Despite Obama’s Willingness to ‘Bankrupt’ Coal, Broadcast Networks Continue to Ignore Story

June 11th, 2012 2:15 PM

President Barack Obama may have gotten the U.S. out of the war in Iraq, but at home he’s declared war on an entire industry, one that the whole country depends on. But unlike most wars, this one hasn’t gotten much coverage on the broadcast news networks.

During the past year ABC, CBS, and NBC have sporadically mentioned coal industry in their newscasts, but have outright ignored Obama’s war on coal. Much like in the past, the majority of the reports focused either on the danger of coal mining or climate change. Out of 13 news reports mentioning the coal industry this past year, only one sentence on CBS “Morning News” even connected Obama’s regulation to the industry.

Why would coal mining communities have a problem with Obama? Because he’s using environmental regulation to attack a major source of jobs and electricity, just as he said he would. In 2008, Obama said his plans would force electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” He also made it clear, “If somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can -- it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

In 2011, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency “rescinded a valid clean water permit for a coal mine,” according to The New York Times.

In spite of this, the networks continue to ignore the story. But major newspapers have been paying attention.

Even liberal leaning news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, who have favored environmentalists over the coal industry in the past, have reported this story. Just in the last month, The Times has reported that the coal industry is “under siege” and “threatened by new regulations from Washington.”

A front-page story in the June 4 Post said voters in Pennsylvania “coal country” “see Obama as unfriendly to fossil fuels.” Why? His Keystone XL decision as well as “the administration’s tougher regulations on pollutants from coal-fired power plants.”

Another Post story about Obama’s reelection campaign noted: “In Appalachia, many people are angry at the Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to mining, arguing that the Obama administration has made it more difficult for people in coal country to make ends meet.”

To those who think that this war affects only the coal communities running along the Appalachia, think again. Coal still provides roughly one-third of the nation’s power, according to The Times. “Just four years ago it was providing nearly half,” the paper said. Anything that constricts supply or increases the cost of production will eventually result in higher electric bills for all Americans.

Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, wrote on June 11 that “Just one of the many anti-coal rules, Utility MACT, by itself is expected to raise electric bills for homes and businesses more than 20 percent in the Midwest.”

Obama likes to claim he has created millions of jobs, yet he has made a point to attack an industry that in 2011 directly employed 134,000 and created 3.5 more jobs for each coal mining job, according to the National Mining Association.