Coal company gets in on the election fun, blaming EPA for mine layoffs
More bad news from the coal industry, reeling at the hands of Barack “I hate coal so so much” Obama.
From the AP:
Consol Energy told 145 workers in southern West Virginia on Tuesday that it will start laying them off in late December because of a dispute over permits for surface mining related to the King Coal Highway project.
The Pittsburgh-based coal producer said it plans to idle its Miller Creek operations in Mingo County, which include Wiley Surface Mine, Wiley Creek Surface Mine, Minway Surface Mine, Minway Preparation Plant, and Miller Creek Administration Group. …
Consol has sought U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permits to redirect the Mingo County operations to mine land that would then become a 5-mile stretch of the King Coal Highway. The agency has raised several concerns about the Buffalo Mountain mining operation, including its planned burial of several area streams.
DeIuliis noted that while the EPA had relented in objecting to one of the two permits sought, “that permit alone is not sufficient to allow miners to begin work.”
Come on, EPA! Consol Energy is just trying to make a buck, create some jobs, bury some streams, that kind of thing. And you’re being a bummer, because Obama. Super lame.
That AP story, as Ken Ward notes, didn’t include an EPA response. This morning, they provided one.
EPA is not aware of any outstanding permitting issues for the Miller Creek mine, where Consol Energy has announced that layoffs are occurring. Review of the company’s Buffalo Mountain mining project is a high-priority for EPA. The Agency is actively working with the State of West Virginia and Consol, and with its partner federal agencies, to assess impacts on water quality from mining, and is meeting with CONSOL to review its mining plans.
Oh. Um. Hm.
A cynical person would wonder why an energy company which has spent over $1 million giving to largely Republican candidates would announce December layoffs a week before Election Day. But that person would be cynical and obviously not aware of the War on Coal, which is as real as clean coal.
There is some good news. There is precedent for Consol very quietly putting those miners back to work.
In September, news broke that the Buchanan Mine in southwestern Virginia, owned by Consol Energy, was temporarily laying off most of the its 620 employees. … But last week, Pittsburgh-based Consol issued a press release indicating that it is reopening the Buchanan mine. The mine will reopen during the week of the election. The announcement has gotten little coverage outside of this story in the local newspaper.
Of course not. That’s not the sort of news that’s worthy of AP coverage, of course. It’s just job creators creatin’ jobs.