Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources announced today that it is “eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide, including 400 with the immediate closing of eight mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” The Associated Press reports. Company officials cite “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal” for the closures, adding to the growing list of American energy producers who say the Obama administration’s excessive red tape has contributed to thousands of recent layoffs. Here’s more:
- “Murray Energy's Ohio Valley Coal Subsidiary Lays Off 29 Hourly Workers” “Ohio Valley Coal Co., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. in Pepper Pike, said it has laid off 29 hourly workers at its Powhatan No. 6 Mine in Belmont County, Ohio — a move it blames on ‘the excessive and unnecessary regulatory actions of the Obama administration.’ … He [Ronald Koontz, general manager of Ohio Valley Coal] continued…‘The failed energy policies of the Obama administration and the ‘war on coal’ that the president and his Democrat supporters have unleashed are the direct cause of this layoff.’” (Crain’s Cleveland Business, 7/20/12)
- “Two Coal Companies Downsize” “Two area coal companies announced layoffs Friday, saying weakened coal demand and an aggressive regulatory structure forced the idling of several mines. … ‘[T]he escalating costs and uncertainty generated by recently advanced [energy] regulations and interpretations have created a challenging business climate for the entire coal industry,’ he [PBS President and CEO D. Lynn Shanks] said in the statement.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/20/12)
- “Coal Jobs Cut; Consol, Others Scaling Back” “[C]ompany officials are laying off 318 West Virginia coal miners, citing pressure from federal environmental regulators. Consol is not alone in reducing its coal operations in West Virginia, as Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources also announced recently plans to cut back their work forces throughout the Mountain State. All three companies blame [federal regulations] for causing a downturn in coal demand, citing this as the reason for reducing their coal operations.” (The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, 7/8/12)
- “Coal Industry Sheds Jobs, Leaving Eastern Kentucky Economy in Tatters” “The impact of an estimated 2,000 mining layoffs this year is hitting home across the mountainous coal counties of Eastern Kentucky. … Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, said whether the rules are in place or coming, ‘the uncertainty they have created in the industry and the reduction they will cause in our power generation market have already begun to take their toll.’ Utilities are deciding to retire coal-burning power plants because of the costs they would face to keep them in service under pending emissions rules, Popovich said.” (Lexington Herald-Leader, 7/29/12)
- “Arch Coal to Cut 750 Jobs” “Arch Coal announced it is idling several operations and reducing production at others. The company said these and other recent changes will result in a total workforce reduction of about 750 full-time employees. … That, combined with what coal officials say is an uncertain regulatory environment…is a driving force behind the recent job cuts.” (Charleston Daily Mail, 6/21/12)
The Obama administration’s war on coal is costing jobs and forcing American energy producers to shift “their attention to markets overseas, where coal-fired power plants are being built faster than they are being abandoned in the United States,” says The New York Times. House Republicans are taking action on the Stop the War on Coal Act this week to protect American jobs by blocking some of the Obama administration’s most damaging new regulations and holding the administration accountable for the economic impact of several others. The House has already passed numerous bills aimed at eliminating the excessive regulations that are blocking American energy production and costing jobs. It is up to Senate Democrats to act on these and the more than 30 other bipartisan, House-passed jobs bills they are stalling.