November 6, 2022 - Reacting to comments President Biden made last night that, “we’re going to be shutting (coal) plants down all across America,” United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:
“The UMWA could not disagree more with President Biden’s comments to a California audience about shutting down coal-fired power, which would have the effect of throwing thousands more coal miners out of work. This harkens back to the days of previous administrations when comments like these were all too common and were made without any reference to what the effect on workers, their families, and their communities would be.
“We understand that an energy transition is underway, and we have been working to provide new opportunities for dislocated miners now and into the future. We will continue to do that. But we have also made it clear for years that we will fight tooth and nail to preserve every UMWA coal miner’s job that exists today. Everyone can be sure we will continue to do that as well.
“We have long fought for the development of technology to enable utilities to use coal in a carbon-neutral way to generate electricity, not just because it will preserve coal-related jobs here in America but also because it is the only way to truly reduce global emissions. These comments are disheartening because they make it seem that the Biden Administration has apparently abandoned that effort.
“It’s easy to talk about ending an industry that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Appalachia and the Midwest, but the reality of such an action is harsh. Now is not the time to be talking about eliminating high-paying jobs anywhere in America, especially those that also provide a tax base for communities, fund healthcare facilities, and small businesses serving millions of people.
“I invite the President to come to West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, southwest Virginia or eastern Kentucky to see for himself the damage that has already been done to coal-reliant families and communities. Perhaps then we can all have a clear understanding of the importance of the jobs that are left.”