Coal miners in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Virginia are losing their jobs in part because of onerous federal regulations. But news of fresh layoffs by Alpha Natural Resources was shuttled to page A16 by Washington Post editors.
According to Post staffer Steve Mufson, Alpha Natural Resources will lay off 160 mineworkers and abandon eight mines in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia this week. Alpha is “the largest coal producer by revenue and third-largest in production.” Talk about President Obama being on the side of workers.
The company still relies on the U.S. market, so the usual liberal narratives of outsourcing destroying the American working man doesn’t work here. It’s due to “cheap new U.S. natural gas supplies, a weak economy, and environmental regulations.” Yeah, might those be regulations that Obama promised would kill new coal-producing plants back in 2008 to placate the environmental left? For his part, Mufson leaves that issue unexplored and, indeed, fails to consider any of the political dimensions of such job losses just weeks before the November election in a stagnant economy.
The regulatory onslaught on behalf of the EPA is nothing new. Back in 2011, Investors Business Daily published a column showing that the new regulations would be a job killing policy that could cost over a million jobs. In fact, “Steven Miller, CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, warns of job losses totaling 1.4 million over the next eight years and a 23% jump in electricity rates in states dependent on coal-fired plants. Well, Obama did promise he would make energy prices ‘necessarily skyrocket."
Another point within Mufson's September 19 story is that the job cuts with Alpha will be much larger. To cut $150 million in overhead costs, the company will need to cut another 800 jobs in the near future. But at least “none of the Alpha layoffs affected union membership.”
That's a relief! We wouldn't want Obama-friendly labor unions to suffer job losses in the sour Obama economy! A story like that might only get buried on page A4.