Killing coal: The Obama Administration’s intentional assault on an industry

Once again, the elites play and the people pay

  • obma

coalminerBy now, most people are aware of President Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to bankrupt the coal industry—which he acknowledged would “necessarily” cause electricity to skyrocket. Seven years later, that is a campaign promise he is keeping.

Since moving into the White House, Obama has used bureaucratic weapons and administrative agencies to assault America’s coal industry. Between 2008 and 2012, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports 50,000 coal jobs were lost—that number would certainly be much greater today. West Virginia has been hit particularly hard with unemployment rates in double digits. Addressing the job losses, the Charleston Gazette-Mail blames the “liberal environmental policies that have accelerated coal’s decline”—which it says have left “hard working men and women” jobless.

In addition to the job losses, Obama’s policies—such as the Regional Haze rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, and the Clean Power Plan—have “helped spur the closing of dozens of coal plants across the country,” according to Politico. The November 2015 report states: “More than one in five coal-related jobs have disappeared during Obama’s presidency, and several major U.S. coal mining companies have announced this year that they would or may soon seek bankruptcy protection.”

On Monday, January 11, Arch Coal became the biggest domino to fall when it filed for archbankruptcy. Arch follows Walter Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, and Patriot Coal Corp.—all of which filed for bankruptcy in 2015. James River Coal went bankrupt in 2014. The WSJ says: “Over a quarter of U.S. coal production is now in bankruptcy, trying to reorganize to cope with prices that have fallen 50% since 2011.” As a result, a “record number of mines are for sale” and remaining workers are receiving lower wages. In hard-hit West Virginia, starting wages have been cut 50% in the past few years: from around $40 an hour to $20.

In 2008, Alpha Natural Resources, which filed for bankruptcy in August 2015, was offered a buyout at $128 a share. Today, Alpha, according to Fortune, has 8,900 employees but its stock is worthless. CNN Money states: “Since Obama took office in January 2009, shares of many coal companies have plummeted more than 90%.”

wycoalThe Obama Administration’s latest stab at killing coal is Friday’s, January 15, announcement of a federal-lands-leasing moratorium for coal mining. Bloomberg reports that “about 40% of U.S. coal now comes from federal land.” The announcement came just days after Obama’s State of the Union Address pledge “to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

In short, the plan is to halt federal leasing while the Department of Interior completes a “Programmatic Environment Impact Statement” that the agency says it can complete in 3 years—though government projects are seldom completed on schedule. The years-long process will include public review and participation under the National Environmental Policy Review Act. As a result, it is expected that companies will have to pay more to mine coal on public lands.

“With this latest regulatory assault,” Luke Popovich, Vice President of External Communications for the American Mining Association, told me, “Obama has ensured his legacy as the only President to destroy the industry that has done more than any other to keep American power costs the lowest in the industrialized world.”

While mining can continue under existing leases, and the pause will likely have minimal impact as interest in leasing has declined with many government lease sales only having a single bidder, it sends a clear signal regarding administrative assassination. Addressing Friday’s announcement, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, declared: “If there were any lingering questions about whether the Obama Administration is intent on decimating America’s coal industry, this should answer them.”

Bloomberg points out that the Obama Administration is “facing mounting calls from conservationists to thwart new fossil fuel development as part of the ‘keep it in the ground’ movement”—which Murkowski says is a “misguided” effort that “will harm local economies and threaten future energy supplies.”

In Wyoming, which supplies about 40% of the nation’s coal, the response to Friday’s announcement was swift. Wyoming Mining Association executive director Jonathan Downing said: “This is yet another salvo in the President’s efforts to kill the coal industry. He and his allies in the extreme environmental movement know full well that this measure will make federal coal uneconomical to mine, thereby locking up America’s most abundant and reliable source of electricity generation.”

meadGovernor Matt Mead’s comments include this harsh indictment: “It could not be more plain—in fact, it is starkly apparent—this Administration is no friend to coal when it flatly says there will be no new coal leases until some indefinite point in time.” His press release points out: “Wyoming coal producers pay: federal mineral royalty, Wyoming severance tax, Abandoned Mine Lands, Black Lung Tax, Ad Valorem Property, Ad Valorem Production, and Lease Bonus Application. The industry has an effective tax rate of 40%.  All of these revenue streams go to the public in various ways.”

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) released this statement: “When rural America says President Obama has contempt for their lives and livelihoods, they mean decisions like today’s announcement. A moratorium on federal coal leasing effectively hands a pink slip to the thousands of people in Wyoming and across the West employed in coal production.”

Wyoming is not the only western state impacted. Following the DOI announcement, – Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) released this statement: “These proposed rules are an attempt by this administration to shut down the industry as they pursue their War on Coal. There are North Dakota lease applications under review by the Bureau of Land Management and as a result of today’s announced pause of the leasing program they may not be approved. With approximately 15% of the coal in North Dakota classified as federal, making the federal coal program more restrictive will be very expensive and lead to job loss in coal country. To mine around federal coal is very expensive and could ultimately make a mine economically unfeasible.”

While the moratorium gives “a powerful tailwind to the industry’s downward trajectory,” as WyoFile’s editor-in-chief Dustin Bleizeffer calls it, the anti-fossil-fuel crowd—including billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer—“cheered the move.” Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has introduced legislation that would halt coal leasing on public lands altogether.

castroIn the Administration’s multi-front assault, no skirmish is too small; no agency is too far removed from the front lines to be involved. Any conceivable attack can be engaged. For example, on Friday, January 22, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a briefing “to further its 2016 statutory report project on environmental justice.” According to the press release, the 9:00 AM to 5:45 PM meeting, will “focus on the civil rights implications of the placement of coal ash disposal facilities near minority and low-income communities.” Commission Chairman Martin R. Castro explained: “We intend to shine a light on the civil rights implications of toxic coal ash, as well as other environmental conditions, on communities most in need of protection.”

Coal ash is frequently recycled and is an important component in concrete, brick, and dry wall. Its use is encouraged by green building advocates. In fact, concrete containing coal ash was used in the construction of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) headquarters in Washington, DC.

Panelists at the Civil Rights briefing include EPA’s Director of the office of Civil Rights, Velveta Golightly Howell and Associate Director of the Office of Environmental Justice Mustafa Ali. Additionally, representatives from Earth Justice, Waterkeepers Alliance, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy will participate.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is reportedly an “independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on Civil rights matters.”

While President Obama is currently calling the shots, if Hillary Clinton is elected the battle will intensify as her plans go further than his.

During her 2008 campaign, Clinton tried to help coal companies by “throwing incentives at them to clean up production.” But, the Huffington Post, addressing her $30 billion plan to aid communities where jobs have been destroyed by the intentional assault on the coal industry, clarifies her intent: “The new proposal heavily pushes coal communities away from the industry that has dominated their economy for roughly a century.”

In exchange for the economic losses coal communities will suffer through the “green economy she envisions,” the WSJ says her “programs are a mix of federal support to rebuild coal communities and aid to workers affected by the shifting energy economy.”

“Hard-working, able-bodied men and women who have lost their jobs,” however, “don’t want a handout from the very government that put them out of work.” The Gazette-Mail posits: “Surely most would rather return to the well-paying jobs they were forced out of.”

Mining communities aren’t fooled by the plan and see it as “nothing more than welfare”—calling it an attempt to “buy their support.” John Stilley, president of Amerikohl Mining in Butler, PA, quipped: “We do not want federal money to fund training for new jobs that pay half our current salaries.” According to Ed Yankovich, the United Mine Workers vice president for the district covering Pennsylvania and the Northeast, “Obama’s actions have alienated those who work in the industry from Democrats in general.” He told Politico: “People look at these folks and say, ‘they’ve completely abandoned us, it’s like we don’t live in America.’ There’s a bitterness about it.”

The assault on the coal industry pleases affluent progressive funders and then taxes all Americans for the re-education aimed at buying the support of the workers who used to have well-paying  jobs—all the while hitting the pocketbook of those same Americans as coal-fueled power plant closures and expensive renewables force electricity rates to skyrocket.

And this is how Obama is intentionally killing coal.


About the Author: Marita Noon

Marita Noon

CFACT policy analyst Marita Noon is the author of Energy Freedom.,

  • celestedobbs

    Just like Hurricane – Rubin Carter

    Black Lives Matters! Justice for all.

    I am Mrs. Celeste Dobbs, the mother of John Dobbs, I am on
    disability and unable to afford an attorney, I am asking for you help in this matter.

    Re: John Dobbs; Florida DC (inmate no. C00618) Stand Your

    The incident occurred in Florida on October 25,2006
    “Stand your Ground”, 4 against 1, defending him self with only his
    fist against 4 unknown men he pulled out his legal length pocket knife when his
    girlfriend try to get them off him, they attacked her, what start out as a fist
    fight ended up with one of his attackers killed, the decease came from a
    wealthy family. John and his girlfriend were the only Black people in the
    altercation, his attackers were described as White John was the only one
    arrested, John complained of felling faint and dizzy, he was never taking to
    the hospital for his cuts and bruises but his attackers were taking to the
    hospital from the crime scene were their wounds were cared for.

    Things just don’t add
    up innocent man tortured for nine (9) years by Florida authorities to avenge
    and appease a wealthy family.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    If Florida ‘ Stand Your Ground Law ‘ is equally available to
    citizens under Florida jurisdiction some of the questions that arrive basic on
    the evidence are:

    1.) Why was he the only man arrested for a fight that all
    witness swear stated as a fist fight between him and a least 4 intoxicated men
    who relentlessly approached him?

    2.) Does race have anything to do with it?

    3.) Does he have the right to protect his girlfriend for
    what can be reasonably preceded as acts of aggression?

    4.) How is it possible to find he didn’t act in defense of
    him self and his lady, when no reasonable evidence exist that the men who
    approached them might no harm?

    5.)) If the statement (you need security to walk you and
    your girl out) can be perceived as a threat how is it not evidence of his

    6.) Why wasn’t Andre Blanco arrested for violating; for his
    part in the altercating being that he was dunk and on probation in a state were
    mere police contact usually results in violation?

    7.) Why did the prosecutor allow Andre Blanco to change
    sworn statements from proceeding to proceeding without explanation?

    8.) If the only evidence of aggravated battery against Andre
    Blanco comes from actions, Andre Blanco testified there was no evidences of , until
    after Blanco ran up grab him by the back of the neck and started hitting him;
    How is that not self-defense?

    9.) If the only evidence of Aggravated battery against
    Fransico Gotay comes from actions Gotay testified occurred only after Gotay ran
    at him swinging to hit him; How is that not self-defense?

    10.) If the only evidence of aggravated assault against
    Hansel Holiday comes from actions Holiday testified occurred only after Holiday
    was attempting to strike his car and run him off the road for the thirty time;
    How is that not self- defense?

    11.) If Andre Blanco testified that immediately after being
    hit with what seems like a really hard punch, Blanco gets up runs grabs him by
    the back of the neck and starts hitting him; And, Fransico Gotay testified that
    immediately after Blanco falls from being hit with a good punch, Gotay runs up
    and starts swinging at him. And, Riollano testified that at the time that
    Riollano approached him and started hitting him in the neck and head, he was still
    fighting at least one of Riollano’s friends. And, William Troy enter the fight
    sometime in between. How can they said the fights was one on one.

    12.) Why were Fransico Gotay, Anthony Riollano, and Hanzel
    Holiday treated by the State Attorney’s Office as if their attacking the couple
    at the couple car was lawful when they claim to have no knowledge of why the
    fight started or who throw the first punch; Thus, no knowledge of whether they
    were in the right or wrong?

    13.) How is it that he was convicted of murdering William
    Troy and his conviction is upheld when the only evidence is that William Troy
    was the 3 or 4 men to enter the fight against him, and his claim to have stab
    Troy in self-defense?

    14.) Why was the jury led to believe that he had to try to
    avoid the danger before he had the right to stand his ground?

    15.) Why wasn’t the State required to answer any of these
    questions on appeal?

    16) Why wasn’t he granted an Evidential Hearing basic on any
    of his claims in the Federal Court?

    17.) If the police was called before anyone was believed to
    have been stabbed and Deputy Herbert Mercado testified at the Adversary
    Preliminary Hearing referring to him as the victim twice.

    Doesn’t that mean that the recordings of the 911 calls that
    were destroyed were evidence of his actual innocents?

    18.) Does this mean that Florida law enforcement knows that
    he is innocent?

    19.) Does the wealth of William Troy’s and Anthony
    Riollano’s family’s have anything to do with it.

    20.) Is there a conspiracy to deny a innocent man his

    21.) If a white man fought off 4 or 5 drunk black men, who
    told him he needed security, and surrounded him and his girlfriend, outside his
    car in the parking lot of a strip club, at 2:00 in the morning; Wouldn’t he be
    a hero?

    Read proof of his innocents on his website, read court transcripts, and subtitle; Must Read,
    John’s story in his own words ” American Me Law vs. Law Enforcement ”
    and give him an emergency release.

    Too many Florida officials are manipulating the system
    solely for their own personal prejudices and then having justice denied to
    avoid lawsuits. A favor for a favor tradition, Regardless of constitutional
    propriety. Many have gotten more severe
    sentencing when facts are manipulated at trail. Some were just been
    plain railroad. This system within the system is so embedded that the Feds are
    scared to touch it, especially because of the financial ramifications. A
    federal investigation is sorely needed, men like my son who have been ignored
    and lack opportunities to received justice in Florida that only money can buy.

    22.) Are Clerks
    of Court being paid to sabotage cases in Florida.

    a.) A
    Cark of the court filed the unsigned Charge Information.

    b.) On
    Direct Appeal they was no judge signature on the ‘Denial ‘ .

    It was a Clerk who allowed incorrect DOC number
    to remain on his docket for months despite the number of complaints.

    d.) It
    was a Clerk of Court that removed 15 pages of his ‘Argument ‘ from his petition
    for Federal Habeas Corpus.

    And now the Clerk of Court who denied his State
    Habeas Corpus without any reason again in the Direct Court of Appeal.

    They didn’t put the initial
    provocation instruction in George Zimmerman jury instruction.

    John spoke on the instructions
    given to the jury in his book located on his website, “American Me Law vs. Law Enforcement” on page
    60 “Magic Trick” to page 68 “Lose My

    Court Cases

    1.) February, 40 Fla. L. weekly (Deandre Ross
    vs. State of Florida) 1 DCA case no. 1D13- 4401

    Floyd vs. State, 39 Fla. L weekly D1800 (1 DCA August 26,2014 initial
    aggressor instruction with stand your ground instruction is fundamental error).

    has been arguing this for 8 years and finally he came across this,

    At the end of the trail the judge said John’s attorney asked for
    a special instruction, yet all along they called it self defense.

    We are looking for equal protection of the law, my son
    believes that the only way to get that basic on the political inferences
    surrounding public support, we are looking for representation by a capable law
    firm that won’t be shaken, there’s been a lot of due proceed violations some

    contact: Mrs. Celeste Dobbs at cell (951) 259-7127 and

    And or write :

    John Dobbs, Florida inmate no. C00618

    Correctional Institution, 5563 10th Street

    Malone, Florida

    Phone no. (850)

    Thank You

    Mrs. Celeste Dobbs

  • D R Allen

    Revealing article, but it doesn’t mention that the assets of Arch Coal were bought (for pennies on the dollar) by BHO’s friend and benefactor George Soros.

    Now that he doesn’t need the Sierra Club dollars to get re-elected I’m certain we’ll soon find out that coal is a totally safe fuel, and new coal-fired powerplants wil be built (as wind and solar DON’T work) making GS even wealthier.

  • Paul

    The irony is, we have the best and cleanest coal plants in the USA while the rest of the world continues to destroy our environment. You’d think we’d try to educate other nations into following our steps. Instead, they try to destroy our reasonably safe plants while the rest of the world ignores it. I love the fact that fuel costs are low and it drives these Liberal groups insane! Sorry Obummer, no more $8gal gas