Coal Is Still Dead

I’ve read enough articles about cheap natural gas supplanting coal to conclude that these folks right here are morons:

WAYNESBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – When Mike Sylvester entered a career training center earlier this year in southwestern Pennsylvania, he found more than one hundred federally funded courses covering everything from computer programming to nursing.

He settled instead on something familiar: a coal mining course.

”I think there is a coal comeback,” said the 33-year-old son of a miner.

Despite broad consensus about coal’s bleak future, a years-long effort to diversify the economy of this hard-hit region away from mining is stumbling, with Obama-era jobs retraining classes undersubscribed and future programs at risk under President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget.

Trump has promised to revive coal by rolling back environmental regulations and moved to repeal Obama-era curbs on carbon emissions from power plants.

“I have a lot of faith in President Trump,” Sylvester said.

You, sir, are an idiot and I am tired of being asked to feel sorry for you.

Coal is not coming back. Certainly not in any significant way. Definitely not in any long-term, community-building way. It’s that free-hand-of-the-market thing you guys are always yammering on about. Technology has made other energy sources cheaper. It’s not environmentalists and tree huggers doing this (last I checked, those folks were pretty staunchly against fracking), it’s just good ol’ fashioned economics.

So. Read the writing on the wall:

“production levels remain near lows hit in 1978”

… and take advantage of the help being sent your way. Or, don’t:

“…120 people have signed up for jobs retraining outside the mines, far short of the target of 700…”


“I can’t even get them to show up for free food I set up in the office,” said Dave Serock, an ex-miner who recruits in Fayette County for Southwest Training Services.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people? Is this nostalgia for days gone by? Republicans are going to cut funding for all of these job training programs. Now is the time to take advantage of the help being offered because it will be gone next year. The turd in the White House does not give a shit about “coal country” or workers beyond using their plight to stoke further divisions in the country. Wake the hell up.


Filed under clean coal, energy policy, energy production

10 responses to “Coal Is Still Dead

  1. democommie

    I would like to learn a skill that’s marketable. Are they offering courses in scrimshandery, whalebone corset or buggy whip making?

    The burnin’stoopit in people like that is hotter than the eternal flame that burns beneath Centralia. He should consider going there and seeing if the gummint will help him build a “Hell Park” to show sinners who don’t LIKE JEEZUZ what happens when they die!

  2. themadkansan

    …These people could give mules lessons in pigheadedness. ~:(

  3. CB

    I’ve read recently that one of the reasons for this stubbornness, which the rest of us consider mind-numbing, is that coal jobs still pay about $26 an hour. Alternative energy jobs, by comparison, pay about $16 an hour.

    I’m sorry that they’ve allowed themselves to be so thoroughly hoodwinked. Evidently, there are not enough people that the coal community knows and respects available to tell them to get the hell out, while the gettin’ is good. It’s not just the message, it’s the messenger, often enough.

    A young friend of mine — she and her brother and my kids grew up together in the same Buffalo neighborhood — is married to a former coal miner. When he was still mining, I would see messages from her, reaching out to her Facebook community for comfort and assurance because it had been 5 hours since his shift was supposed to end, and she hadn’t heard from him. When you live in coal country, the reasons for being late home from work are most likely far different than when you live in an urban area. For her sake, and her kids, I’m glad he got out. They’ve since moved from W. Va. back to Buffalo, where he landed a job in the auto industry. Socioeconomics is sometimes circular that way.

    • Yeah, they mentioned that in the article I linked to. What coal jobs there are pay well .. and there are usually benefits, thanks to the United Mine Workers. The others (not just alternative energy but any other job these folks are being retrained for) pay a lot less, often there isn’t a union so no health insurance, etc. But unemployment pays even less, so …

      • CB

        It’s a tough calculus for a family with young kids to make. Some of them likely think, “I’ll make this money as long as I can, then think about something else.”

        … and you could still end up dead in a mine.

  4. democommie

    You know what’s a really shitty move for coal miners and anybody else who works for a living? Voting R.

  5. I will never forget the video produced by the two guys rowing a canoe in the deadly, toxic sludge created by a spill in the Tennessee waterway. I’m sure that it only gets harder and harder to find with the passage of time. But I did find it about three years ago.

    If every American could see that video…

    There would still be dumbfucks that supported clean coal!

    Hey Demo. Shout out Bros

    • democommie

      Right back atcha!!

      If anyone has time and energy there’s some serious shit slinging goes on over to “Friendly Atheist” these days. Since I got booted off of Dispatches I spend too much time there. Some good commenters and lotza trollz.