By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA

If you have followed the news recently, you have seen plenty of stories discussing the dangers of CO2, its role in global warming and how coal-fired power plants are the “biggest contributors” to the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. You have seen protests by passionate environmentalists, who claim the end of the world is upon us if we don’t shut down coal plants today. If you have been on the internet, you have seen no end of articles and posts about the evils of coal and how important it is to “go green.”

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself who is paying for all these anti-coal messages? Have you ever wondered who is paying the bill for all these rallies, protests, ads and internet posts? And more so, have you ever wondered why they are paying for them? The answer is simple … it is the natural gas industry, the nuclear industry and, of course, the Big Green industry.

Why are they doing this?

Again, the answer is simple – to make money down the road.

Think about it… who benefits from shutting down coal-fired electric plants? Let’s make a list. First, let’s start with the natural gas industry.

Why would the natural gas industry want to shut down coal-fired electricity?

Well, let’s start with the fracking revolution. A few years ago, technology was developed that allowed for boom in natural gas and oil drilling in this country. Combined with the Canadian tar sands, this led to the rapid development of huge surpluses in oil and gas inventories. Prices dropped and the industry clearly needed to expand its markets.

Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon saw an opportunity to use environmentalists to push a competing fuel – one that had proven itself cheap and reliable and had essentially cornered much of the electric generation market in the U.S. and around the world – out of the market, which would give the gas industry a huge opportunity to claim that market for itself.

McClendon donated $26 million to the radical environmentalist organization, the Sierra Club to use to begin an anti-coal public relations campaign, which became the “Beyond Coal” campaign. Suddenly a marketing blitz happened, with the Sierra Club and its constituent groups pushing the need to shutter coal plants.

McClendon and other gas companies, in turn, started marketing gas as the “cleaner alternative” and both groups started aggressively supporting “green” political candidates, such as Barack Obama. The nuclear generation industry was likewise suffering from a public relations problem – few people wanted a nuclear power plant in their neighborhoods and there was a need to reinvent nuclear as an “alternative.”

And then of course you had the nascent “green energy” industry, which was struggling to gain a foothold. It had a number of significant investors whose motivation was to make money in this new segment of energy.  As long as price was the only concern, coal would never lose its commanding market position. So, they had to find a way to overcome coal’s price advantage. So through an unholy alliance of the natural gas industry, the nuclear industry, the “green” industry, environmental groups and opportunistic politicians, the die was cast.

The coal industry had to be brought to its knees and coal-fired power plants had to be shuttered. Natural gas, nuclear and alternative energy needed to peel away coal’s share of the energy generation market.  They were willing to pay for it and the environmental groups and politicians like Obama were more than willing to take the money and push the “green agenda.” It fit very well with their ideas of redistribution of wealth – which is in essence taking money from me and you and putting it in their pockets.

The result was the multi-pronged “war on coal” – pushed by the radical environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Earth First, etc. and paid for by the coal’s competition. The second prong of the assault was the political one in which coal’s competing industries donated big money to Obama and other “green candidates” with the return on investment being a regulatory push to shut down the coal plants and force utilities to turn to natural gas, nuclear and green energy.

Of course it was all sold as “environmental justice” and part of the broader effort to confront the bogeyman of climate change. With the election of Obama in 2008, the plan shifted into high gear and for the past six years it has been a sustained assault on coal and coal miners. Of course it didn’t matter to Obama because most of the states that mined coal were red or leaning red states that he couldn’t count as part of his “coalition.”

So like any good Chicago politician, he rewarded his friends (natural gas, nuclear and green energy) and punished his enemies (coal – particularly eastern coal). So yes, there is a war on coal. It is being pursued for one motivation – money. When you peel away all the high-minded rhetoric, you are left with the reality – this is about nothing more than corporate manipulation of the politics and economy of this nation.

I am not sure about you, but I don’t like being lied to and used, especially by politicians who claim to represent the “working man” but line their pockets while killing jobs.

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