Posts filed under Jobs

Spotlight on States: Texas

As America’s second-largest state with a population of nearly 27 million, Texas certainly has the right to describe itself as big. The state’s electricity demand can also be described as such, because it takes a lot of power to meet Texas’ growing energy needs. To keep lights on across the Lone Star State, Texas relies on affordable, reliable energy from coal to generate 34 percent of its electricity.

Harnessing the power of coal is especially beneficial for Texas’ ratepayers, as it helps keep the state’s electricity prices more than 8 percent below the national average. This is hugely helpful to the 4,000,000 low-income families who call the state home and are living on only $2,000 each month. Texans also have ample opportunities to find quality employment in the coal industry, as it provides 41,560 direct and indirect jobs.

Sadly, another thing that can be described as big is the threat the Environmental Protection Agency’s finalized carbon regulations pose to Texas. If left unchallenged, these rules will force the state to shutter its coal power plants in favor of more costly and less reliable energy sources. Consequently, electricity rates for families and businesses will shoot up, while the loss of coal-related jobs will cause employment prospects to take a nose dive.

State leaders recognize the negative implications of EPA’s rule and are putting up a Texas-sized fight to stop the agency’s vast power grab. Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to sue EPA should the agency continue on its unlawful path.

Less than three weeks ago, Dr. Bryan Shaw, a former EPA staffer and now chair of Texas’ Department of Environmental Quality, offered his expert opinion on EPA’s rule to Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Environment. According to Shaw, “the resulting effect of increased cost of power and power shortages, such as rolling blackouts, would…jeopardize the personal and economic health of Texas citizens.”

Whether a state is the size of Texas, or the size of Iowa, deciding how to best meet electricity demand is a big decision that should be made by those who know their state best. Allowing EPA to make these decisions only serves to jeopardize our nation’s energy and economic security. Its crucial states like Texas continue to stand up to EPA’s harmful regulations and fight for America’s right to continue benefiting from affordable, readily available coal-based electricity.

Spotlight on States: Nevada

As part of his recent climate change tour, President Obama traveled to Las Vegas last month for Senator Harry Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit. The president touted his administration’s recent environmental regulations during his remarks, declaring his carbon plan will have a positive effect on states like Nevada. We decided to take a closer look at the reality of Nevada’s energy needs and economy in comparison to President Obama’s claims.

  • Energy Choices: The president claims his plan will give consumers the “freedom” to choose “more efficient” forms of energy. To meet the emissions reduction target outlined in the plan, however, Nevada will be forced to use more expensive (and less efficient) intermittent sources of energy favored by the Environmental Protection Agency. In reality, the state, and consequently its consumers, actually have very little freedom at all under the rule.

    Congressman Cresent Hardy
    put it well when he stated that “Nevada and other states should continue to lead the way to safely and responsibly develop options tailored to [their] unique resources.” Like other states, Nevada’s energy portfolio is designed to meet its own energy needs and achieved this balance on its own – not as a result of heavy-handed mandates from Washington, D.C.

As the administration continues its push to sell its costly carbon plan, it will be especially critical to dive deeper into the real impact the regulation will have on the states. The decisions state officials make about the plan will have a lasting effect on the well-being of the families and businesses that call these places home.

Growing Up With Coal: Hillary Clinton and Coal Country

President Obama’s tireless pursuit of his climate legacy is well-timed with the 2016 election cycle, especially when it comes to Hillary Clinton and how she is addressing the impact Obama’s carbon regulations will have on coal communities.

During her 2008 run, Clinton proudly touted her loose ties to coal country, emphasizing America’s need for coal and the crucial role clean coal technology will play in our energy future. In the wake of the president’s final carbon plan, however, Clinton now speaks of coal in the “past tense.” Reporters say she is walking a fine line between supporting the interests of voters in coal-producing states and appeasing environmentalists and donors aligned with Obama’s plan.

As someone with strong ties to coal country, I’m not “ready” for Hillary’s pseudo-support of the region and the hard working Americans who live there.

When Clinton expressed her support of President Obama’s carbon regulations, she was no longer walking a fine line – in fact, she crossed it. By promising to defend and build upon the costly and illegal plan, Clinton will place the “everyday Americans” she purports to champion in the crosshairs, raising energy costs and destroying jobs for families in coal communities.

Clinton would do well to cease with her “past tense” rhetoric, as coal currently helps support 700,000 jobs and provides nearly 40 percent of our nation’s electricity. The coal industry is very much a part of America’s present and is key to meeting our growing energy needs in the future, but by supporting the president’s plan, Clinton is turning her back on all of those it employs. Like the President, it’s well past time she prioritizes the families she claims to fight for over the support of elitist environmentalist activists she seeks.

Kelley Earnhardt Miller on July 4 and Veterans in the Coal Industry

In our house, the Fourth of July isn’t just a time for food, family, fun and fireworks. It’s a time to reflect on our nation’s freedom and thank the active duty service men and women, as well as our veterans, who have sacrificed to keep our country safe and secure.

We’re proud to count many active members of the military and veterans as fans of NASCAR and JR Motorsports. We love meeting them and thanking them for their service to our nation.

The coal industry has a tremendous legacy of veteran support too, and is a proud leader in veteran employment. From mining in Kentucky and West Virginia, to hauling coal across America’s railways, to building cutting-edge power generation facilities, the coal industry has always welcomed veterans as valuable employees and leaders.

This Fourth of July, the teams at JR Motorsports and America’s Power thank the members of our armed forces both here in the U.S. and stationed abroad. We know that without you we wouldn’t be celebrating this holiday weekend – or any weekend – under the blanket of freedom we all appreciate.

Have a Happy Independence Day, America.

Industry Spotlight: Leading the Way in Veteran Employment

This Veterans Day, we were reminded of the incredible sacrifices the men and women in our armed forces have made to keep America safe. After serving their country, many service members seek to transition into the workforce and find fulfilling, quality employment.

The coal, electricity and transportation industries have a long history of hiring veterans. From mining in West Virginia, to hauling coal on America’s railways in the Powder River Basin, to constructing a cutting-edge power facility in Mississippi, these industries have committed to welcoming veterans into their companies and working to leverage the invaluable skills they bring to the table to power America’s energy and economy.

On the heels of Veterans Day, we’re highlighting two of our member companies who lead employers across every industry in military employment: CSX and Southern Company. While each of our members has a history of strong veterans hiring, we’re highlighting two that have recently received well-deserved accolades for their efforts.


Nearly one-in-five employees of CSX is a veteran, a statistic that is far more than a number for the company. In the words of CEO Michael Ward, CSX is “proud to create an environment that attracts, develops and retains the best and brightest talent – including those with the invaluable experience of serving our country.”

These hard-working men and women apply the leadership and technical skills they learned while in the armed forces to a career with one of the nation’s leading railroad companies. CSX was recently named to DiversityInc’s “Top 10 Companies for Veterans” list for the second consecutive year, as well as G.I. Jobs’ “Top 100 Military Friendly Employers” list.

Southern Company

Just this week, Southern Company was named the highest-ranked utility on the “Top 100 Military Friendly Employers” listing by G.I. Jobs. For eight years running, Southern Company has been named to this list because of its commitment to hiring veterans and supporting organizations like Troops to Energy Jobs.

Ten percent of Southern Company’s workforce is comprised of skilled veterans. What’s more, 20 percent of the new hires at the Kemper County Energy Facility, one of the world’s cleanest and most innovative coal-fueled power plants, have prior military experience. On veteran hiring, president and CEO of Southern Company Services Mark S. Lantrip recently said “these heroes are a natural fit for our company because they bring the characteristics of dedication, commitment to safety, teamwork and excellence in all they do, which align with the utility industry and our company culture.”

Both CSX and Southern Company are consistently recognized for their leadership in military recruitment and on-the-job training because of their sincere, proven commitment to recruiting and retaining veterans. We admire their leadership. But most importantly, we salute every man and woman who has served in America’s armed forces, and we thank them for their service.


Message to EPA on Labor Day: Policies Must Create Jobs, Not Eliminate Them

Yesterday, American workers enjoyed a much-deserved day of rest. Here at America’s Power, we believe that job creation should be a national priority, and our advocacy efforts seek to protect and strengthen America’s workforce.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration and EPA are pursuing a regulatory agenda that will have the exact opposite effect and if EPA’s proposed carbon regulations are left unchallenged, many workers will face a much more permanent break from work: unemployment.

EPA has repeatedly made the dubious claim that these new regulations for America’s power plants will create jobs through the construction and management of new energy efficient facilities. But America’s Power has done the math, and we can tell you that this assertion is simply not true. In fact, EPA’s proposed regulations stand to cause widespread job losses across many sectors of the U.S. economy.

What EPA fails to mention is that these construction jobs are only temporary, and few will be maintained once the facilities are built. More so, EPA completely neglected to address, let alone calculate, the hundreds of thousands of jobs that its proposal will eliminate.

America’s coal industry is a proven driver of economic development in cities and towns from coast to coast. Coal mining alone employs more than 80,000 Americans, with hundreds of thousands additional jobs tied to coal production through the manufacturing, electricity, and transportation industries.  It’s these skilled, high-quality jobs that EPA is going after. A myth-busting study by America’s Power revealed that, based on a proposal similar to EPA’s, as many as 178,000 jobs will be lost each year.

Yet, these estimates don’t even account for the job losses that will result from skyrocketing electricity prices for businesses across the U.S. Under EPA’s proposal, the agency will essentially bully states into choosing more expensive, less reliable energy sources in lieu of using affordable coal-based power. This costly switch will ultimately trickle down to businesses and force business owners to face a difficult decision: meet their payroll or pay their utility bills.

The facts don’t lie, and EPA’s proposal is putting America on a dangerous course toward job losses we can’t afford.

Join us in protecting America’s workforce – visit to tell EPA that you support policies that create jobs, not eliminate them.

Coal Doesn’t Only Fuel Electricity – Coal Fuels Jobs & Local Economies Across the U.S.

Based on what we’ve seen, it is clear that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking to create a “one-size-fits-all” solution to greenhouse gas regulations. Last September, EPA proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) that place a de facto ban on new coal-fueled power plants. EPA gave no flexibility to states on the rule, prompting a lawsuit from Nebraska and widespread ire from other coal-dependent states. Their outrage stems from the fact that the coal industry fuels thousands of jobs, our affordable electricity, and power plants that invest in their communities. Coal supports more than 800,000 jobs across the country, and the more than 500 power plants in the U.S. sustain communities wherever they are located.

Dozens of states across the U.S. use a large percentage of coal-based power to generate their electricity. In 2013, EIA reported that 31 states generated at least one quarter of their electricity from coal, and 17 of those states generated at least half of their electricity from coal—an increase over 2012. The states that rely on coal are not all from one area, either. The top 10 states for coal-based generation including West Virginia, Missouri, Wyoming, Ohio and New Mexico have diverse economies and are scattered across the U.S. One thing they all have in common is that their electricity rates run below the national average.

Mining, transportation, and power generation employ thousands of Americans. West Virginia employed more than 22,000 miners in 2012. While it may not be surprising that a state like West Virginia is home to many coal miners, what you might not know that mining employs more than 7,000 workers in Wyoming and more than 5,000 in Alabama. According to a recent study in Nebraska, coal power generation and transportation supported 22,844 jobs in the state.

States also offer us great examples of the newest power plant technologies that are lauded on the global stage. If NSPS is enacted, local communities will miss out on new, cutting-edge power plants and the economic growth spurred by their construction.

Arkansas’ John W. Turk Plant has been operating as one of the cleanest, most efficient coal-based power plants in the US. This 600 megawatt “ultra-supercritical” plant uses less coal and produces fewer emissions while still providing affordable base load power to the local grid.

In Mississippi, the Kemper County Energy Facility has brought economic development to the local community through jobs, commerce and tax revenue. When it is complete, this plant will be the cleanest coal-based power plant in America.

States across America are picking up on the fact that the national energy policy put forth by EPA has failed to take into account their specific circumstances. Unfortunately, innovative plants like Kemper County and Turk will be a thing of the past. Other communities will be unable to construct power plants that create job opportunities, economic growth and tax revenue. Jobs will be slashed and states with high levels of coal-generation will be vulnerable to high prices and less reliability.

To support the economic growth and job opportunities coal provides to local communities, visit today.

I May Have Misheard You, Sierra Club: Did You Call Job Loss “Transitioning?”

Once again, Sierra Club is talking out of both sides of its mouth. And this time, it is to the detriment of America’s union workers. The Daily Caller released an investigative piece this week outlining the backroom strategies employed by Sierra Club in an attempt to convince union workers that shutting down existing coal plants is in their best interest. Here at America’s Power, we know that such a claim couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The recently unearthed internal Sierra Club memo details how the group “spins” job losses and economic downturn that will result from the decline of our nation’s coal industry, encouraging the group’s activists to use downright deceptive tactics in order to mislead union workers. The entire memo had an air of condescension, portraying union workers as ill-informed, uneducated and easily swayed, requiring wording and concepts to be largely “dumbed down.”

The memo from Margrete Strand, former director of Sierra Club’s Labor and Trade Program, gave very clear instructions to activists:

Don’t ever use the phrase ‘killing’ to refer to jobs, business or the coal industry… Talk about transitions, phases, and gradual changes in the way we create and distribute energy.

Don’t allow Sierra Club to be branded as simply an environmental interest group juxtaposed to the interests of workers and communities.

To set the record straight, we think it’s important to note that the Sierra Club mission to dismantle the coal industry across our nation does ignore the interests of workers and communities, plain and simple. Remember, this is the same group that celebrated the shutdown of the 150th coal plant as part of its Beyond Coal campaign. In turn, Sierra Club celebrated thousands of lost jobs and widespread economic devastation in the communities that are home to these plants.

Of course, the Sierra Club will never tell its activists—or in turn, targeted constituencies like union workers—about the industry’s $130 billion dollar investment in clean coal technology to reduce major pollutants by more than 90 percent, not to mention its pledge to spend another $100 billion over the next decade to further reduce emissions.

Sierra Club does indeed want to start a transition – a transition to an economy where electricity prices and unemployment both skyrocket due to reckless environmental activism. We should, instead, “transition” to an economy that facilitates job growth, affordable power, reliable electricity and further investment in clean coal technology.