• Don't treat coal miners like they're stupid

    From Paris Accord Is A lie@21:1/5 to All on Thu Apr 6 02:37:04 2017
    XPost: sci.engr.mining, alt.global-warming, alt.politics.obama
    XPost: sac.politics

    Just as soon as President Donald Trump signed those executive
    orders rolling back President Obama's emissions rules, a
    cavalcade of experts immediately chimed in with hard-edged
    comments about how "useless" and "misleading" the whole process

    Here are just a few of the headlines oozing with know-it-all
    certainty and elitist environmental snobbery that had all the
    subtlety of a slap across the face:

    The fake war on coal: Trump moves to dismantle U.S. climate
    rules (Salon)

    Trump's Pro-Coal Orders Are Doomed to Fail (Time)

    Donald Trump ends 'war on coal' by declaring war on breathable
    air (Vanity Fair)

    The implicit and often explicit message in these and many other
    pieces is that President Trump thinks the coal miners are stupid
    enough to believe that his executive orders will bring their
    jobs back when free market forces like automation and cheaper
    natural gas are the real reasons for the industry's contraction.

    But when it comes to thinking people are stupid, it's the so-
    called experts who seem to be assuming that miners don't know
    the truth or at least as much about their own industry as the
    folks sitting in newsrooms in New York and Washington, D.C.

    Now this doesn't mean those same pundits and experts are wrong
    about some of the basic environmental science. Coal has been a
    legitimate focus for environmental activists for decades. It is
    indeed dirtier and produces more emissions than natural gas,
    petroleum, and of course solar and wind power.

    It's the demonizing and denigrating of the miners themselves
    that is a bridge too far.

    To hear the know-it-alls in Washington or even on Wall Street
    tell it, the miners and mining companies believe Trump will
    "bring their jobs back," and will soon feel betrayed when those
    jobs don't come back.

    But Coal News Publisher and Managing Editor Bill Reid has
    actually spent a lifetime listening to miners and mining
    companies. Reid says the miners are a lot more savvy than most
    people give them credit for.

    "Contrary to popular belief, the modern coal miner is well-
    educated and highly experienced in operating multi-million
    dollar mining machinery," Reid says. "All they want is a level
    playing field without government interference so they can

    The "government interference" part is the key to understanding
    everything. The miners know they may lose their jobs to market
    forces, they just don't want Washington piling on or speeding up
    their economic demise.

    The market they can accept; politically-charged policies made to
    look like environmental concern they cannot. And they suspect
    it's politically-charged chicanery and not legitimate
    environmental concern because of the increased political and
    financial relationships Democrats have cultivated with
    alternative energy companies, lobbyists, and investors. That
    includes green investors like Tom Steyer, who spent millions of
    his own money on Democratic candidates in 2016 and has become
    one of the most influential powers in the party.

    And who could blame them for having those concerns after Hillary
    Clinton, even during the height of campaign scrutiny last year,
    had the temerity to say: "We're going to put a lot of coal
    miners and coal companies out of business," during a town hall
    event in March. The Clinton campaign later backtracked from that
    comment, but the damage was done.

    Speaking of the free market, Reid's relative optimism about
    preserving or even creating a few more coal jobs is not
    unfounded. Warrior Met Coal set its IPO range Monday valuing the
    company at $17 to $19, proving there are still investors willing
    to put their money in the supposedly dead commodity. And even
    natural gas industry leaders admit their prices are not going to
    stay low forever, justifying optimism about coal's future
    ability to compete at least at some level.

    But don't those libertarian, accept-the-market-results miners
    want government help when it's offered? Like perhaps the big tax
    breaks and credits solar and even the regular oil companies
    receive? That's another misconception. When it comes to the
    government, it's not that they expect Washington to stay out of
    things completely, they just want a seat at the table.

    William Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Miners
    Association, spoke out about this at the height of the
    presidential election last summer. Raney insisted that miners
    and mining companies had been allowed no input at all in the
    formulation of the Obama administration's environmental policies.

    Whether Raney is referring to the fact that no coal lobbyists
    made a visit to the Obama White House or the simple fact that
    President Obama's coal curbing regulations came in the form of
    executive orders and not Congressional legislation, it seems
    like he has a point. Miners want to work with government just
    like everyone else, or at least as much as many of the nation's
    still less viable industries got to do with the previous
    administration. Big difference.

    Yet somehow, many in the media who live far from coal country
    and probably never visited decided the most important thing to
    do in response to the Trump executive orders was to compose
    stories about what anyone who can read financial news has known
    for decades - that the coal industry has been shrinking mostly
    because of natural gas and automation. That's not helpful.

    What is helpful is finding out about the educated opinions and
    concerns of thousands of American workers in an industry that is
    vital for our daily energy needs. Of course, listening to
    legitimate voices before enacting powerful economic rules is
    what democracy and representative government are all about. And
    in that context, it's decidedly anti-democratic to dance on an
    industry's grave instead of giving its representatives a seat at
    the table while it still produces crucially needed goods,
    services and jobs.

    So no, President Trump cannot prevent the coal industry's
    demise. That will likely happen over the next century... or two.
    But he and his new policies can ensure that it dies of natural
    causes and not a mob-induced euthanasia.

    Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com senior columnist. Follow him
    on Twitter @jakejakeny.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/05/trump-isnt-betraying-coal-miners- commentary.html

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