In September 2020, at the first presidential debate between him and President Donald Trump, Democratic nominee Joe Biden infamously declared, “Nobody’s going to build another coal-fired power plant in America” if he won the White House against Trump.
Even with comments like this, the United Mine Workers of America endorsed Biden for president. It was a head-scratcher, for sure.
Biden and the Democrats hate coal, and they hate mining. Their endgame agenda is to put every miner in America out of a job. The Biden Interior Department is vetoing most mining permit applications.
But why did the UMWA president, Cecil Roberts, endorse a presidential candidate who promised to put his members out of work? There was never a good answer except that the union bosses are willing to sacrifice the jobs of their own dues-paying members to advance the cause of big government socialism.
I suspect no one ever asked the workers themselves which candidate they supported. I strongly suspect that, like the preponderance of blue-collar workers, most miners voted for Trump. But unions don’t even pretend anymore to be democratic institutions, which is why they don’t want members to be voting on just about anything — least of all whether they want to stay in the union.
Biden has kept his promise of doing all he can to destroy mining, and so many mining jobs are disappearing. Biden says condescendingly that these unemployed workers can be retrained to make wind turbines. Uh-huh.
But Roberts’ treachery was doubled when he recently endorsed the energy/health care law negotiated by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act that Biden recently signed into law pipelines tens of billions of dollars into the coffers of the hopelessly inefficient green energy industry in order to kill coal. Period.
For the union bosses to endorse this bill put the interests of their members last.
But Roberts didn’t apologize. He dismissed these criticisms of the bill as “absolute bull.” He wrote in a public statement defending the bill:
“Those who are attacking this legislation … overlook some pretty obvious benefits of this bill to West Virginia coal miners, like the billions in tax credits for the application of Carbon Capture and Storage technology, which would allow coal-fired power plants to extend their lives for decades. This is one of the first times Congress can actually take steps to support the coal industry, which few ever expected.”
“I cannot understand how any politicians who actually care about working West Virginians and the quality of their lives can trash this bill.”
But there is hardly a word of truth in that statement. The law won’t extend the life of the coal industry. It is an issuance of the last rites.
If ever there were an example of union bosses looking after themselves and not the best interests of the men and women they are supposed to represent, it is this. He may take some solace that the last job in the industry that will be sacrificed at the Left’s altar of climate change religion will be his. Probably, Roberts is feeling confident he will be taken care of by the environmental groups that will get rich off a bill that sticks a dagger into the back of coal miners.
The Left has made a big deal about a blue-green alliance. By this, they mean that blue-collar workers have a common interest with green environmentalists. Yes, these have the same common interests as the frog and the scorpion. The green groups have spent two decades trying to flatten the coal industry. Despite their best efforts, we get more than one-quarter of our electric power from coal.
Incidentally, the Left hasn’t succeeded in reducing coal consumption. They’ve simply moved the jobs out of West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wyoming to China and the rest of Asia. That really helps the planet.
Perhaps the union was simply bought off by the leftist interest groups.
Other AFL-CIO affiliates have made the same boneheaded decisions. Pipefitters, steel workers, construction workers, auto workers, truckers and many other hard-hat unions are putting themselves in similar peril.
The anti-industrial green movement will lead to higher energy costs for every union across the country. The jobs will be shipped off to China — which doesn’t care about climate change and where miners make perhaps $2 an hour.
The Left calls this an “energy transition.” At the end of that transition, there will be no American coal produced and no coal workers to produce it.
Biden was wrong about “no one producing coal” when he became president. And there are new coal jobs out there. But they are in China, which is building 43 massive new coal plants right now.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at Freedom Works. He is also author of the new book: “Govzilla: How The Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy.” To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.