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              ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, DEC. 19 AND THEREAFTER  - Part of the Potomac River Generating Station is seen in Alexandria, Va., Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. More than 32 mostly coal-fired power plants in a dozen states will be forced to shut down and another 34 might have to close because of new federal air pollution regulations, according to an Associated Press survey.  Together, those plants produce enough electricity for more than 21 million households, but their demise is unlikely to cause homes to go dark. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
              ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, DEC. 19 AND THEREAFTER - Part of the Potomac River Generating Station is seen in Alexandria, Va., Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. More than 32 mostly coal-fired power plants in a dozen states will be forced to shut down and another 34 might have to close because of new federal air pollution regulations, according to an Associated Press survey. Together, those plants produce enough electricity for more than 21 million households, but their demise is unlikely to cause homes to go dark. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)   

9,000 mining jobs lost in October

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 9,000 jobs lost in mining in October, a statistic Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is likely to cite in the waning hours of the campaign.

“Mining lost 9,000 jobs in October, with most of the decline occurring in support activities for mining,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced in Friday’s jobs report. “Since May of this year, employment in mining has decreased by 17,000.”

Some have critiqued the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency for their regulations on the coal industry, calling it a” war on coal.”

At a rally in Ohio, Romney said of a possible Obama second term, “You know he’s going to continue his war on coal, you knows he’s going to keep pushing back on oil and natural gas.” This issue also plays in Pennsylvania, where Romney is making a new push.

The Romney campaign also released an ad this week that reinforces its message of President Obama’s hostility to the coal industry.

“If somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can – it’s just that it will bankrupt them,” President Obama says in the ad, then adding that “22 Pennsylvania Coal Units Announced They Will Close Or Convert.”

The free market energy policy group American Energy Alliance pointed to these job losses as a clear indication of the need for new energy policy reform.

“[Friday's] employment report underscores the need for new, pro-growth policies for the energy and manufacturing sectors,” the group’s president Thomas Pyle said.

“Manufacturing jobs were flat again this month, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this sector has shown little change since April. Average earnings fell again, yet energy prices continue to climb,” Pyle said.

The Institute for Energy Research claims “more than 34 gigawatts of electrical generating capacity are now set to retire” nearly 10 percent of the coal industry, due to EPA regulations. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has countered that competition from natural gas and other complex economic factors are to blame for coal’s decline.

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