Chalk up another 500 to the list of jobs President Obama will need to create or save.Now it is not just environmental groups that have caused CONSOL to cut jobs, such an explanation would be simplistic.
A Pittsburgh-based coal company, CONSOL Energy, will lay off nearly 500 of its West Virginia workers next year and its CEO blames environmentalists dead-set against mountaintop mining who have waged “nuisance” lawsuits for the job loss.
But CONSOL Energy’s political problems are not unique to the mining industry, which has suffered under the Obama Administration. The Environmental Protection Agency is already holding 79 surface mining permits in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. The EPA says these permits could violate the Clean Water Act and warrant "enhanced" review. And, agency went even further in October, announcing plans to revoke a permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia.
CEO Nicholas J. DeIuliis said the poor economy compounded by legal challenges by environmental activists forced CONSOL to slash jobs.
"It is challenging enough to operate our coal and gas assets in the current economic downturn without having to contend with a constant stream of activism in rehashing and reinterpreting permit applications that have already been approved or in the inequitable oversight of our operations,” he said in a statement. “Customers will grow reluctant to deal with energy producers they perceive are unable to guarantee a reliable supply due to regulatory uncertainty. It inhibits the ability to remain competitive."
But if you read between the lines of both this story and the recent efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency promulgating rules that declare, for the first time ever, carbon dioxide as a pollutant. That is right, everyone who is living and breathing is a polluter, even while you are sleeping. For those of you who have forgotten your basic biology, we breath in oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide. A quick review of botany--plants breath in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen. Seems to work well for us.
But when carbon dioxide is declared a pollutant, it will limit the abilty of energy companies like CONSOL or other companies that fuel our power hungry society. A full sixty percent of America's power useage is fed by coal fired power plants. That's right, 3 out of every 5 megawatts of power is done by the use of coal, which when burned to power the turbines that generate the power emits carbon dioxide.
So where will America get its power? Alternative energy? There aren't enough windmills in America to power the nation. Solar-not nearly as efficient as being touted--although admittedly it is far superior to what it was 20 years ago.
Now nuclear energy is terrific, but the same environmentalist who hate coal power plants also hate nuclear energy. The spector of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and The China Syndrome is simply too great despite the record of nuclear energy and the efficiency and cleanliness of nuclear energy.
So my question to the environmental lobby is this? Where does it end? What is the proper balance between human needs and protection of the environment? Can that be explained to me?
Being green is a luxury of being rich, if we are no longer rich, what then?