Let the Coal Industry Compete

To the Editor:

The Coal Industry Isn’t Coming Back,” by Michael E. Webber (Op-Ed, Nov. 16), suggests that the decline in coal has been due to “cheap natural gas, cheap renewables” and “regulations that got their start in the George W. Bush administration,” and that the coal industry is waiting to be saved.

King University recently found that natural gas accounted for the loss of only 20 million tons in coal demand before 2013. On the other hand, 105 million tons in lower yearly coal production resulted from Environmental Protection Agency regulations that took hold after 2012.

Looking ahead, the government’s Clean Power Plan would double the number of coal plants closed. And the pending stream-protection rule would make one-half or more of total coal reserves off limits to mining. Without those rules, coal production would increase and stabilize, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Far from looking for a savior, the coal industry simply wants to compete on a level playing field with natural gas and what Mr. Webber calls cheap renewables — cheap, thanks largely to big government subsidies. Scaling back disruptive and damaging regulations will do much to accomplish this.

HAL QUINN

President and Chief Executive

National Mining Association

See the article here.