The president suspended new coal leases on federal land (mostly in Wyoming and Montana), which is expected to curtail construction of new plants, shutter others, and reduce U.S. exports.
If Obama's action expedites the end of the industry, let's just say it had it coming: The Bureau of Land Management says coal producers have shortchanged taxpayers out of $30 billion in royalties over the last 30 years.
So raged the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
I left these comments:
This is strong proof that the federal government shouldn’t own lands. It’s a tool for Obama’s quasi-criminal assault on the coal industry. The fact that an American president can use its control of land to compliment its vast regulatory bureaucracy to bankrupt an industry shows how far we’ve regressed down the road to a dictatorship.
The federal government should not have any authority to siphon off “royalty” fees from productive Americans. Instead, existing federal lands should be privatized using the 1862 Homestead Act as a model, an objective process whereby “public land”—i.e., unowned land—is passed to private ownership. The coal companies didn’t shortchange the taxpayers by using federal lands to extract energy-producing coal. Federal land is public land supported by taxes. The coal companies (and other productive companies), as part of the public, should have access to the land with no extra charge.
As to coal’s alleged “dirtiness,” the answer is to clean up the coal use process, not kill off this massive source of reliable economical energy. [The coal industry has already made great strides in cleaner burning coal.] What about the climate? All the climate science elite-political-industrial complex has to back up their claims of climate catastrophe are perpetually wrong and increasingly hysterical studies and predictions. Given the record of past “expert” predictions, why should anyone believe this “new research” cited by the Star-Ledger? It’s another prediction. Predictions are not evidence. Evidence of anything more than a very gradual, generally benign warming, much of it natural, is non-existent.
Obsolete industrial processes that pollute unnecessarily—i.e., when there are better economically feasible technological alternatives available—should be legally abandoned. But the crushing of the coal industry by executive whim without any objective legislative or public process is little more than legalized criminality. Yes, there are negative side effects to coal, just as there are negative side effects to antibiotics. But just as it would be insane to abandon the monumental benefits of antibiotics, it is insane to abandon coal. Coal has been getting steadily cleaner, and can be made cleaner still. But, of course, the climate science elite-political-industrial complex knows this. That’s why they invented a new “pollutant”—CO2; why they manufactured a phony “consensus”; why they always trot out the “science denier” smear.
This last, the “science denier” smear, is proof that the climate science elite-political-industrial complex has no real case. The childish term “science denier” and its equivalents really means dissent denier. The climate catastrophist enemies of coal (and fossil fuels generally) know their climate catastrophe case is BS, because people confident in their position don’t try to silence dissent and skepticism. They welcome it. In fact, science without skepticism is not science at all: It is dogmatism. And that—plain old-fashioned dogmatism—is the altar upon which the coal industry, and our future energy security, is being sacrificed.
McKibben's Call-to-Arms Against the Energy Industry of Life