Well, your ability to guess why the Murray Energy Corporation today announced that it is closing a mine in Brilliant, Ohio will be largely dependent on whether you rely on local news or not. If you’re just paying attention to local news… you won’t be told at all why a coal mine that employed 239 people at its peak laid off 24 of its remaining 56 employees today, with the remaining to be (hopefully) integrated into the company elsewhere; in fact, you won’t even be told that the mine employed that many people directly. But if you go to the company’s own press release… yeah. That’s a different story.
Regulatory actions by President Barack Obama and his appointees and followers were cited as the entire reason. “Mr. Obama has already destroyed 83,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity generation in America,” said Mr. Michael T. W. Carey, Vice President of Government Affairs for Murray Energy. “Electric prices in the recent PJM Interconnection monthly auction were bid up 800 percent (8 times) for 2015-2016 because of this,” he added.
“At its peak, OhioAmerican employed 239 local people in high-paying, well-benefited jobs,” said Mr. Stanley T. Piasecki, General Manager and Superintendent. “University studies show that our Mines can create up to eleven (11) secondary jobs in our communities, for store clerks, teachers, etc., to serve our direct employees. Thus, if one uses the eleven (11) to one (1) multiplier, the Obama Administration has destroyed 2,868 jobs in eastern Ohio with this forced Mine closure,” stated Mr. Piasecki.
Although, to be fair, the local news article did at least link to the press release; it also mentioned another set of layoffs (29) at Murray’s Powhatan No. 6 mine in Alledonia, OH. They just forgot to note that Murray Energy squarely laid the blame for that closure too on the Obama Administration’s War on Coal. And make no mistake: this administration hates coal.
In a fine bit of irony, the President will actually be campaigning in Ohio Wednesday*. I wonder what the odds are that somebody who will be losing (either directly or indirectly) a good-paying job because of the current regulatory regime will be in the crowd. I also wonder whether any of those people will get the opportunity to object to the President’s top-down, hideously ineffective way of driving economic policy. I don’t wonder how petulant President Obama would be in response.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*In an even finer bit of irony, President Obama will be touching down at a base that may go under the axe if the next set of defense cuts goes through. And if you don’t think that base closings loom large in this era of chronic high unemployment, anemic economic growth, and no budgets… well, the Beltway can insulate a person from those sorts of plebeian concerns, yes.