An Ohio panel of politicians and industry leaders painted a dire future for the coal industry, with one executive arguing it could be completely destroyed by the Obama administration’s so-called war on coal.
“This represents a coordinated effort to accomplish the total destruction of the United States coal industry,” Robert Murray, president of Murray Energy, told a crowd at Ohio University on Monday.
“President Barack Obama, his appointed cabinet cronies, and his supporters in the U. S. House and Senate, are rapidly accelerating their attacks on our jobs and nothing has been enacted to even slow them down, let alone stop them,” Murray said. “Mr. Obama has totally usurped the legislation branch of our federal government in his radical agenda.”
Other witnesses in the hearing were similarly grim in their outlook on coal.
“All Ohioans should be concerned about the growing list of announced power plant closures in our state with no plan to bring online additional power-generating capacity to meet our current and projected needs,” said Ohio state Rep. Mike Dovilla, who organized the field hearing. “Ohio’s hard-working families will be particularly impacted as analysts have projected electricity rate increases of up to 300 percent.”
Ohio has been hit hard, particularly by Environmental Protection Agency regulations aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants. According to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the U.S. will lose 285 coal plants across 32 states as more EPA regulations make coal burning uneconomical. Thirty-eight of those closings will occur in Ohio.
According to the Times Leader, a local newspaper, “coal-fired electricity has been an affordable and reliable electricity source for many Ohioans; approximately 78 percent is consumed by Ohioans.”
Murray, who has been in the coal industry for 56 years, has personally been affected by Obama administration regulations.
Last year, an Ohio-based subsidiary of Murray Energy announced layoffs in the state, citing EPA regulations as the reason for the plants going idle.
More recently, the power company American Electric Power announced it was shuttering an Ohio coal plant as part of a legal settlement with environmentalists, the EPA, and other groups. AEP was given the option to convert the plant into a natural gas plant, but opted to close it due to high regulatory costs and market conditions.
Earlier this summer, Obama unveiled his new plan to combat global warming, which included using the EPA to cap carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.