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View Diary: Shutdown of 150th coal plant reminder that so-called 'war on coal' must not be war on coal workers (118 comments)

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  •  To be precise (6+ / 0-)

    We are talking about ultimately losing about 80,000 coal mining jobs.  

    That's about $5 billion a year in wages.  We need to make that much money available annually to pay folks while they retrain, move to find other jobs, or to supplement their early retirement.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 02:45:10 PM PDT

    •  Those thousands are augmented by... (6+ / 0-)

      ...workers who lose out in communities where coal is the dominant force and by coal-fired power plants as well.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 02:49:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, "we" don't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093, WillR

      "We" need to pay folks to retrain, move, or retire? Since when? And why would we do that just for coal miners and not every other laid off person in the U.S.?

      •  I am hoping that (5+ / 0-)

        support payments for the laid-off miners will also support the community around them, to a degree.

        Since when do we pay folks to retrain, move and retire?  

        We've been doing it for a long time (since Clinton?) for folks that lose jobs due to "free trade."

        We probably give more than $5 billion a year in cash, grants, below-cost coal, and loan guarantees to the coal companies, I'd rather see that $$$ go to the workers.

        When government energy policy wipes out an industry,  I think we have some obligation to the folks whose jobs got wiped out.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 03:14:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's basic social decency (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, Calamity Jean

        to give people help.  But in this case, the problem is structural.  If you fire a few people in an otherwise healthy market, then they can be reabsorbed in various directions.  But if you fire an entire town, then the entire economy of that region turns to zombie-land rubble.  

        Like it or not, all economies are "managed" -- the question is whether they are managed in good or bad ways.  Mine workers have been managed in horrifically toxic ways, even though our lives have benefitted considerably from their work.  I don't think it is wrong to target an entire industry or labor force for repurposing.

      •  Which is why I wrote in the diary: (5+ / 0-)
        A Just Transition for all displaced workers could be infused in a new economy. Not merely technologically new. That is happening anyway. And certainly not just one that expands the economy we already have. Such a conventional expansion would also expand the inequality in wealth and income as well as environmental wreckage that the current economy has already given us.
        Not just coal miners.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:30:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd love to read a whole diary expanded from (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          unfangus

          just this section on the Just Transition Coalition for the Mohave Generating Plant. It sounds like a successful local negotiation (even if delayed and forced by litigation), and a "case study" we should learn from to figure out what featured helped to force reclaiming the credits.

          In fact, a Just Transition Coalition was created especially to press forward a deal between the Hopi and Navajo Indian tribes with Southern California Edison to support the growth of renewable energy on their reservations in the wake of the closing of the coal-burning Mohave Generating Plant in 2005. An ad hoc coalition also negotiated with Gov. Chris Gregoire in mutually agreed speeded-up shutdown of the Trans-Alta coal-fired power plant in Centralia, Washington.

          The Mohave deal was particularly controversial, which is one reason it took so long to come to fruition.
          After the Mohave plant closed eight years ago, Southern California Edison, which owned 56 percent of the operation, accumulated Clean Air Act sulfur pollution credits that it no longer needed under the Acid Rain Cap and Trade program. These it sold to coal-plant operators in other parts of the country. Advocates for the Hopi and Navajo argued before the California Public Utilities Commission that during its 34-year-life the plant had not only polluted the area but also sucked up vast amounts of fossil water to run a coal slurry from the Black Mesa mine to the generating station. Given that history, CPUC ruled in February this year that revenues from the sale of the credits would go into a revolving fund to provide start-up money for renewable energy projects that benefit the two tribes.

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 09:41:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I absolutely believe it's doable (0+ / 0-)

          I don't even-S think there's a lot of magic to it.
          Lots of hard work? Yup.
          Reaching out to lots of different people with lots of different interests? Yup.

          As you point out, it's not going to happen simply because we want it to, or because we wave a magic green wand and  hant "A-la-sus-tain'.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 04:15:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  but a 50 billion investment in wind power (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      and solar power will create lots more jobs and in those areas.

      we need the investment to happen though.

      •  patbahn, that would be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        true if it happened.

        I wish I could think of at least one example where a coal mine or power plant shutdown was accompanied by a multi-billion "green energy" investment of some kind, right in the affected community.

        Manufacture of parts, and construction of wind and solar power plants does provide good jobs, but operation of wind and solar plants doesn't require very many workers, often just a handful.

        Big increases in wind plant parts manufacturing in Iowa roughly accompanied Coal plant shut downs in Iowa, but that was more coincidental than deliberate, and not contemporaneous.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 03:32:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  post mine operations (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093

          they are supposed to do remediation.

          perhaps get some of the remediation directed to
          sustainable employment.

          if the mines were made into solar farms, you need people to
          maintain the roads, the solar cells, etc.

          mining is a labor light business now, giant trucks, giant excavators,

          similiar class of labor forces.

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