, that would also put not only the coal miners to work, but others to work as well, cleaning up areas from pollution or neglect, doing insulation in public buildings and elders homes, creating parks and playgrounds. It would have infused the area with jobs and an economy.

We know what works......the idiots just refuse to do it if it doesn't help the Elites.
 

Hartson Doak (39)
Friday September 1, 2017, 9:56 am
18th Century tech dying from 21st Century tech.
 

Kathryn I (2)
Monday September 4, 2017, 1:40 pm
Noted - One's health over a paycheck! Thanks
 
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