The Post-Gazette's Aug. 6 coal editorial ("Coal Barons: GOP Lawmakers Try to Turn Back the Hands of Time") is out of touch with today's coal mining industry and is ready to let consumers bear the brunt of the off-base suggestion that America abandon an industry that remains the largest single source of electricity and one that is highly affordable and readily available.
In Pennsylvania alone -- as in the nation -- 40 percent of the state's electricity is provided by coal power plants; the industry generates 73,000 high-wage jobs and adds $8 billion to the state treasury. Also, states that rely predominantly on coal as their source of electricity generation have lower rates and, not coincidentally, the highest concentrations of manufacturing -- further bolstering those states' economies.
The reason congressmen Tim Murphy, Bill Shuster and Keith Rothfus support the Energy Consumers Relief Act is because the administration has gone too fast and too far with stringent greenhouse gas regulations that would ban even the most technologically-advanced coal power plants -- facilities that emit 90 percent fewer emissions than the typical plants they replace. These standards would place a regressive tax on families with half of all Americans already paying 21 percent of their disposable income on energy.
More thoughtful policies are needed that allow all forms of energy -- coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables -- to provide Americans with affordable, reliable energy.
President and CEO
National Mining Association