My father spent over 20 years working in the coal mines of southwestern Illinois. He could undoubtedly talk circles around any of our elected officials on the topic of coal – on energy, safety, technology, and so on.
[Pictured here: my father, mom, sister, and me, Christmas 1985, early in my father’s coal mining career.]
During those 20 years, my father saw a lot of developments around coal. Now retired, he follows the issue closely to this day, as Recording Secretary for United Mine Workers of America’s Local 1820.
My father joined a few hundred others last week and boarded a bus in St Louis for the long ride to Pennsylvania, where he and thousands of others expressed their disappointment with the EPA.
It’s a complicated issue, and even those without a family connection to coal should take a serious look at it. To that end, an editorial in today’s Washington Times is worth a read. Excerpted here: Coal miners: the forgotten men.
A hundred years have passed since the American economist William Graham Sumner described “the forgotten man” of society. “He works, he votes, generally he prays — but he always pays.” A century on, there is no better description of the thousands of Americans who have toiled for generations in America’s coal mines, and who are now paying dearly for the energy follies of President Obama.
The White House has been scheming to “bankrupt” coal, a plentiful and affordable source of energy, to make way for the trendier alternatives that win the applause and admiration of billionaires from New York and San Francisco. They never have to think about their impact on coal country.
This past weekend, several thousand forgotten men marched in Pittsburgh to protest the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to further reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants — a policy intended as a death sentence for coal.
Read the whole piece here.