NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 11, 2009

A Pittsburgh-based coal company, CONSOL Energy, will lay off nearly 500 of its West Virginia workers next year.  CONSOL Energy's political problems are not unique to the mining industry, which has suffered under the Obama Administration, says the Washington Times.

For instance:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency is already holding 79 surface mining permits in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
  • The EPA says these permits could violate the Clean Water Act and warrant "enhanced" review.
  • The agency went even further in October, announcing plans to revoke a permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia.

CEO Nicholas J. DeIuliis said the poor economy compounded by legal challenges by environmental activists forced CONSOL to slash jobs:

  • It is challenging enough to operate CONSOL'S coal and gas assets in the current economic downturn without having to contend with a constant stream of activism in rehashing and reinterpreting permit applications that have already been approved or in the inequitable oversight of our operations.
  • Customers will grow reluctant to deal with energy producers they perceive are unable to guarantee a reliable supply due to regulatory uncertainty; this inhibits the ability to remain competitive.

Source: Amanda Carpenter, "Coal Company Cuts 500 Jobs, Blames Environmentalists," Washington Times, December 9, 2009.


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