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Friday, June 2, 2017

Female coal miners react to Trump's decision on climate deal/CNN

This is a really interesting perspective on the US shift away from the Paris Accord from CNN.  At the heart of this story is an industry losing life and jobs,  It is a technology that does not compete well in the marketplace anymore.  It is a source of fuel now almost obsolete as we shift to cleaner, smarter sources.

Yet, in the process, people/workers are getting hurt.  Families are losing their ability to financially survive.  An area of the US is losing some of its economic footing.

As you will read here, and can watch the video on CNN, these are not unreasonable people. Like us, they recognize the need to move on.  Their point:  Don't do it in a panic, in a "shut if all down" mode.  Ease into the transition.  We think, though, they are missing that we have, in fact, done just that.  We have crawled, then walked and now are going into a full gallop as we race away from our dependence on fossil fuel.  And, for so many good reasons, all of which we have highlighted here many times.

The market place will ultimately dictate what power sources we use.  We think the Trump team needs to better serve this community by not promising job creation in a shriveling industry, but an all-out effort to retrain and move these very talented, hard working people into new jobs.  We can see, as an example, a tremendous opportunity to bring new manufacturing, battery storage systems, smart city components, etc as they offer amazing labor pool.

wyoming coal women

They are four female coal miners and they each voted for President Trump based on one issue: bringing coal jobs back to the U.S.

Gathering at a park in Gillette, Wyoming, the women said they still support the president but they are divided over his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate accord.
Trump announced Thursday that he was withdrawing from the pact, which was inked under President Obama. While he said he was open to renegotiating aspects of the agreement, he criticized it for giving an unfair advantage to foreign workers and for its tough regulations on energy sectors like coal.
Stacey Moeller, a 58-year-old shovel operator, said she loves her job in the coal industry. But as an outdoor enthusiast, she worries about the environment and understands the industry cannot go on forever.
"I am not a climate change denier. I do believe we certainly have an impact. But I think we can lessen that in a responsible way that doesn't... put entire groups of people out of work," Moeller said.
She said she would like to see the move away from coal toward other clean energy sources be more of a transition and "less of a shut-it-down kind of mentality."
The Paris accord imposes carbon reduction targets that impacts energy sectors like coal. But the industry's dramatic downturn has largely been driven by the abundance of cheap natural gas.
Jodi Saunders, another shovel operator, acknowledged that "we have to go to you know the renewable sources, and I agree with that." But she said, "'I'm afraid that the panic will be...we have to cut the coal mines [and] we've already seen the layoffs."
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Saunders, who is 51, said she does not want to see her own livelihood disappear and thinks America should be worrying about America first.
Yet, with only a couple hundred of coal jobs added to her area since Trump took office, Saunders acknowledged that the numbers are not as high as the president has promised. Since Trump's election, about 1,300 jobs have been added to the coal industry, according to the Department of Labor.
The youngest of the group, a 33-year-old equipment operator named Fallon Hoverson, unequivocally believes climate change isn't real. She thinks staying in the Paris agreement would have kept Trump from keeping his promises to bring coal jobs back.
"I think that we need to focus on the United States and first and foremost in making us great again, so I agree that we should pull out," she said.
Though safety operator Lora Dilley is not certain what the impact of Trump's decision will be, she's unhappy with how this makes her industry - and Americans - look.
Having spent over 20 years building her career in a coal mine, the 55 year old believes a solution was possible for the U.S. to stay in the climate agreement and simultaneously support clean coal technology and cut carbon emissions.
"I wish he hadn't [pulled out] just because it makes us seem as though we're not in with the rest of the world in combating climate change. So the whole appearance of it isn't good," Dilley said with a sigh.
Saunders said she likes the president's tough stance because it may take the negative pressure off the coal industry. "You cannot blame one thing over the last 50 years for causing the climate change," she said.
It's a much more complicated matter for Moeller, who has a hard time reconciling her passion for her work and love for the environment at the same time. "This is our home, and for me that's what it was about: the protection of Wyoming."


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