The Continuous Downfall Of The American Coal Industry
Whenever you hear about coal, you probably hear something called “clean coal.” This is a term that was invented to convince people that you can burn coal and have less carbon emissions that “regular coal.” This logic that I can compare Marlboro Reds to Marlboro Lights. They both do equal damage no matter what you call them.
What you should pay attention to is how our current administration is calling for more factories to be built for coal. The sad fact for them is that the coal industry is going the way of the Dodo bird. Alternative energy is quickly taking over as the main source of energy in the world. Oil and coal are dying. Wind, solar, tidal, and more alternative sources of energy will soon be the norm.
Take a look at what is currently happening and what will happen to the coal industry in the United States:
Here’s what all of that means above:
So far this year through April, 4,600 megawatts of coal has been removed from the grid, and 7,700 MW are expected to follow suit during the remainder of the year, for a total of 12.3 gigawatts (not a small number, any way to slice it). This year’s closures will represent about 1/3 of all the coal shut downs since 2010. Sadly, the rate is expected to slow down after that, with 7,300 MW expected to go belly up in 2016, and another 7,000 MW planned between 2017 and 2022. (Via Treehugger)
And here’s a look at the top 10 coal producers in America, and who’s shutting down what.
A documentary called From The Ashes takes a look at the history of coal up to the present use of it.
“We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know how hard it was gonna be. We’re losin’ everything,” Regina Lilly, wife of a West Virginia coal miner who was laid off soon after their child was born, said in the documentary.
When a coal mining plant close and chooses a different location to mine, it leaves entire towns looking for a new way to pay the bills. This leaves the town looking at for people to blame, but the real thing to blame is that the industry is dying, and they’re looking for ways to get the last bit of the industry to line their corporate pockets.
“It’s just heartbreaking now that they closed down they take their workers’ pensions, they take their retirements, their savings, anything they had in the company. They file bankruptcy…As long as they got their money in their pocket they don’t care,” said Lilly.
John Oliver recently had an entire segment of his show Last Week Tonight figuratively dropkicking the coal industry, in which he uses the documentary a lot to prove his points.
I wrote an article a few months ago displaying statistics that show oil and coal are being dominated by new energy, but it’s still devastating to see families suffering from the closing of the plants, and putting their faith in lying politicians who promised the return of a near extinct form of energy to return.
The documentary From The Ashes is now available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. It’s only $2.99, but trust me, it’s worth a watch. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford it, just give the John Oliver segment another viewing.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.