WHERE ARE OUR JOBS, FREE CAPITALISM AND OUR COUNTRY’S PROSPERITY?
Economic analysis by Doug Cook
(Jan 12, 2010) — I am going to take these citizen journalism gloves off and tell you a straight story of my America. Your America.
I am a bit over 50 years of age, I am at the pinnacle of my profession, a highly skilled tradesman in the craft of welding and metal crafting, a millwright of experience. I have 36 years invested in this trade, and up until recently I was employed as a coal miner welder fabricator. It is a very dangerous job. Nineteen miners were killed in West Virginia last year. One young fellow whom we worked with had his head crushed while working on a mining machine. He lost an eye and his whole facial bone structure was replaced with titanium mesh so he would be able to attain some level of normalcy. He may never work again. What happened to our buddy rocked our souls; it touched us to the bone.
Contrary to the propaganda foisted on Americans by the media, radical environmentalists, and the radical elites, coal mining companies which produce this strategic resource have high standards, adhere to environmental guidelines , are honorable and employ a great deal of sound stewardship of the land and resources.
Aside from the prosperity and national security which coal provides to the nation, most coal mining companies offer excellent wages and benefits. I earned an excellent wage of over $20 an hour with outstanding health and dental insurance, a pension plan, 401K, production bonus and the usual per-diems such as holidays and vacation. My company was even generous enough to provide a fuel benefit of $85 per month to cover the high price of gasoline, paid lunch on maintenance days, and a slew of safety and skill training events, all privately catered with prize raffles and gifts such a rifles, boots and TVs. We received time and performance points towards a catalog of first-rate products at no cost to us. The company provided a 100% cost-free, world-class, walk-in medical center staffed with four doctors, six nurse practitioners and a number of nurses located in a beautiful old brick building in a true hometown little village in the beautiful southwestern mountains of West Virginia.
This is gone. For over one thousand of us from just one company, it no longer exists. It became extinct over a three-month period. Seven hundred sixty hard-working miners from one mine lost everything: 30 years of mining and upwards of $100,000,000 in equipment and plant.
Seemingly overnight, jobs and employers vanished during the early summer of 2009 across Appalachia – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Illinois, and West Virginia. Events like this do not just start on their own in an industry that had experienced the highest production and mine-mouth coal prices in history.
Poof! Nothing exists of this great company where I worked because an illegitimate bastard son, illegally elected and ensconced in my White House, instituted destructive, politically-motivated monetary policies designed to undermine a free capitalist system of commerce, signing an Executive Order that removed one word in an environmental regulation.
The word removed is “Navigable.” It was taken from a sentence in the Clean Waters Act regulating powers given to the Environmental Protection Agency to dictate what people can and cannot do in “Navigable Waters.” Removing this one word granted the EPA power to dictate anything for any reason, in any water of any kind, for any purpose the government so chooses. Similarly, they have promoted the unbelievably idiotic and incomprehensibly dictatorial regulation that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant. The very air you exhale makes you guilty of a federal crime.
Essentially, the mud puddle in your driveway, and, by extension, your land, belong to the government. Period.
The removal of this one word allowed the government to shut down any coal mine for any reason at any time by refusing to grant or renew permits for mining coal under the guise of protecting waters from the peril of free enterprise. This change in federal regulation became the perfect setup for anyone who wished to stop coal mining and , by proxy, control our nation’s wealth, resources and prosperity. The only requirement is for one person to file a complaint stating that water at or around a coal mine was in jeopardy from coal mining operations. Presto! your mining permit is no more. Remember the mud puddle in your driveway? How many mud puddles do you think a 250-ton Caterpillar 777 coal truck makes as it drives down a 15-mile dirt haul road in the rain on its way to the coal prep plant?
This is what occurred in West Virginia:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the governmental body which engineers the environmental plans and scope of permitting coal mining. They are the ultimate word on permits having to do with any surface coal mining in West Virginia. If the president dictates to those at the USCAE that they are to refuse permitting for a particular mining company because there is a tiny bit of water down in a hollow that possibly could be affected by mining, they have to follow orders. This is what has transpired.
The buck starts and stops with the USACE in regard to permits. Guess who the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army is? Guess who promised in his own words stating on public radio before being illegally elected to the White House, “I am going to bury coal”? The same guy who hung out in the living room of terrorist William Ayers, the same guy who grew up with the ultimate communist living within U.S. borders, Frank Marshall Davis; the same guy who has no documentation proving he was not born in a foreign country from a father who is a documented citizen of Great Britain.
The crew I worked with, seven people, mined an average of 2,250 tons of coal in a 12-hour shift, six days a week. This figures to 18,000 tons of coal per week per 12-hour shift. There were three crews working a rotation of six 12s on, three off, so two crews would always be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with one 12-hour shift each week shut down for an all-hands preventive maintenance. At one point, this mining crew held the world record for footage of coal mined in one day. These are the hardest-working, most conscientious people I have ever met. They are called hillbillies, rednecks, rebels, etc. by some and trailer trash by others. I call them fine men and women who care about each other to no end and who make America a wonderful place. I am a transplanted Yankee who was welcomed on every level by these amazing people.
In West Virginia, the standard accepted economic effect which one coal miner has on the local economy is that he or she supports the employment of 13 people who do not work directly in mining coal. A 13-to-1 ratio of effective solid employment is privately created by the proud people of the great state of West Virginia, a phenomeon which does not exist in any other profession or location.
Since June 2009, 1967 jobs in my county brought here by mining companies have been lost due to the closure of coal mining operations from permits not granted to them by the USACE. It is also fair to state that the Democrat-controlled economic depression we are in has also contributed to job losses. At a 13-to-1 ratio, a total of 25,771 jobs are in jeopardy or have been lost.
The population in my county as of July 2008 was 26,137 men, women, children, grandmothers and grandfathers. A number of counties have considerably lower populations, particularly where there is coal mining. West Virginia is incredibly rural; many mines are miles into the rugged mountains, accessible only by treacherous winding switchback dirt roads, within thousands of uninhabited acres.
There are 55 counties in West Virginia, approximately 38 located over the richest coal beds in the world. As of 2009, most of these counties had operational coal mines. The coal basin underlying the Appalachian mountains known as the Allegheny range holds the finest metallurgical coal reserves in the world. This coal is some of the highest BTU,with the lowest sulfur/ash content in existence. Most of the industrialized nations in the world buy this coal because it is simply not available anywhere else. The economically recoverable coal known to be lying under Appalachia is conservatively estimated to be able to last for at least a century at the current rate of mining. The reality of how much coal reserves exist is most likely far in excess due to the fact that no one really knows. One thing is certain: when someone physically works in coal mines, he understands that we will never run out.
Some statistics from the 2009 Statistical Summary from the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health and Safety:
Active Mines: 210
Independent Contractor Employment: 6,718 (Miners contracted through independent employment companies)
July 2008 WV Population: 1,814,468
17,028 miners x 13 = 221,364 jobs directly related to the business of coal mining.
(Note: There are thousands of natural gas and oil-related jobs, hundreds of employers, and thousands of wells in West Virginia, all under the same federal Clean Waters regulation. At this time, the Appalachian gas shale deposits which lie under the entire state of West Virginia constitute one of the richest deposits on earth.)
These figures do not reflect the detrimental effect on tens of thousands of support infrastructure jobs, good solid jobs from manufacturing of equipment to transportation, materials, supplies, technical and administrative services and the impact these jobs have on real estate, retailing, automotive, restaurant, insurance, county and state revenues, etc. The scope of the damage created by the communist efforts to destroy this wonderful example of a prosperous America and way of life is tantamount to war and cultural genocide.
From Work Force West Virginia:
FOR RELEASE: December 14, 2009
West Virginia’s unemployment rate climbed two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.9 percent in November, Work Force West Virginia reported today. The number of unemployed state residents rose 1,800 to 62,800. Total unemployment was up 30,600 over the year.
The disaster befalling thousands of families and businesses due to loss of a paycheck, health insurance, dignity and self- determination because of one man changing one word in one sentence is nothing short of economic warfare dedicated to destroying millions of Americans’ traditional way of life. This is the same dictatorial tactic committed by the same bastard son in signing another executive order allowing a foreign police force to operate within our sovereign borders unhindered and in secret, without having to adhere to the laws of due process, habeas corpus. It is another act of treason committed by omitting one word in a presidential regulatory action.
I’m counting on those who will contend that my observations are anecdotal at best. Here is what I have to say to you: I’m on the receiving end of this anecdotal malaise; keep your pie hole shut. You can kiss my arse.
Don’t even attempt to rationalize to me the acts of a corrupt government and its leaders; no, sir. The original form of republican government and its elected leaders that is instituted by the people, for the people, and of the people would simply not allow the crazy, despicable, radical things that are occurring in my country.
My advice for Obamabots who relish the demise of traditional American prosperity, self-determination, liberty and prosperity, those who commit treason against my country and person, is that you better start running for the border. You enablers of an illegitimate bastard son from a tin pot dictatorship, third-world country, your days are numbered if I have anything to do with it. By my sworn duty to God and the United States of America, to my friends and compatriots, I will have something to do about it. I’m going to kick right into prison the arses of those who have committed unholy treason against my God, my fellow man, and my country.
To the brave of heart, it is never too late to fight for something in your life, to have faith in your God, in yourself and your country. Patriotism, like faith, is something you cannot taste or feel or touch. It is nonetheless very real. It is something that created this great nation of ours to be unique. It is the guiding light of principles so profound and yet so simple. Principles and faith, these are what make liberty and freedom such a beautiful concept, a thing that is worth dying for, fighting for, and preserving at all costs.
Doug, a native of NH, moved to the beautiful mountains of WV, where he works as a welder in a coal mine and operates a small farm with his lovely wife. He is a no nonsense patriotic country boy who writes out of a sense of duty to man and country. A crack shot, who say’s in regards to the best bait “no self respecting squirrel can resist an acorn.”