Carrying out 2008 campaign promises.
Tuesday afternoon, OhioAmerican Energy announced the closure of it Brilliant coal mine in eastern Ohio’s Jefferson County, where the unemployment rate in June was 10.2%, the ninth-highest in the Buckeye State and almost three points higher than the state’s not seasonally adjusted average.
What is especially noteworthy is the stated reason for its closure, as seen in the headline and sub-headline in the company’s announcement:
OHIOAMERICAN ENERGY, INC. COAL MINING OPERATION CLOSED IN EASTERN OHIO
ACTIONS OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CITED AS THE REASON
The press release’s content elaborated in great detail:
… Regulatory actions by President Barack Obama and his appointees and followers were cited as the entire reason. “Mr. Obama has already destroyed 83,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity generation in America,” said Mr. Michael T. W. Carey, Vice President of Government Affairs for Murray Energy. “Electric prices in the recent PJM Interconnection monthly auction were bid up 800 percent (8 times) for 2015-2016 because of this,” he added.
“At its peak, OhioAmerican employed 239 local people in high-paying, well-benefited jobs,” said Mr. Stanley T. Piasecki, General Manager and Superintendent. “University studies show that our Mines can create up to eleven (11) secondary jobs in our communities, for store clerks, teachers, etc., to serve our direct employees. Thus, if one uses the eleven (11) to one (1) multiplier, the Obama Administration has destroyed 2,868 jobs in eastern Ohio with this forced Mine closure,” stated Mr. Piasecki.
“This is a sad day for all of us, and particularly Mr. Robert E. Murray, the Founder of OhioAmerican,” said Mr. Piasecki. “He is so distraught that he came to the Mine and personally announced the layoffs to each of the employees,” he added.
“Mr. Murray created OhioAmerican, and our production began in May, 2007,” said Mr. Piasecki. The Mine was intended to last for at least ten (10) years. Now we have been forced by our own Country’s President and his followers and supporters to permanently close the operation,” added Mr. Piasecki.
… “There will be additional layoffs, not only at Murray Energy, but also throughout the United States coal industry due to Mr. Obama’s ‘War on Coal‘ and the destruction that it has caused to so many jobs and families in the Ohio Valley area and elsewhere,” said Mr. Murray. “Both Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden stated that there would be ‘no coal in America’ prior to their elections,” said Mr. Piasecki. “They are making good on their intentions while they destroy so many lives and family livelihoods in this area for no benefit whatsoever,” he concluded.
Moe Lane at RedState noted Tuesday evening that TV station WRTF across the Ohio River in Wheeling, West Virginia carried a four-paragraph report at its web site which treated the closure as just another unfortunate economic event.
The station had to be reacting to the company’s press release. Regardless of whether one agrees with the company’s position, how can its blunt assertions not be the story? Don’t the people of eastern Ohio and the West Virginia’s northern panhandle deserve to be directly informed of the company’s claims without having to dig further?
Fortunately, the Wheeling, West Virginia Intelligencer (“Murray Cuts 29 Coal Jobs”) didn’t shirk its responsibility to its readers. Its opening sentence: “Blaming the Obama administration’s ‘war on coal,’ Murray Energy Corp. is cutting 29 union coal mining jobs at The Ohio Valley Coal Co.’s Powhatan No. 6 Mine.” It would have been better if the opening had stated that these job cuts relate to a closure. That said, if it weren’t for the Intelligencer, the company’s contentions might still not be known.
Reporter Casey Junkins also noted that the company and the United Mineworkers of America have had past disputes over worker discipline and productivity at the mine. How sad, and from all appearances totally unnecessary, that they’ll never get the chance to work these matters out, or get back to annually producing the 2,000,000 tons of coal they once did.