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Rick Manning
NetRight Daily
August 15, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency has been a lightning rod for controversy during the Obama Administration as they have pushed the applications of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to their limits in seeking to control all land use across the nation.

One area that hasn’t received as much scrutiny, but reeks of old-style influence peddler politics is the Agency’s escalation of sue and settle cases to change the law through federal court decree operating hand in hand with radical environmentalist groups that are willing participants in the scam.

Numerous media reports have focused upon the revolving door between the EPA and various environmentalist groups with hundreds officials reportedly moving back and forth between environmental agencies and those that lobby them.  The latest is Alfredo Armendariz, who resigned after a two year old video emerged of him explaining to environmental groups that the EPA’s enforcement policies compared favorably with those of the Roman Empire where they would crucify someone in a newly conquered town to create the necessary fear in the citizenry.

Now Armendariz is working with the Sierra Club on their anti-coal campaign, in just one more example of the cozy relationship between the advocacy groups and the government that they lobby.

And it is these very relationships that are at the heart of the sue and settle controversy enveloping the Obama Administration.  Here is how it works:

An organization sues the EPA demanding that they apply the law in a new, expanded way that increases the agency’s jurisdiction.  The EPA, rather than defending the actual law, enters into a contractual relationship known as a consent decree with the party who filed the original lawsuit.  A judge signs the consent decree without review, since the two disputing parties are in “agreement.”  And the EPA suddenly has expanded powers to wield its enforcement cudgel against people and job creators who were previously outside their grasp.

Shockingly, U.S. taxpayers are then required, under federal law, to pay off the attorneys of the organization which engaged in this power grab scam.

Americans for Limited Government filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in May, 2012 (amended on June 14) to get to the bottom of one such sue and settle created regulation dealing with coal-ash.

The request simply asks for all communications between the EPA’s Offices, which entered into the legal agreement, and the eleven groups which sued the Agency including the Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Change Network and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Not surprisingly, the EPA is stonewalling the request demanding that the costs of compiling the data be paid for by Americans for Limited Government in spite of the fact that the group has followed the exact procedures under the law which dictate that the information should be provided free of charge.  Similar Americans for Limited Government FOIA requests have been delivered without fee by more than a dozen other federal government departments and agencies.  Yet, the EPA objects.

Ironically, the EPA’s National Freedom of Information Act Officer, Larry Gottesman testified before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee in 2010 stating, “EPA is committed to the letter and spirit of the Administration’s Open Government and Transparency goals.”

Apparently, that commitment does not extend to releasing information that promises to prove embarrassing to Obama and his hand in glove environmentalist advocacy group campaign to expand the EPA’s power through the dubious sue and settle process.

Gottesman’s attempts to stop the release of the communications between those who sued the EPA and the Agency which is supposed to defend the law, raises the following questions:

Is the National FOIA officer being coerced by Obama political appointees to stop the release of damaging information until after the November election?

What emails and other communications are so damaging that this career official would risk his reputation to keep them out of the public eye?

What communications have occurred related to the stonewalling of the original standard FOIA request?

The irony should not be lost that while the EPA lectures the rest of America on clean air, their own legal shenanigans are shrouded by a thick stench of obstructionism.

It’s time for America to know if the EPA is colluding with environmental radicals to manipulate the legal system with a promise that the radicals will get paid for their efforts through taxpayer funds.

It’s time for the EPA to come clean by releasing the communications between itself and the eleven organizations whose lawsuit led to the new proposed coal-ash regulations.

And it’s time for the EPA to disinfect their festering reputation as nothing more than a radical environmental advocacy organization with draconian enforcement powers rather than an even handed government agency.

Rick Manning is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government

Read the article online at NetRight Daily


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Republican National Committee
August 14th, 2012

While Campaigning For President In 2008, Barack Obama Said That His Program Would Bankrupt Coal-Powered Plants. OBAMA: "So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can - it's just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted." (Sen. Barack Obama, Interview With The San Francisco Chronicle's Editorial Board, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/17/08)

Obama's Running Mate, Joe Biden Made Their Platform Clear In 2008 Telling A Crowd, "No Coal Plants Here In America." (Joe Biden, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Maumee, OH, 9/16/08)


After Endorsing Obama In 2008, The United Mine Workers Of America Has Decided Not To Endorse Obama In 2012. "After giving then-Sen. Barack Obama a full-throttled endorsement in the 2008 presidential election, the United Mine Workers of America has decided not to endorse either Obama or the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, in 2012." (Amy Harder, "Coal Miners' Union Sits Out Presidential Race," National Journal, 8/9/12)

    •    Mike Caputo, " A UMWA Official And A Democratic Member Of The West Virginia House Of Delegates," Said He "Couldn't Remember A Time UMWA Did Not Endorse A Presidential Candidate." "The 54-year-old Caputo, who grew up across the street from a coal plant near Fairmont in central West Virginia and has been in the coal industry virtually his whole life, said he couldn't remember a time UMWA did not endorse a presidential candidate. Caputo is a vice president on the UMWA's International Executive Board." (Amy Harder, "Coal Miners' Union Sits Out Presidential Race," National Journal, 8/9/12)

Caputo Said "Politically, The EPA Is The Culprit For The Coal Industry's Woes" And "The Coal Industry's Disgruntlement With Obama Is Plastered On Yard Signs And Billboards." "But politically, the EPA is the culprit for the coal industry's woes. Throughout Appalachia where Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia converge, the coal industry's disgruntlement with Obama is plastered on yard signs and billboards." (Amy Harder, "Coal Miners' Union Sits Out Presidential Race," National Journal, 8/9/12)

    •    Caputo Said The Union's Leaders Have "Sent A Clear Message That They're Not Supportive Of The Environmental Rules That Are Being Put In Place." "'Our members count on coal-fired power plants and burning of coal to keep jobs,' Caputo said. 'We're a very Democratic union and we try to listen to the rank and file. They've sent a clear message that they're not supportive of the environmental rules that are being put in place.'" (Amy Harder, "Coal Miners' Union Sits Out Presidential Race," National Journal, 8/9/12)

    •    "One Billboard Alongside A Freeway" Says "The Obama Administration's No Jobs Zone" And Some Yard Signs "Juxtapose The Word 'Coal' With 'Fire Obama.'" "One billboard alongside a freeway near the Pennsylvania and West Virginia border said drivers were entering 'The Obama administration's no jobs zone.' The billboard was sponsored by a coal-industry group, the Federation for American Coal, Energy, and Security (FACES of Coal). Yard signs seen along back roads and throughout towns juxtapose the word 'coal' with 'fire Obama.'" (Amy Harder, "Coal Miners' Union Sits Out Presidential Race," National Journal, 8/9/12)

UMWA President Cecil Roberts: "The Navy SEALs Shot Osama Bin Laden In Pakistan And [EPA Administrator] Lisa Jackson Shot Us In Washington." "'The Navy SEALs shot Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,' Roberts said on a West Virginia radio show in April." (Amy Harder, "Coal Miners' Union Sits Out Presidential Race," National Journal, 8/9/12)

    •    Roberts Endorsed Obama Four Years Ago, Saying That Obama "Understands That Coal Will Remain A Primary Source For Electricity Generation In This Country For Many Decades To Come." "Roberts's comments illustrate how much has changed in just four years. In his ringing endorsement of Obama in 2008, Roberts said that Obama 'understands that coal will remain a primary source for electricity generation in this country for many decades to come.'" (Amy Harder, "Coal Miners' Union Sits Out Presidential Race," National Journal, 8/9/12)

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D-WV): "This Latest Announcement Is Yet Another Example Of The EPA's Inappropriate Use Of Its Regulatory Authority To Set Policy For Our Country... [W]e Should Be Working To Make Our Country More Energy Independent And Create Jobs, Not Harm Them." ("Sen. Manchin: EPA Fully Engaged In A War On Coal," The Herald-Dispatch, 3/27/12)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Condemned The Obama Administration's "Attempts To Destroy Our Coal Industry And Way Of Life In West Virginia." "Announcing the suit against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Manchin, a Democrat, condemned what he called the Obama administration's 'attempts to destroy our coal industry and way of life in West Virginia.'" (Erik Eckholm, "West Virginia Sues U.S. Over Mining Restrictions," The New York Times, 10/7/10)

Virginia State Sen. Phillip Puckett (D-Lebanon): "It's Very Clear To Me That The Administration Does Not Support The Coal Industry In A Way That's Beneficial To Our Area. So, I Don't Plan To Support President Obama For Re-Election." (George Jackson, "VA Sen. Phillip Puckett Says He Will Not Support Obama In 2012," WJHL, 9/22/11)

    •    Puckett: "He Doesn't Listen To Me, And Quite Frankly He Wasn't My Choice For The Democratic Nomination." (George Jackson, "VA Sen. Phillip Puckett Says He Will Not Support Obama In 2012," WJHL, 9/22/11)


The EPA's Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Requires Coal And Oil Fired Power Plants To Reduce Pollutant Emissions By Requiring Lower Mercury And Other Toxic Emissions. "That change, called the Maximum Achievable Control Technology, or MACT, rule requires that coal- and oil-fired power plants reduce pollutant emission rates significantly. The rule, which operates under the Clean Air Act, does not stipulate a lower level of carbon output. But by requiring lower mercury and other toxic emissions, it would reduce carbon as well." (Lisa Desjardins, "The War Over Coal Is Personal," CNN, 7/17/12)

According To The Electric Power Research Institute, One In Five Coal Plants May Be Too Costly To Retrofit With The Required Pollution Control Technology. "Across the nation, one in five coal power plants may be too costly to retrofit to reduce air pollutants such as mercury, according to the Electric Power Research Institute." (David Shaffer, "Minnesota Ponders Fate Of Aging Coal-Burning Power Plants," Star Tribune, 8/8/12)

111 Coal Power Plants Closed From 2009-2012 . "But in the past two years, an increasing number of coal-powered electricity plants across the country have announced closures. Estimates vary, but banking and industry analysis firm Credit Suisse put expected and known closures for 2009-2012 at 111 plants, that's one-fifth of the nation's nearly 500 coal plants." (Lisa Desjardins, "The War Over Coal Is Personal," CNN, 7/17/12)

Energy Information Administration Expects 175 Coal-Fired Generators To Retire Between 2012 And 2016. "Plant owners and operators report to EIA that they expect to retire almost 27 gigawatts (GW) of capacity from 175 coal-fired generators between 2012 and 2016. In 2011, there were 1,387 coal-fired generators in the United States, totaling almost 318 GW. The 27 GW of retiring capacity amounts to 8.5% of total 2011 coal-fired capacity." ("27 Gigawatts Of Coal-Fired Capacity To Retire over The Next Five Years," Energy Information Administration, 7/27/12)

    •    EIA : "Coal-Fired Capacity Retirements Expected To Occur in 2012 Will Likely Be The Largest One-Year Amount In The Nation's History." "The coal-fired capacity expected to be retired over the next five years is more than four times greater than retirements performed during the preceding five-year period (6.5 GW). Moreover, based on EIA data, the approximate 9 GW of coal-fired capacity retirements expected to occur in 2012 will likely be the largest one-year amount in the nation's history." ("27 Gigawatts Of Coal-Fired Capacity To Retire over The Next Five Years," Energy Information Administration, 7/27/12)

    •    "Most Of The Coal-Fired Generator Retirements Will Occur In The Mid-Atalntic, Ohio River Valley And The Southeast." (Michael Bastasch, "Record Number Of Coal-Fired Generators To Be Shut Down in 2012," Daily Caller, 7/28/12)

EPA Regulations Are Estimated To Cut Total Coal Employment By 1.4 Million Job-Years Between 2011 And 2020. "An estimated 60,000 Americans work in coal-fired power plants. These are high-productivity jobs because the employees work with large amounts of capital. Electricity generated by coal takes just 0.18 employees per megawatt of plant capacity. Coal-fired power plant jobs pay high wages because their employees are skilled. Yet new EPA regulations are estimated to cut total coal employment by 1.4 million job-years between 2011 and 2020." (Andrew P. Morriss, "EPA Foolishly Seeks To Destroy Nation's Coal Industry," McClatchyDC, 8/2/12)

    •    A Typical Coal Miner In The United States Earns $73,000 A Year According To The National Mining Association. "Third, the coal industry is a significant source of jobs. The typical coal miner earns $73,000 a year, says the National Mining Association, which represents the mining industry in Washington." (Andrew P. Morriss, "EPA Foolishly Seeks To Destroy Nation's Coal Industry," McClatchyDC, 8/2/12)


In Ohio, OhioAmerican Energy, Inc., A Subsidiary Of Murray Energy, Announced The Closure Its Coal Mining Operations Citing Obama And His Appointees As The Reason. "OhioAmerican Energy, Inc. ("OhioAmerican"), a Subsidiary Of Murray Energy Corporation ("Murray Energy"), today announced the closure of its coal mining operations near Brilliant, Jefferson County, Ohio. Regulatory Actions By President Barack Obama And His Appointees And Followers Were Cited As The Entire Reason. 'Mr. Obama has already destroyed 83,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity generation in America,' said Mr. Michael T.W. Carey, Vice President of Government Affairs for Murray Energy. 'Electric Prices in the recent PJM Interconnection monthly auction were bid up 800 percent (8 times) for 2015-2016 because of this,' he added." (Press Release, "OhioAmerican Energy, Inc. Coal Mining Operation Closed In Eastern Ohio," Murray Energy, 7/31/12)

    •    The Obama Administration Has Destroyed 2,868 Jobs In Eastern Ohio. "'At its peak, OhioAmerican employed 239 local people in high-paying, well-benefited jobs,' said Mr. Stanley T. Piasecki, General Manager and Superintendent. 'University studies show that our Mines can create up to eleven (11) secondary jobs in our communities, for store clerks, teachers, etc., to serve our direct employees. Thus, if one uses the eleven (11) to one (1) multiplier, the Obama Administration has destroyed 2,868 jobs in eastern Ohio with this forced Mine closure,' stated Mr. Piasecki." (Press Release, "OhioAmerican Energy, Inc. Coal Mining Operation Closed In Eastern Ohio," Murray Energy, 7/31/12)
In Ohio, The Ohio Valley Coal Company Recently Announced The Elimination Of 29 Hourly Jobs At Its Powhattan No. 6 Mine Citing "Regulatory Excess Of The Obama Administration As A Direct Cause Of The Layoffs." "The Ohio Valley Coal Company announced Friday it has been forced to reduce its workforce at the Powhatan No. 6 Mine in Belmont County, Ohio. According to a news release 29 hourly jobs will be cut. The company cites regulatory excess of the Obama Administration as a direct cause to the layoffs."(Colin Lawler, "Ohio Valley Coal Co. Announces Layoffs," WTRF, 7/21/12)

    •    General Manager Ronald Koontz: The Obama Administration's War On Coal Is "Seeking To Destroy The Coal Industry And The Jobs Of Our Own Employees And The Livelihoods Of Their Families." "Announcing the reduction of 29 jobs at its Powhatan No. 6 Mine in Belmont County, Ohio, General Manager Ronald Koontz attacked the Obama administration for a 'war on coal seeking to destroy the coal industry and the jobs of our own employees and the livelihoods of their families.'" (Erich Schwartzel, "Two Coal Companies Downsize," Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 7/20/12)

In Ohio, FirstEnergy Will Begin Downsizing Its Bay Shore Plant In September; Eventually 73 Workers Will Lose Their Jobs. "Electric utility FirstEnergy Corp., Toledo Edison's parent firm, said this week it will begin its planned downsizing of the Bay Shore plant in Oregon on Sept. 1 by permanently laying off workers. The number of workers to be laid off eventually will total 73." ("Layoffs To Begin Sept. 1 At Bay Shore Plant," Toledo Blade, 7/20/12)

    •    First Energy Is Retiring Three Coal-Fired Generators Because Of Federal Environmental Standards Put In Place Late Last Year. "FirstEnergy said in January it would retire three coal-fired generators at Bay Shore because of federal environmental standards put in place late last year. A fourth generator that burns pet coke supplied by the nearby BP-Husky refinery will keep producing electricity and retain 81 jobs." ("Layoffs To Begin Sept. 1 At Bay Shore Plant," Toledo Blade, 7/20/12)
In Ohio, GenOn Energy Will Close Its Avon Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant In 2015 Due To "Insufficient Returns" As A Result Of EPA Regulations. "GenOn Energy is moving forward with its plan to close the Avon Lake power plant in April 2015. According to an email from GenOn spokesman Mark Baird, after more review of the viability of adding additional controls to bring the plant into conformity with EPA regulations, 'forecasted returns are insufficient.'" (Cheryl Higley, "GenOn On Track With Closing Plant In Avon Lake," The Plain Dealer, 4/6/12)


In Virginia, "The Future Is Uncertain" For Coal. "Virginia's coal is primarily found in the far southwestern region, which is laden with the low-sulfur, cleaner-burning variety. Even so, the local industry is feeling the heat from Washington, D.C. 'The future is uncertain,' John Belcher, executive director of the Virginia Mining Association, said from his office in Norton. 'It's all up in the air, depending on the regulations.'" (Kenric Ward, "Climate Regulations Leaving Virginia Coal Out In The Cold," The Examiner, 8/12/12)

    •    By 2015, Appalachian Power Will Close Their Two Remaining Coal-Fired Plants In Virginia. "Appalachian Power, which provides electricity to much of western and southwest Virginia, said the effects of tighter rules dating from the Bush administration have changed the energy climate and driven up costs.By 2015, the company will close its two remaining coal-fired plants in the state - Clinch River and Glen Lyn - and convert two units at Clinch River to run on natural gas." (Kenric Ward, "Climate Regulations Leaving Virginia Coal Out In The Cold," The Examiner, 8/12/12)

    •    Dominion Virginia Power Has Plans To Shut Down Coal-Fired Plants In Yorktown And Chesapeake. "Dominion Virginia Power, another major electric utility serving Virginia, also plans to shut down its coal-fired plants at Yorktown and Chesapeake. The two facilities have a combined capacity to generate 1,189 megawatts." (Kenric Ward, "Climate Regulations Leaving Virginia Coal Out In The Cold," The Examiner, 8/12/12)


Black Hills Corp. (BHC) Has Announced Its Utility Subsidiaries Black Hills Energy - Colorado Electric And Black Hills Power Are Suspending Operations At Some Of The Company's Coal Fired Power Plants. "Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) today announced that utility subsidiaries Black Hills Energy - Colorado Electric and Black Hills Power are suspending operations at some of the company's older coal-fired and natural-gas-fired facilities this year." (Press Release, "Black Hills Corp. To Suspend Operations Of Older Coal-Fired Generation Facilities," Black Hills Corporation , 8/6/12)

Colorado Electric's W.N. Clark Coal-Fired Power Plant In Cañon City, Colorado Is Set To Suspend Operations At The End Of 2012. "Colorado Electric's W.N. Clark coal-fired power plant in Cañon City, Colo. and natural-gas-fired steam units 5 & 6 in Pueblo, Colo. are set to suspend operations at year-end 2012." (Press Release, "Black Hills Corp. To Suspend Operations Of Older Coal-Fired Generation Facilities," Black Hills Corporation , 8/6/12)

    •    12 Employees Will Lose Their Jobs When The Plant Closes. "Black Hills Energy says it will close the W.N. Clark plant in Canon City by the end of the year. With operations coming to an end, 12 employees will lose their jobs." (David Ortiviz, "Canon City Coal-Fired Plant To Close By Year End," KOAA, 8/8/12)


In Pennsylvania, "PBS Coals Inc. And Its Affiliate Company, RoxCoal Inc., Laid Off About 225 Workers As Part Of An Immediate Idling Of Some Deep And Surface Mines In Somerset County." "PBS Coals Inc. and its affiliate company, RoxCoal Inc., laid off about 225 workers as part of an immediate idling of some deep and surface mines in Somerset County. The company now employs 795 workers." (Eric Schwartzel, "Two Coal Companies Downsize," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/20/12)

    •    PBS Coals' President And CEO Cited Escalating Costs And Uncertainty From Obama's EPA Regulations. "In a statement, PBS President and CEO D. Lynn Shanks said foreign and domestic markets were seeing softened demand for coal. 'Additionally, the escalating costs and uncertainty generated by recently advanced EPA regulations and interpretations have created a challenging business climate for the entire coal industry,' he said in the statement." (Eric Schwartzel, "Two Coal Companies Downsize," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/20/12)

In Pennsylvania, GenOn Energy, Inc. Will Close Three Coal-Fired Power Plants Because Of Onerous Federal Regulations. "GenOn Energy Inc. will shut down eight power plants over the next three years, three of them old, coal-burning power plants in Western Pennsylvania: at Elrama in northern Washington County, Shawville in Clearfield County and near New Castle in Lawrence County. The Houston-based power company announced the power plant deactivations Wednesday as part of its 2011 earnings report, blaming economics and federal environmental regulations requiring installation of pollution control equipment." (Don Hopey, "Off Switch Hit For Power Plants," The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/1/12)

    •    Closing Will Cost 180 Pennsylvania Jobs. "[T]he three Western Pennsylvania plant closures will result in a loss of 180 jobs - 60 at Elrama, 40 at New Castle and 80 at Shawville. All of those workers, as well as workers at other power plants scheduled to close, can apply for job openings at other GenOn power plants, he said." (Don Hopey, "Off Switch Hit For Power Plants," The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/1/12)


In Missouri, Patriot Coal Voluntarily Filed For Reorganization Under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. "Patriot Coal Corporation (NYSE: PCX), a producer and marketer of coal products in the eastern United States, announced today that Patriot and substantially all of its wholly owned subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. " (Press Release, "Patriot Coal Files For Chapter 11 Reorganization To Improve The Company's Long-Term Prospects," Patriot Coal, 7/9/12)


In Indiana, Indianapolis Power & Light Has Sent Out Requests For Proposals To Replace Electricity Generated At Its Coal-Burning Eagle Valley Plant. "The Indianapolis Power and Light Co. has sent out requests for proposals to replace the electricity now being generated by the coal-burning Eagle Valley station just north of Martinsville." (Charlie Miller, "Eagle Valley Power Plant To Close By 2016," Herald Times, 7/9/12)

    •    Eagle Valley Will Be Retired By 2016 And 100 Employees Will Lose Their Jobs. "According to IPL plans, the Eagle Valley plant will be retired by 2016. There are now about 100 employees at Eagle Valley, which began its operation in 1949. IPL also plans on shutting down several similar generating units at the company's Harding Street station in Indianapolis." (Charlie Miller, "Eagle Valley Power Plant To Close By 2016," Herald Times, 7/9/12)

West Virginia

In West Virginia, Arch Coal Will Close Plants In Webster And Nicholas Counties Costing 19 Percent Of Their West Virginia Jobs. "The Eastern Complex near Cowen in Webster County, W.Va. is also falling to cuts. Arch Coal says 19 percent of their West Virginia jobs will be lost in this cut." ("Arch Coal Cutting 750 Mine Jobs In Appalachia," WSAZ News Channel, 7/22/12)

    •    With Two Surface Mines And One Underground Mine, The Eastern Complex Employees 160 West Virginians. "Arch Coal did not provide a complete breakdown of the job losses, but the sites where production was to be curtailed included the company's Eastern Complex, which lists mines in Webster and Nicholas counties. The Eastern Complex reported about 160 employees at two surface mines and one underground mine, but the underground mine was listed in non-producing status starting in March, according to federal records." (Ken Ward, Jr., "Arch Coal Announces 750 More Mining Layoffs," The Charleston Gazette, 6/21/12)

    •    Arch Coal Attributes Necessity To Idle Equipment And Reduce Shift Work To "Current Market Pressures And A Challenging Regulatory Environment." "In a prepared statement, Arch Coal cited 'the unprecedented downturn in demand for coal-based electricity' as the reason for its moves. 'Current market pressures and a challenging regulatory environment have pushed coal consumption in the United States to a 20-year low,' said John W. Eaves, Arch's president and chief executive. 'In response, we had previously streamlined capital spending, idled equipment and reduced shift work,' Eaves said." (Ken Ward, Jr., "Arch Coal Announces 750 More Mining Layoffs," The Charleston Gazette, 6/21/12)

In West Virginia, Consol Energy Is Laying Off 318 Coal Miners, "Citing Pressure From Federal Environmental Regulators." "At the same time Consol Energy is ramping up its natural gas drilling efforts, company officials are laying off 318 West Virginia coal miners, citing pressure from federal environmental regulators." (Casey Junkins, "Coal Jobs Cut; Consol, Others Scaling Back," The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register , 7/8/12)

In West Virginia, Alpha Natural Resources Will Permanently Close Two Mines And A Coal Preparation Plant, Laying Off 100 People And Transferring 80 Jobs. "Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources, which acquired Massey Energy last year, is permanently closing two mines and a coal preparation plant in Logan County, while reducing some other southern West Virginia. There will be about 100 people laid off, with another 80 workers transferring to other Alpha job sites." (Casey Junkins, "Coal Jobs Cut; Consol, Others Scaling Back," The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register , 7/8/12)

    •    Alpha Natural Resources Along With Two Other Companies "Blame The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency For Causing A downturn In Coal Demand." "Consol is not alone in reducing its coal operations in West Virginia, as Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources also announced recently plans to cut back their work forces throughout the Mountain State. All three companies blame the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for causing a downturn in coal demand, citing this as the reason for reducing their coal operations." (Casey Junkins, "Coal Jobs Cut; Consol, Others Scaling Back," The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register , 7/8/12)


In Kentucky, Coal Layoffs Abound: 52 Employees Lost Their Jobs At Enterprise Mining, 109 At Xinergy Corp.'s Straight Creek Mine, And 160 At Sapphire Coal. "Coal employment had held steady or even grown in some Eastern Kentucky counties the past few years, but a wave of layoff announcements started early this year and just kept coming: Fifty-two people at Enterprise Mining's surface operation in Knott County on Feb. 3. Two weeks later, 109 at Xinergy Corp.'s Straight Creek mine in Bell County. In April, 160 at Sapphire Coal in Letcher County." (Bill Estep, "Coal Industry Sheds Jobs, Leaving Eastern Kentucky Economy In Tatters," McClatchy, 7/29/12)

In Kentucky, Arch Coal Will Lay Off Nearly 600 People, 79 Percent Of Their Workforce In The State. "In Kentucky, 79 Percent of the Arch's employees will be laid off. The company says that is nearly 600 workers."("Arch Coal Cutting 750 Mine Jobs In Appalachia," WSAZ News Channel, 7/22/12)

    •    "The Rowdy Gap Mine In Hazard, Ky. Will Be Idled And 49 Employees Will Lose Their Jobs." ("Arch Coal Cutting 750 Mine Jobs In Appalachia," WSAZ News Channel, 7/22/12)
    •    "The Flint Ridge Complex In Clayhole Will Be Idled, Laying Off 131 Employees." ("Arch Coal Cutting 750 Mine Jobs In Appalachia," WSAZ News Channel, 7/22/12)
    •    "And The Entire Knott County And Raven Complexes In Kite Are Shutting Down, Impacting 259 Workers." ("Arch Coal Cutting 750 Mine Jobs In Appalachia," WSAZ News Channel, 7/22/12)


If I wanted America to fail

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Based on Paul Harvey's seminal essay, "If I were the devil," Free Market America's provocative video-letter to America rings with the same thoughtful intensity. "If I wanted America to fail" addresses the perilous side-effects of hitching our nation's economic well-being to the bandwagon of environmental extremism.

If I wanted America to fail

By Ryan Houck
Free Market America
April 9, 2012

If I wanted America to fail ...

To follow, not lead; to suffer, not prosper; to despair, not dream.

I would start with energy.

I'd cut off America's supply of cheap, abundant energy. I couldn't take it by force. So, I'd make Americans feel guilty for using the energy that heats their homes, fuels their cars, runs their businesses, and powers their economy.

I'd make cheap energy expensive, so that expensive energy would seem cheap.

I would empower unelected bureaucrats to all-but-outlaw America's most abundant sources of energy. And after banning its use in America, I'd make it illegal for American companies to ship it overseas.

If I wanted America to fail ...

I'd use our schools to teach one generation of Americans that our factories and our cars will cause a new Ice Age, and I'd muster a straight face so I could teach the next generation that they're causing Global Warming.

And when it's cold out, I'd call it Climate Change instead.

I'd imply that America's cities and factories could run on wind power and wishes. I'd teach children how to ignore the hypocrisy of condemning logging, mining and farming — while having roofs over their heads, heat in their homes and food on their tables. I would never teach children that the free market is the only force in human history to uplift the poor, establish the middle class and create lasting prosperity.

Instead, I'd demonize prosperity itself, so that they will not miss what they will never have.

If I wanted America to fail ...

I would create countless new regulations and seldom cancel old ones. They would be so complicated that only bureaucrats, lawyers and lobbyists could understand them. That way small businesses with big ideas wouldn't stand a chance – and I would never have to worry about another Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs.

I would ridicule as "Flat Earthers" those who urge us to lower energy costs by increasing supply. And when the evangelists of commonsense try to remind people about the law of supply and demand, I'd enlist a sympathetic media to drown them out.

If I wanted America to fail ...

I would empower unaccountable bureaucracies seated in a distant capitol to bully Americans out of their dreams and their property rights. I'd send federal agents to raid guitar factories for using the wrong kind of wood; I'd force homeowners to tear down the homes they built on their own land.

I'd make it almost impossible for farmers to farm, miners to mine, loggers to log, and builders to build.

And because I don't believe in free markets, I'd invent false ones. I'd devise fictitious products—like carbon credits—and trade them in imaginary markets. I'd convince people that this would create jobs and be good for the economy.

If I wanted America to fail ...

For every concern, I'd invent a crisis; and for every crisis, I'd invent the cause; Like shutting down entire industries and killing tens of thousands of jobs in the name of saving spotted owls. And when everyone learned the stunning irony that the owls were victims of their larger cousins—and not people—it would already be decades too late.

If I wanted America to fail ...

I'd make it easier to stop commerce than start it – easier to kill jobs than create them – more fashionable to resent success than to seek it.

When industries seek to create jobs, I'd file lawsuits to stop them. And then I'd make taxpayers pay for my lawyers.

If I wanted America to fail ...

I would transform the environmental agenda from a document of conservation to an economic suicide pact. I would concede entire industries to our economic rivals by imposing regulations that cost trillions. I would celebrate those who preach environmental austerity in public while indulging a lavish lifestyle in private.

I'd convince Americans that Europe has it right, and America has it wrong.

If I wanted America to fail ...

I would prey on the goodness and decency of ordinary Americans.

I would only need to convince them ... that all of this is for the greater good.

If I wanted America to fail, I suppose I wouldn't change a thing.

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