In a column published in The Arizona Republic over the weekend titled “In their zeal, Obama team willing to sacrifice Navajos’ job“, writer Doug MacEachern argues that the potential closure of the coal-based plant on a Navajo reservation is less about the environment and more about “a bigger Obama administration mission.”
“Of all Barack Obama’s campaign promises in 2008, few are being fulfilled as aggressively as his assertion to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that energy companies can go ahead and build coal-fired power plants if they like, but doing so “will bankrupt them.”
The article goes on to say, “The coal mine that produces the fuel and the power plant itself together represent about 1,000 jobs, filled mostly by Navajos. To say that the uncertainty generated by the EPA’s decisions is causing anxiety among those few, lucky, working Navajos is a gross understatement.”
Today, our nation is focused on economic recovery – and creating well-paying jobs has become the number-one priority for most policymakers. Coal is mined in 25 U.S. States and is responsible for more than 550,000 jobs in our country. As a nation, we need to be focused on maintaining valuable jobs that workers current have, while finding new ways to create economic opportunities like some of the 21st Century coal-based power plants nearing completion.
Unfortunately, for small towns all over the country, the threat of economic disaster from the possible closure of local power plant and mining jobs is a story that it too often being repeated as we learned last year in our trip to Glen Lyn, Virginia.