Giving the Coal Industry the Shaft

WV congressman proposes bill which could destroy U.S. mining industry

“So, if someone wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.
It’s just that it will bankrupt them.

Remember this? Well, it seems as though the president has somebody out there trying their darndest to turn his dreams into reality.

According to a report in this month’s edition of the ICMJ Prospecting and Mining Journal, West Virginia Congressman and chairman of the House Resources Committee Nick Rahall has reintroduced legislation which could spell disaster for small-scale mining operations in the United States, and phase out large-scale mining operations as well.

Among a host of other things, The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009 would:

  • add tens of millions of acres to existing areas deemed off-limits to mining, including but not limited to so-called “wilderness study areas” and areas “of critical environmental concern.”
  • permit any state or local municipality or Indian tribe to withdraw proposed or possible mining areas due to concerns over drinking water, wildlife habitat, historic resources, scenic vistas or, in the case of the Indian tribes, cultural or religious value.
  • force mine operators to obtain approved plans looking so far into the future as to assure, with certainty, that no treatment of discharged water will be necessary 10 years after mine closure,
  • allow for any mining plan to be altered or stopped altogether pending further information about scientific, biological, historical or cultural resources.
  • allow states to implement regulations beyond the scope of this legislation.
  • open the floodgates for civil litigation, allowing for anybody to file civil suit against the mine operator to force compliance with mining laws, and allowing courts to costs of litigation, including attorney and witness fees, as the court deems appropriate.
  • permit fining, to the tune of $25,000 per day, of mine operators who fail to comply with any portion of a required permit
  • entitle the federal government to an eight percent royalty on all locatable materials for any new mining operation

The list goes on and on and on, and reads a whole lot like what the federal government did to the timber industry in the Pacific northwest, only worse. And, of course, the roster of co-sponsors reads like a Who’s Who of ignorant liberals and environmentalists: Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Lois Capps (D-CA), Donna Christensen (D-VI), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Mike Honda (D-CA), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Ron Kind (D-WI), Ed Markey (D-MA), George Miller (D-CA), John Salazar (D-CO), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Niki Tsongas (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA).

Regardless of who is involved, the consequences will be the same. Joblessness. Increased energy costs. More reliance upon foreign energy. The complete end of an industry. From the report:

[M]ining companies would be unable to deal with the unattainable requirements of these regulations, citizen lawsuits, thin profit margins, reporting requirements, and the uncertainty that comes with the federal government’s new authority to halt a mining operation when ‘undue degradation’ is occurring or a scientific, biological or cultural resource is discovered. Many areas that may have potential would be inaccessible. No one in their right mind would provide funding for exploration or operations under the proposed conditions.

Under normal circumstances, I’d look at something like this, an idea which makes no common sense whatsoever, and write it off as just another proposed bill which will fail at some point in the legislative process. These, however, are by no means normal times, and the Democrats are by no means normal Americans. Never before have I seen a political party so hell bent on driving a country into the ground.

I’m not sure it matters that implementation of such regulations would mean the end of an industry, a gargantuan step back in terms of energy independence, hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, and a tremendous hit to the American economy. I’m not even sure it matters that there would likely be an adverse effect on the environment they purportedly want to protect, as operations shut down here would be stepped up in countries with less control on environmental impact.

Normally, I’d think that these sorts of things would matter to our lawmakers but now, more than ever, I think we see that the Democrats, in the majority, have no problem putting party before country, ideology before common sense.

If, after all, the Democrats cared about certain industries, we’d have seen a forced restructuring of American automakers. If they cared about energy independence and the creation of jobs, we’d see the expansion of oil drilling operations off our coasts and in ANWR. If they cared about the economy, we’d see fiscal restraint and responsibility. And if they truly cared about the environment–they don’t, as global warming is less about the globe and more about the global redistribution of wealth–they would not pursue measures like cap-and-trade, which would force more industry into nations like China and India with less pollution controls. They care about none of these things, and it’s about time we show the American public exactly where the Democrats’ loyalties lie . . . to party and to the perpetuation of power — not to the nation, or her people.

If the GOP in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the rest of the coal belt does not have news of this proposed legislation in the mailboxes and on the television of every American in those states, the party has failed. If the GOP does not ensure that mining families appear on cable news shows, explaining how their jobs could be secure but for increased federal government involvement, the party has failed.

And if all of us do not take a few minutes to explain the basic concepts behind this proposed legislation to everyone who will listen, and then remind them that President Barack Obama admitted that he wanted to “bankrupt” the coal industry, then we all have failed. His statements, remember, came from an interview used by the San Francisco Chronicle for a January 18, 2008 piece. Of course, the paper failed to mention Obama’s hope to bankrupt the coal industry. Nevertheless, his remarks:

What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

Why stop at mere cap-and-trade, after all, when he can bankrupt the industry by weighing it down with excess regulation? Consequences be damned! Heck, isn’t that the rallying cry of this administration and Congress?

Now, I don’t know if this bill will pass. Honestly, I doubt it, but only because I cannot suspend disbelief enough to think that even the Democrats would be so stupid, politically or otherwise. Then again, if the environmental lobby is powerful enough to bring us cap-and-trade, a likely renewal of the offshore drilling ban, and all sorts of expensive and overbloated “green” projects, perhaps I shouldn’t shortchange those on the left when it comes to the total abandonment of common sense.

Still, likely to pass or not, it should be interesting to watch, as this particular bill is essentially a microcosm of liberal thought. Don’t like something? Regulate and tax it into oblivion! Consequences be damned!

After all, we’re seeing the very same thing happening at the hands of the Democrats with regard to capitalism and success.



  1. Greg Goss says:

    He will not keep one campaign “promise” but he will accomplish what he spoke of ie above and Joe the Plumber et al.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Gee, I was under the general impression that coal was an essential component of our domestic energy production. Has anyone told our little “friend” Obama that yet?

    I find electricity useful, myself.


  3. Gail B says:

    What makes us believe we can reason with people who cannot think?

    In order to think, a person has to have a mind. The liberal Democrats have lost theirs.

  4. demablogue says:

    Everyone please go read Atlas Shrugged, the book, not the blog.
    I just yesterday read the part where the Dr. Ferris comes to Hank Rearden to demand 4000 tons of Rearden Steel. He then monologues for a bit about how the government will write enough laws to make a nation of criminals, they can use these vague, unobservable laws as leverage to get what they want from businessmen.

    It’s ridiculous, I’m reading Atlas Shrugged currently, and every single day I read something that was ripped from TODAY’S headlines, and the book was published in 1957. Pick it up, read it.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Yet more evidence that O is purposefully demolishing our economy so he can “rebuild from the ashes” his utopian marxist regime.

    My family is preparing for what is to come…we are selling our house, becoming completely liquid, and preparing for a complete economic meltdown. Sounds crazy, I’m sure!

    If the coal industry is destroyed, then our national energy stability is going to be sheer chaos!


  6. Gail B says:


    I think you have hit the nail on the head! How else could the Obama Brown Shirts round up citizens unless Obama makes it illegal in the long run to survive?

    Oh, Lord! Something tells me it’s a lot deeper than that, but what you told us surely did shed a huge beam of light! Thanks!

  7. Jan says:

    So, on one hand he states that he will create all these jobs with the “so called” stimulus bill and then he takes a bunch of those created jobs away by doing this! Yep…..balanced all the way. What a goof. What is worse is his followers who will buy his BS hook, line and sinker.

  8. Claudia says:

    gee, I wonder IF Harry Reid will sign on to this particular bill….. NEVADA is the GOLD MINING STATE of the nation, along with molybdemun, titanium, and a host of other very needed minerals and oh, gee, I forgot our state is nicknamed the SILVER STATE because of all the silver mines in the VIrginia City old mining boom area. Three quarters of our state is devoted to MINING….. as well as a huge UNION of MINE WORKERS, wonder how Obama willl square that with the UNIONS that he just gave everything to the other day in Miami.

    This guy and the Democrats are so far out there that they are off the loop, mentially. They are out to destroy everything in our economy, our wealth, our livilihoods, our ability to LIVE for Gods sake, we need heat and electricity and water and (oh, by the way, Geothermal ENERGY is BIG in NEVADA also) so how is all of that going to square with the environmentalists, and Obama and also there are some SALT MINES out in the middle of the state, too….

    I could go on, but this is getting absolutely beyond the pale of being stupid. How is this country supposed to do anything that supports us in any way. By the way our Country is the biggest user of GOLD in the world, and Gold MINING is a necessity for many computers, tv’s, phones, copiers, for autos, batteries, Copper for wires, WTF???? The world being run by the Democrats and Obama is going insane!!!!!!

  9. cher-pa says:

    My husband maintains coal fired power plants in Pennsylvania.His company is selling and our future is up for grabs.
    Since October I have been trying to inform family and friends,democrat or republican, about this administrations plan to bankrupt the coal industry.However my words seem to fall upon deaf ears.
    Glenn Beck says “We are not alone”.But I feel that I am the only one that cares about what is taking place in this country.
    I just want to shout “WAKE UP AMERICA” before its to late and we are all sitting around in the DARK!!!

  10. demablogue says:


    You’re not alone. I and my wife will keep the Families of coal miners in our prayers, and We will act at the ballot.

    This is what we can do, pray and act. Some of us are gifted to act in ways beyond the ballot box. I am currently not in a position to do so, but I hope to be some day. For now, I will pray, and I will vote.


  11. suek says:

    Better study history – as in how to live in the 19th century. Remember? That’s before the discovery of oil and the resulting transportation boom.

    Looks like we’re going back in time. Think about living without electricity and gasoline driven engines. That means no easy access to grocery stores – because there’ll be no transportation. Say goodbye to foods from all corners of the earth ending “seasonal” foods.

    In my New England heritage, we have the same dinner every Thanksgiving and Christmas – turkey, mashed potatoes, rutabagas, and squash. And cranberry sauce. And every time, I give my kids the lecture: these foods are traditional because these vegetables are the only ones that they had. They store. There were no greens – frosts came early and canning was not readily available. They had only root vegetables that could stay in the ground or be kept in root cellars. Oh yeah – and they _had_ root cellars.

    Time to start looking at a serious garden, and canning supplies, I think. And anything that will burn, if you don’t have a woodlot. Also better learn to bake bread and make stuff from scratch. Better learn to scratch, as well!

    What is _wrong_ with these people!!!

    It looks like we have lived in the best of times, and are about to live in the worst of times.

  12. DIG IT says:

    The cure is to sacrifice just ONE coal mine, filling it with all the liberals, progressives, communists, socialists and just plain idiots, then sealing it.

  13. LOOK WHAT I FOUND says:

    Is he afraid with all this digging that someone just might come across where he buried his Kenyan birth certificate?

  14. FAMILY TREE says:


  15. Gail B says:

    Read carefully the introduction in Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”:

    In Rules for Radicals, this appears (Added emphasis mine):

    “There’s another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevski said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system, among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American families – more than seventy million people – whose income range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year [in 1971]. They cannot be dismissed by labeling them blue collar or hard hat. They will not continue to be relatively passive and slightly challenging. If we fail to communicate with them, if we don’t encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right. Maybe they will anyway, but let’s not let it happen by default.”

    Now is it clear what Obama is doing with his “boost” to economy? He does NOT WANT the economy BOOSTED. He’s working hard to MAKE IT FAIL, so that he and Pelosi and other Comrades can sell more Marxist crap!

    I’m sending that paragraph to my senators in D.C., and I suggest that everyone else do the same, with the request to VOTE NO!

  16. SING ALONG says:

    uh workin on the Wall Street, it’s goin down, down, down uh workin on the Wall Street… whoop it’s goin soooo down

  17. Gail B says:

    Every in Georgia: SEND ME AN EMAIL with “Georgia” in the subject line! Right NOW!

    We have something going on, and we need as many Georgians as possible. Thanks.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Jeff, thanks for the article about our coal industry. I wrote to the president of the WV Coal Association about this “bankrupting” issue…before the election…and he kindly responded. Please, if you ever have time, could you interview him? Let him know we are concerned and support them? Thanks…

    Anon (at 10:41 am)

    Selling your house? That was an idea I had, but not getting much support on the issue. However, based on what we could get for it now and what we’ll get for it when the depression goes full-throttle, um…makes sense to me to do it now. If you have any advice or ideas about this topic, by all means, please let me know. I am in preparations right now, as well. Stockpiling food, planting a garden…and I am aware of many others doing the same…including my neighbors both left and right of me. It’s a scary time. Thanks…

  19. Jeff Schreiber says:

    E-mail me with the contact info you used. Absolutely.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Demablog: I ordered Atlas Shrugged from amazon awhile ago, and it just occured to me that it has not arrived! I want to read it, and will, but I have to see why it has not arrived!

    Cher-pa: WE have not forgotten you all! We will fight for you till the last breath. You need to move to Texas…people get it down here! And we will find you a job. This is where you want to be when things get really bad…and they will! Texans know how to take care of themselves, and you would be in much better company down here (not to mention much better weather!). God bless!

    suek: You are absolutely on the right track! We as a family are beginning to plan for SURVIVAL. Thank God we come from farming roots…my parents came from farming, and my mom TOTALLY lived a self-sustaining lifestyle growning up (during the Depression). I have always loved hearing her stories of how they lived completely off the land…not realizing that it might be OUR future. She is 77 now, and she knows what’s coming…she says she wakes up during the wee hours and thinks about how she wants to write down or tell us how to survive and live a self-sustaining lifestyle. I have ordered books on the subject as well as on the topic of surviving crises’. If it doesn’t happen, great! But if it does, we will be prepared!

    Thank God I am a great cook and baker! I need to hone my canning skills, though.

    Is anyone else doing this kind of research or preparation? Just askin’….

    GAIL B:

    My mom and I both have copies of Rules for R’s! Scary yet applicable stuff! You are absolutely right! But I think we should all send a copy of the book to each of our federal AND state representatives, as well as Michael Steele!

    DIG IT: I think we SHOULD sacrifice one coal mine for this purpose! The only thing is that we would have to block off several miles’ circumference around this mine and post large signs that warn “CAUTION: TOXIC MATERIALS BEYOND THIS POINT. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!”

    Lisa from TX

  21. madmom says:

    Gail wrote about Alinsky: "They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future."

    I don't know about you, but I am a little frustrated. Stupid people do that to me. Defeated? Futureless? Lost? Nah. The hungrier and more deprived I am, the meaner I get. Mr. Alinsky obviously never met anybody from the Blue Ridge, or from the Ozarks, or from the Rockies, or from rural Nevada. Apparently, his circle didn't include loggers from Washington or guys from Texas that can take a fly's wings off in one clean shot. And I'm sure he'd never met a Southern Belle or he'd have known how the south survived during one of the worst periods of this country's history. Don't let that sweet smile and honeyed drawl fool you, Saul. When her family is threatened, that little lady won't back down from a host of demons. And those ladies from the Midwest? They're our sisters. In fact, we're family. All of us. No matter what color, creed or religion. America is ours.

    Rule #6: Don't ever underestimate an angry woman…especially if you've ripped her star-spangled banner.

    Rule #7: Don't ever underestimate an angry man…especially if he was born under or embraces the flag that refuses to be tread upon.

    Rule #8: Don't ever tick off an awakening giant.

    Rule #9: Solve problems peacefully, but be prepared in case 'stupidity' doesn't grasp the danger of ignoring Rules 6, 7 & 8.

  22. Lisa says:

    Anonymous 7:31:

    The only thing that I can tell you regarding house selling is that you and your spouse have to be of the same accord. We live in East TX where the market is still pretty good, but we’ll see…I mean, if your value has gone down but you can still afford to stay in your home, then just hunker down and cut other expenses. You are doing a great job by preparing so far…the one thing my husband and I want to get is a good sized generator. I am getting ready to order a manual from that explains step by step how to be ready for crisis or any national emergency. This is new terrority for me, too! That’s interesting that even your neighbors are planting gardens…it’s like people aren’t really talking about their fears (except us!) but are getting ready anyway. It’s a quiet fear right now.

    I just ordered a book called “The Coming Great Depression” by Harry Dent. It explains how to approach the crisis wisely (from a financial perspective).

    Happy gardening!

    Lisa in TX

  23. FILL ER UP says:

    Is it true nonproductive mines are now going to be backfilled with the worthless paper Citi stocks are printed on?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Obama is the worst mistake that the american people have ever made. He has "reformed" the auto makers …result thousands of jobs lost.. unemployment rates are higher than they have ever been. He has raised taxes ,sends money across waters while he has cost Amerians their way of life, and now he wants to bankrupt the coal industry. I have worked underground coal mines for 17 years, now the way I make my livin g is being threatened by him for a tree. I dont think we can take much more. I would like to see his ass go underground or to a strip job site and see HARD WORK first hand. like I said he is a joke.

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