New mines little help for miners

An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register 

WHEELING, W.Va. — It was big, national news this week: Despite all the doom and gloom talk from the coal industry, two brand new mines are opening in Appalachia. Two of them, one in West Virginia and the other in nearby Virginia, will employ about 400 people.

That many have lost their jobs in this area of the Ohio Valley alone because of President Barack Obama’s war on the coal industry and affordable electricity.

Make no mistake about it: It is wonderful news. Perhaps some of the thousands of southern West Virginia miners laid off when their mines closed during the past few years can find work at the new operations.

But discussing the new mines in the context of Obama’s very successful vendetta is talking apples and oranges, as any miner understands.

Neither of the new mines will suffer from the White House drive to shut down coal-fired power plants, because the two will not produce a pound of coal for that purpose. The mines are intended to ship metallurgical coal such as that used to produce coke for steelmaking. The market for that fuel remains relatively strong.

But only about one-fifth of the coal produced in the United States goes to coking operations. Good times there are no help to the vast majority of miners — and their communities.

Despite how the story was played in much of the news media, it is irrelevant to most in the coal industry.

No doubt that will not prevent the radical environmentalists from claiming the coal industry is engaged in scare tactics. Sadly, any cries of “wolf” now are well-founded.

To read more from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, click here. http://www.theintelligencer.net/

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