Michael Bloomberg urged the Trump administration to “quit conning coal communities” in his May 3 Washington Forum commentary [“Quit conning coal communities”] , but he failed to follow his own advice. He cited market competition for the decline in coal industry jobs but conveniently omitted the regulatory onslaught that has forced 20 percent of coal power generation capacity to close since 2011. Academic studies and federal data both testify to the severe economic impact from the anti-coal regulations he has supported. Setting aside the Clean Power Plan alone would preserve 242 million tons of annual coal production and save 27,700 high-wage jobs required to mine it. If coal’s falling fortunes were the inevitable result of competition from natural gas, why did his Bloomberg Foundation need to lavish $100 million on surrogates to advance coal-killing regulations and litigation that have contributed to the loss of 62,000 mining jobs since 2011? He distracted readers from all this by blaming the decline in mining employment on productivity improvements since 1980. What industry still competitive today has not improved its productivity? The facts show that coal employment was increasing for almost a decade until anti-coal regulations took hold in 2011. Mr. Bloomberg’s faux concern for coal miners is a bit rich in view of his job-destroying investments and his patronizing retort to Mark Zuckerberg: “You’re not going to teach a coal miner to code.”
Hal Quinn, Washington
The writer is president and chief executive of
the National Mining Association.