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In Defense Of Coal

  • Apr 24, 2018
Daily News-Record

It has been pointed out that many of the miners who lost jobs because of former President Barack Obama's war on coal and affordable electricity will never go back to digging coal, regardless of how energetic new President Donald Trump is in reversing the assault.

That is true enough. For one thing, many power plants that once burned coal were scrapped and replaced by gas-fired units.

Utilities will not say goodbye to that investment merely to build costly new coal-fired units.

But Trump can and should do more than put a stop to the government's attempts to shut down mines and coal-fired power plants. There is another side to the equation.

It is billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to the wind- and solar-power industries, combined with withdrawal of funding for clean coal technology.

Requiring many solar- and wind-power generating stations to operate without subsidies would doom them.

They cannot compete on a level playing field.

On the other hand, with reasonable funding of clean coal research, new methods of burning that fuel in an environmentally acceptable way can be found.

The Obama administration had no intention of helping to keep coal a viable energy source. The president and ultra-liberals surrounding him wanted to kill coal.

Trump already has done much to roll back the war on coal. Good for him for keeping that promise.

Now, he should turn to restoring the level playing field that is all miners ever wanted.

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Richard Ford's picture
Richard Ford on Apr 27, 2018

A level playing field would mean a carbon tax that is proportional to carbon dioxide emissions from all sources.  Present and future technology will make it possible to reduce energy use by at least half.  Coal would have a hard time competing with energy conservation.  You don't like new taxes?  In effect, we already have a carbon tax in the form of hundreds of programs designed to subsidize various technologies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Let's see if buying $200,000 Tesla Roadsters or so-called clean coal can then compete with other ways of reducing emissions.  

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