So-called ‘war on coal’ never hap­pened

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - OPINION - KURT OHBERG,

The AJC’s ar­ti­cle on the EPA direc­tor’s in­tent to over­ride the Clean Power Plan starts with “War on coal is over,” News, Oct. 10. I read the ar­ti­cle look­ing specif­i­cally for your refu­ta­tion of the myth that Pres­i­dent Obama ini­ti­ated any such “war.” The de­cline of the coal industry be­gan many decades ago as newer forms of more cost-ef­fec­tive en­ergy pro­duc­tion over­took it, just as it had over­taken wood. The steam lo­co­mo­tive his­tory is a clas­sic case; coal re­placed wood but oil be­gan re­plac­ing coal to run the rail­roads a cen­tury ago. With the fed­eral and state reg­u­la­tions on air pol­lu­tion start­ing in 1955 or ear­lier, the col­lapse of do­mes­tic steel pro­duc­tion start­ing in the late 1970’s, and most re­cently the boom in cheap nat­u­ral gas, the fate of coal was sealed long be­fore cli­mate change. Coal is falling to the forces of the mar­ket, and at­tempts to turn that back are lit­tle more than an over­bear­ing gov­ern­ment in­ter­fer­ing with free en­ter­prise. These are some of the facts of the mat­ter and I would ex­pect a news­pa­per of the AJC’s cal­i­bre to call out the lie of a “war on coal.”

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