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Coal Workers Union Doesn't Always Represent Coal Worker Values

Salena Zito on

"I was kind of down on my luck, with students and a young family," he said. "Working at the mine was my only way out because there are not too many jobs around here other than coal mining, which is now providing me with a life that I never would have had."

Morecraft says he has been following in detail the proposals in the so-called "infrastructure bill," which presently does include grants or loans to fund carbon capturing. He is not sure if those grants will stay in there: "What I don't understand is why they're not trying to put more money towards carbon-capture sequestration rather than displacing an entire workforce."

Carbon capturing is not embraced by Biden's environmental-justice base. Last year, when the House passed a clean energy package, 18 Democrats, including leftist Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley, all voted against it.

And some of the most influential liberal environmental groups also objected to that bill's plan to capture carbon dioxide from coal- and gas-fired plants. For many of these groups, it was viewed as a bargain that only benefits fossil fuel companies.

Morecraft sighed in exasperation.

"These people on the far left won't even entertain the idea of carbon capture," he said. "They just say, 'No, fossil fuels are bad, and we need to go in a different direction,' even though the technology isn't quite there to even sustain the grid, as was shown in Texas this winter."

In February, in the middle of an unexpected deep freeze, 3 million Texans lost their electricity when the state's generating capacity could not meet the sudden demand caused by the plunging temperatures. Pipes froze and burst; people were left without heat and power for days; and the power grid suffered a wholesale collapse.

 

Morecraft says he loves his job.

"I am a fire boss, EMT, and I work in our bunker, which is the main hub of the underground. And it is sort of like a desk job, only in a mine, because I have all of these computers, and I am basically in charge of all the tracking of where all the miners go and also the CO sensors that go off."

"More reporters and elected officials should come and take a look at what we do," he added. "It is not at all what they think; there are no picks and shovels. There are just a lot of misconceptions. There is also a lot of presumption that we don't care about the climate, and that always gets me. Do people not understand that we live, drink, fish, raise our families and enjoy the wildlife right in the same place where the mines are located?

In saying so, Morecraft echoes a frustration that energy workers frequently share.

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Salena Zito is a staff reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner. She reaches the Everyman and Everywoman through shoe-leather journalism, traveling from Main Street to the beltway and all places in between. To find out more about Salena and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

 

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