Coal Important for Toledo and Nation

Via The Toledo Blade:

Everyone has their routine, something they do automatically, every day, without thinking twice.

For many, it’s turning on the lights, charging our phones, brewing coffee, perhaps turning on the laptop or TV, then driving to work in our cars and trucks, where we grind out most of our day until we drive home to repeat our morning activities once more before hitting the sheets.

Toledo longshoremen have been responsible for supplying coal for power generation throughout the area, yet today that is no longer the case, according to representatives of ILA-Local 1768 in Toledo.

Longshoremen have their daily routines too — and we wouldn’t be able to go about doing ours if the longshoremen didn’t go about doing theirs.

Employed at ports that operate around the clock, longshoremen move cargo on and off ships via a variety of methods, most commonly by crane. They deal with many bulk commodities — sand, gravel, cement, ore, and coal — and other objects too big to be transported a long distance via road, rail, or air.

Among their chief responsibilities is making sure containers — those enormous, metal, rectangular boxes you see on ships or stacked alongside a port — are loaded and unloaded and placed on a rail train, semi-trailer chassis, or lake freighter so that they can be hauled away to a warehouse, distribution center, or steel mill.

In many instances, they’re moving coal to a power plant.

That last scenario is how our members here at ILA-Local 1768 in Toledo have affected your ability to go about your routine in a cost-effective manner for years. Without us, in fact, it’d be much harder — and pricier — to get the energy you need to all your electric-powered products.

Historically, our Toledo longshoremen have been responsible for supplying coal for power generation throughout the area, yet today that is no longer the case. Escalating resistance to coal and an unwillingness to keep it as a must-have ingredient in America’s growing mix of domestic energy resources is disrupting our ability to continue our daily routine.

In due time, it’ll disrupt yours.

Per reports, some 227,000 jobs throughout the Great Lakes region depend on shipping and mining. By itself, shipping is one of the world’s largest economic drivers and a critical component for importing and exporting affordable products.

Our members, for instance, load about 25,000 tons of coal to each ship. Should coal take an additional downturn, it would be economically devastating, adversely affecting two-thirds of the aforementioned jobs and driving up utility costs.

That’s because the price of coal is continuously steady, resilient to the economic seesaws that regularly engulf other forms of energy. Coal is also an important part of the power-generation mix that helps keep the U.S. from being too dependent on just one form of energy. That’s good, not just for jobs and pricing motives, but security too.

In winters past, local utilities reported trouble keeping output strong amid extremely cold temperatures and peak usage periods. All forms of energy were required, they said, especially coal. Imagine how much more stressed the electric grid would have become without coal and how much more strained it could become in winters ahead.

Also, if we’re locked into just one common form of energy, the problems that later plague that resource — varying costs, for instance, or a severe shortage — affect us all. When that occurs, how long will it take to get coal production restarted? How long would it take to refill lost jobs?

And what’s the impact on U.S. steel production, which remains dependent on coal as a core ingredient? Will we have enough steel to continue manufacturing American-made products, buildings, bridges, ships, cars, and homes without looking overseas for coal?

See, turning off the lights on coal jump-starts a domino effect that turns off the lights on a variety of other everyday industries and necessities, which is why it’s important we work to back legislation that keeps coal as part of America’s changing energy equation, before we all end up with higher bills, fewer jobs, and no alternate resources.

See the article here.