West Virginia Officials Unite to Protect Coal
United we stand, divided we fall was the message emanating out of West Virginia this month, as local, state and federal politicians joined with coal company officials to dedicate themselves to protecting coal’s future.
“Members of West Virginia’s business and political elite announced [November 10th] they are on the same page about mining coal: The state needs it, the country needs it and they’re going to fight for it,” the Charleston Daily Mail wrote on Nov. 11.
Three of the state’s five members of Congress, along with Gov. Joe Manchin (D), state lawmakers, several state agency directors, a handful of county commissioners and more than a dozen coal industry officials met at the Governor’s Mansion to unify against the continuing onslaught of measures from Washington, D.C., designed to wipe out coal mining in West Virginia.
“Whether you be Republican or Democrat, we are all united in this fight,” Gov. Manchin said following the meeting.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) said the group is committed to getting a meeting with high-level White House officials to get some “good, hard information” about exactly what new environmental constraints EPA wants to place on mining in the state.
One issue that continues to wreak havoc in the Appalachian coal fields is the Environmental Protection Agency’s on-going blockade on coal mining permits.
Paul H. Vining, the chief operating officer of Patriot Coal, warned following the meeting that EPA’s refusal to end their quasi-legal moratorium is going to have a “huge impact” on everyone in West Virginia.
Driving home Vining’s point is a new study released by West Virginia University (WVU) that warns of massive new job losses for the state, many due to the EPA moratorium. The report predicted that southern West Virginia in particular would be hit hard as a result of EPA’s permit dithering.
Charleston Daily Mail story is available at: Charleston Daily Mail.
West Virginia University study is available at: West Virginia University study.
Controversy over “Packaging” of Climate Science
In a recent article, the New York Times reported that documents hacked from a British university’s server are causing a stir among global warming skeptics, who believe the documents indicate that climate scientists have overstated the case for human influence on climate change.
New York Times article is available at: New York Times.
IEA Annual Report Foresees Strong Coal Demand
Global energy demand will increase by 45 percent by 2030, with demand for coal again outstripping growth in all other fuels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted in its latest annual World Energy Outlook. IEA projects coal will account for more than a third of the predicted increase in global energy demand.
IEA expects higher fossil-fuel prices and energy security concerns will boost the share of renewable fuels for power generation by 2030 to 22 percent from 18 percent in 2007. Coal will also increase its share of this market by 2 percent to 44 percent in 2030.
Finally, IEA leaves little doubt about the importance of the growth in power generation for human welfare, estimating that by 2030 as many as 1.4 billion people will still not have access to electricity.
The International Energy Agency report is available at: World Energy Outlook.
New DOL Data Document Mining Industry Safety Improvement
New workplace injury information released this month by the Department of Labor found that the mining industry’s non-fatal injury rate dropped 5 percent in 2008 based on survey data collected by the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The industry’s non-fatal injury rate for 2008 stood at 3.5 cases per 100 full-time workers, down from the 2007 rate of 3.7 cases per 100 full-time workers. The injury rate for coal mining was 4.4, metal mining was 3.1, and non-metallic mineral mining was 3.0.
The Department of Labor press release is available at: Bureau of Labor Statistics.