By Tom Borelli
As if the coal industry is not under enough pressure, the progressive media machine is now trying to halt coal exports.
Zoe Carpenter’s story, “The War on Coal Obama Isn’t Fighting,” published in The Nation, criticizes Obama for allowing coal mining on federal lands in Montana and Wyoming and for not doing more to stop coal exports from the Pacific Northwest.
The Power River Basin (PRB) in the West contains most of our country’s coal reserves. Economic development of these resources depend on coal shipments from ports in Oregon and Washington.
By condemning coal exports, in typical progressive elite fashion, Carpenter is willing to sacrifice the Crow Nation that desperately needs coal mining jobs.
Carpenter acknowledges the importance of coal to the tribe…
The Crow Nation in Montana, which relies on coal for most of its private sector jobs and nearly half of whose citizens are unemployed, eagerly finalized an agreement with Cloud Peak Energy (CPE) last month to develop an estimate 1.4 billion tons of coal on its lands in the PRB. As Crow chairman Darrin Old Coyote said at yesterday’s hearing, “The CPE project…is dependent on coal exports through the Northwest.”
But she quickly dismisses Native American jobs and moves on to complain about Obama allowing mining on federal land and rejects job creation for speculative negative environmental impacts of moving coal by rail…
Other than the Crow lands, most of the PRB is federally owned, so it’s up to the Obama administration to decide how much mining to allow. Claims about job creation are vague, while massive increases in rail traffic and pollution could damage waterways and other sectors of the economy, namely agriculture and ranching.
Environmental activists have already been successful in blocking the construction of some export terminals in the Pacific Northwest and with help from the progressive media, they will ensure a great natural resource remains landlocked.
Blocking coal exports is the last front on the war on coal and progressives could care less about the impact on families including Native Americans who will be among the causalities.