Coal Must Find a Way to Compete

Washington PA Observer Reporter
1 October 2012
Letter to editor

I see the coal industry is once again complaining about regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama administration, but in the real world what goes around comes around.

King Coal once enjoyed top billing, no environmental regulations, company stores and police in the company-built mining towns. King Coal had great power, and this power was greatly abused, resulting in the birth of the United Mine Workers and government agencies and regulations.

Now, coal is facing competition from an abundant and allegedly cleaner energy source, natural gas. There is nothing abnormal about any of this. It is as American as apple pie. The scythe gave way to the mower, the horse gave way to the automobile and the typewriter is now the word processor. Coal continues to play a major role in building America, but let’s not forget that the Kentucky Long Rifle once played a major role in defending it.

Coal is no different than any other American industry. It must find a way to compete, or it must fall by history’s wayside. And the ability of coal to compete can no longer, in today’s world, rest on the shoulders of lobbyists and a strategy of deregulation. The ability to compete must now be rooted in technological innovation and new marketing strategies, and the extraction/burning processes must continue to be cleaner with less adverse impact.

Coal has never been renewable, but it has been replaceable since the day God put it in the ground.

Martin Niverth