More Coal Subsidies

Do you think that solar and wind generation are only competitive because they are heavily subsidized?  Don’t think the US coal industry is heavily subsidized?

Take a look at this investigative report from Howard Berkes and Ellen Smith.  Here is the heart of their story:

A joint investigation by NPR and Mine Safety and Health News found that thousands of mine operators fail to pay safety penalties, even as they continue to manage dangerous — and sometimes deadly — mining operations. Most unpaid penalties are between two and 10 years overdue; some go back two decades. And federal regulators seem unable or unwilling to make mine owners pay.

Our joint investigation looked at 20 years of federal mine data through the first quarter of 2014, including details about fines, payments, violations and injuries. We used raw Department of Labor data and delinquency records provided by the Mine Safety and Health Administration to calculate the number of injuries and injury rates, and violations and gravity of violations, at mines with delinquent penalties while they were delinquent.

Coal that “keeps your lights on” is subsidized by millions of dollars in unpaid fines that your tax dollars fund, as well as the lives of miners who die needlessly in outlaw mining operations that the US government allows to keep mining coal.  And this subsidy is paid in human lives and injuries, year in and year out.

How can anyone say that WV’s 96% coal-fired electricity is “cheap”?


3 thoughts on “More Coal Subsidies

  1. It is bad enough that coal is subsidized, granted priority status by state fiat and fails to provide working conditions that the great majority of us would call nearly unbearable and miserably unsafe. Yet, when it comes to enforcement of safety codes and fines for failing to meet them, the mine operators skate past them with impunity. Is this what we have come to – a place where human lives and suffering means less than profits? This situation is more than sad; it is criminal. and needs to be rectified now at both the state and federal level.

  2. Don’t forget government subsidized transportation for maintenance of roads and waterways for coal trucks and barges, and the soot, dirt and dust coating towns and houses from the trucks passing incessantly. Not to mention truck accidents, often fatal.

  3. Great comments all and the list goes on to where it is far too obvious to ignore the gross largess the coal industry enjoys in WV to the detriment of everyone else, this is a travesty that has endured far too long.

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