-H/t Kenny Solomon
“So if somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them…”—-Barack Obama speaking to San Francisco Chronicle, January 2008
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. Patriot Coal. Arch Coal. Walter Energy. What do these coal companies all have in common? They have all filed for bankruptcy. Now we have the world’s largest private-sector coal producer filing for bankruptcy as well.
St. Louis based Peabody Energy. I love their stock exchange symbol: BTU. But that symbol won’t help them, for as we all know then-senator Obama promised to bankrupt coal. And it’s probably the only true statement he’s made during his presidency.
Take a look at this chart from the Wall Street Journal:
Notice U.S. coal production peaked just about the time Obama took office and has been in a steady down turn since. Yes, part of it is the price of commodities is down. But we all know the bulk has been the onerous and nearly impossible-to-satisfy costs put on these companies by Obama and his alphabet soup agencies, mostly EPA and BLM.
I won’t go into a lot of detail about Peabody’s financial situation, but they owe about $1 billion more than they have assets and their intention is business as usual.
Peabody was started in 1883 by Francis Peabody, selling coal out of the back of a mule-drawn wagon. Now its building in downtown St. Louis is a landmark. The coal giant has been the target of many environmentalists, including one in 2011 that fell flat on its face.
Coal has been such a part of our lives. It powered trains and ships. My grandparents home was heated by coal and I can remember as a child deliveries coming to their house. Coal has been the life-blood of many states, mainly Kentucky and West Virginia, where there aren’t many opportunities for other lines of work when miners are layed off. Coal powers millions of homes in the United States. Without it, there’s no electricity.
But as our coal companies go out of business, China and Japan are building them as fast as they can. Japan has 43 coal-fired plants under construction to replace their nuke plants. And China, according to the Institute for Energy Research:
China added 39 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity in 2014 — 3 gigawatts more than it added in 2013. That is equivalent to three 1,000 megawatt units every four weeks.[v] At the peak, from 2005 through 2011, China added about two 600-megawatt coal plants a week, for 7 straight years. And, China is expected to add the equivalent of a new 600-megawatt plant every 10 days for the next 10 years. These new coal plants that China is constructing are more efficient and cleanerthan their old coal-fired plants.[vi]
Of course the environmentalists are ecstatic, and voiced their pleasure on twitter:
— YEARS (@YEARSofLIVING) April 14, 2016
Now these same environmentalists are “worried” about what the consequences will be if and when mines are vacated, i.e. how will the environment be damaged. One person most troubled is Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). So far companies vacating their mines have been very good with making sure cleanup doesn’t do any damage. But I have this salient remark for Senator Cantwell and all the others who absolutely hate fossil fuels:
You guys created the problem, so you’ll have to live with it without complaining.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks