December 15, 2013
The underlying economy of West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia is COAL. The EPA’s regulations in regards to the coal industry have clearly had a negative impact on our region’s and our nation’s ability to use coal to generate electricity. And now, we face even more restrictive emissions regulations that are soon to be implemented, which will further reduce the use of coal.
With all of this said, several leading investment advisors are recommending investors buy stocks tied to the coal and railroad industries. How can this be, if EPA regulations, past, present and future are designed to lessen or eliminate the use of coal?
The reason is simple. These investment advisors see the world-wide demand for and the use of coal growing tremendously beginning in 2017. The increased demand and use of coal is expected to be so great, that by 2020, coal will be the world’s number one source of energy. Coal will be the world currency the same as oil is today.
Herein lies the problem. The EPA’s rules and regulations regarding the coal industry have led to major mine closings and large numbers of skilled and trained miners being layed-off or losing their job entirely. If the EPA goes ahead with their stricter emissions regulations, we can only expect more of the same. With the anticipated coal boom being three years away, we can’t expect these miners to sit idly by until then. They have hills to pay and families to feed. They are either going to find employment in another field or they will move away from the coalfields in an attempt to find employment. This would severely hamper our region’s coal companies’ efforts to position themselves to take advantage of this anticipated coal boom of 2017.
Our suggestion is that the EPA delay the implementation of their “industry killing” emissions regulations by three or four years. This would hopefully help avoid any further mine closings or lay-offs of miners and put the coal industry on track to take advantage of the projected world-wide increase of the demand for coal.
The rising use of coal is already taking place in Germany, Japan and India. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently christened the first coal fired plant to open in Germany in eight years and 10 more coal fired plants are scheduled to open in the next two years. Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant suffered a meltdown as a result of the 2011 tsunami. Plans to replace this plant along with the rest of Japan’s nuclear power plants have already started, with the expected completion of the first one in 2020. India is seeking to import 5 million tons of coal now to support their countries increasing demand.
Again, let us suggest a solution. Delay the implementation of the stricter EPA emissions regulations by three or four years. This would give needed stability to the coal industry and help put these companies in a position to thrive when 2017 rolls around. Mines could stay open, miners could stay employed, associated service industries and businesses would also thrive as they could continue in their ability to support the coal industry and the coal miner’s families. Tax revenues would increase and local economies would grow if these regulations could be held off for just this little while.
We need our elected officials, Governors, Senators and Representatives, to speak to President Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarty to insist on this delay.
If you agree, take the time to call or write President Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarty and the Governors, Senators and Representatives of all three of our region’s coal producing states. Let them know that you are concerned about the future of our region and our nation. Let them know what the coal industry and all of the associated support industries and businesses mean to the continued success and viability of our region, our communities and our families. Send that letter or make that call. An email is okay, but a letter or a phone call makes it more personal, from a concerned citizen and voter to an elected official.
K.A. Ammar Jr.