Posts filed under Jobs

The People “Behind the Plug”

America’s coal industry employs hundreds of thousands of workers in the United States. If you were to trace your electricity all the way from your electrical socket back to the mines that extract the coal, you would encounter a diverse group of skilled workers and learn some interesting facts along the way.

For instance, in 2012, the average U.S. coal miner was 44 years old and earned more than $80,000 annually. This is far higher than the average annual wage across the country. Also of interest, coal miners receive specialized training that allows them to do their jobs well and to do them safely.

Coal is mined in 25 states and is responsible for more than 800,000 jobs right here at home. Around one-third of these jobs are directly tied to coal mining, while two-thirds represent indirect jobs. When a mine shuts down, it unleashes a domino effect of lost jobs, lost hours and lost wages for all those workers who support our electricity generation—from start to finish.

Kentucky alone saw a 40 percent drop in coal-based employment between July 2011 and July 2013. Additional jobs were lost in the second half of last year. Bill Bissett, Kentucky Coal Council president, recently told us that in Eastern Kentucky, seven thousand direct mining jobs have been lost. Yet, as staggering as this figure may sound, it fails to include the thousands of other jobs that are in jeopardy—not only indirectly tied to mine operation and power generation, but also from businesses that depend on affordable power from coal.

These skilled, well-paying, American jobs are vanishing before our eyes due to President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overzealous actions to regulate carbon emissions, irrespective of the real-world costs. .

A recent report by the Nebraska Public Power District concluded that coal transportation and power generation, contribute $1.4 billion in labor income and more than 22,800 jobs in Nebraska. It’s hard to fathom how President Obama and his EPA can claim that their rules won’t uproot American jobs or cause economic harm when we know firsthand that the opposite is true.

It is readily apparent that the EPA and environmental groups continuously ignore the collateral damage of their climate agenda. Help us protect American jobs, America’s economy and America’s energy future today by filing a comment with the EPA.

New Study Reveals Billions in Costs, Lost Jobs Under NRDC’s Carbon Regulation Proposal

This week, we released a detailed economic analysis of the Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) carbon regulation proposal, first put forth by NRDC in December 2012 and updated last week.

The newest version of NRDC’s proposal ludicrously asserts that its plan to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plants would carry no costs at all and would actually spur numerous benefits. Worse yet, the NRDC proposal recommends a system-based approach (also known as “outside-the-fence”) that is essentially a cap-and-trade program. Our analysis, performed by leading research firm the National Economic Research Associates (NERA), clearly demonstrates that NRDC left out some critical facts including the $13 to $17 billion-per-year price tag for consumers and the millions of jobs America stands to lose under its proposed policy.

Our economic analysis further projects the NRDC proposal would cost consumers a total of $116 to $151 billion during the period of 2018-2033. And, retail electricity prices would increase by double digit percentages in as many as 29 states.

Over this same time period, net job losses could total as many as 2.85 million. NRDC projects net job gains in the thousands, but only in the years 2016 and 2020.

NRDC also asserts that gas-fired generation would increase by 2 percent. Our economic analysis found that natural gas-fired generation would increase by 8-16 percent to keep up with demand, while rates would simultaneously increase by as much as 16 percent.

The results of our economic analysis reveal that the NRDC proposal is, in fact, all pain with very little gain. And the proposal’s failure to mention the many potential consequences, like cost increases and job losses, suggests that the group is ignoring reality in order to drum up support for its impractical plan. A more reasonable approach to greenhouse gas regulations would offer more flexibility and would focus on measures that can be taken at power plants to reduce their impact, while maintaining dependable, low-cost, coal-based electricity.

Here at America’s Power, we support an “inside-the-fence,” source-based approach that bases emissions reductions on measures taken at existing power plants. This would include many improvements power plants can make to their facilities that improve efficiency, remove emissions and more. Being able to implement measures at individual generating units is a common sense approach to working with utilities and achieving significant emissions reductions and environmental improvements. Let’s work together to craft a solution that works for our consumers and for America’s energy future.

Join us in asking the EPA to set common sense policies and to protect American jobs today.

Coal Has Kept Kentucky Warm This Winter

Our own CEO and president, Mike Duncan, is a proud, lifelong Kentuckian. As the grandson of a coal miner, Mike’s ties to coal are deep. But as an active community member and business owner in his hometown of Inez, KY, Mike has also seen firsthand how Kentucky’s economy has been impacted by regulations that threaten the future of coal generation.

Mike recently wrote about how rising energy costs are devastating Kentucky’s families in a piece for the Richmond Register.

While Mike focuses on his own home state of Kentucky, communities across the country are experiencing a similar plight—facing daunting energy costs and the threat of lost jobs and economic activity.

Check out the op-ed here.


ACCCE Summer Internship Program

Are you looking for a great summer internship opportunity?

ACCCE is currently seeking dedicated and motivated candidates for our 2014 Summer Internship Program.

Our Summer Internship Program gives students the unique experience of developing a wide range of professional skills while working in the heart of our nation’s capital.

If you’re interested in applying to our summer internship program, please review and complete the application PDF.

All applications and associated information from candidates should be sent to

Out of Touch at the EPA

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “out of touch.”

Yesterday, speaking to a group of labor advocates, McCarthy predicted that this administration’s environmental regulations on new power plants and the forthcoming regulations for existing plants will create new opportunities for employment.

As she was making her statement, however, Gallup published its Economic Confidence Rankings, which shows major coal states are gravely concerned about their economic future.

The Gallup index, which ranks the 50 states and Washington, D.C. based on their views of  “current U.S. economic conditions and their perceptions of the economy’s direction,” listed West Virginia, Wyoming and Kentucky as three of the four least economically confident states.

These major coal producing states view the EPA’s efforts to regulate coal out of our energy mix as a major threat to their local economies, and with good reason.

“Kentucky and West Virginia, because of the nature of our economies, are going to be hit the hardest,” said Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett.

Bissett went on to note that the opposition to these new regulations in coal producing states isn’t a partisan issue: “Where we’ve lost more than seven thousand direct coal mining jobs… is in our eastern Kentucky coal fields, which is a heavily Democratic area.”

Bissett’s comments stand in strong contrast to the EPA’s McCarthy who has been emphasizing the high level of stakeholder involvement in the lead up to the existing power plant rule.

We’re not sure what McCarthy considers to be a high level of stakeholder involvement or who she thinks important stakeholders are. Clearly, however, they are not the coal communities and families that will be most impacted by EPA’s NSPS regulations as she didn’t even bother to visit them during EPA’s so-called listening tour.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell captured the reality of these regulations perfectly:

“The real tragedy here is that those claiming to be fighting for the poor are not only making things worse in places like Eastern Kentucky, they’re deliberately ignoring the voices of those who live outside their comfortable Beltway cocoon.”

Coal Keeps America Thriving

Yesterday, the EPA held public hearings on its proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new coal and gas-fueled power plants.   EPA’s proposal sets an unattainable standard based on technology that hasn’t been proven on a full-scale power plant making it all but impossible to build any future, technologically advanced coal plants in the United States.

This isn’t the right path forward for American energy policy.

The right path forward includes all of our energy resources, especially our most affordable, reliable, domestic fuel source: coal.

The president says he supports an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, but in reality his administration is pursuing an “all but one” energy agenda.

We know how important coal-based electricity is to millions of Americans.  Energy from coal helps keep our lights on, our homes warm and our electricity prices affordable.  That’s why yesterday, as the EPA held its hearing, we circled the nation’s capital with a message for the president:

We can’t change policy by ourselves, which is why we need your help.  We’ve launched a campaign to let the EPA know that they must protect American jobs and ensure we all have the affordable, reliable power we need to fuel our lives.

Sign our letter today and tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that you deserve affordable, reliable power.


America Can’t Afford to Turn Its’ Back On Coal

Last week it was our pleasure to host Governor Bobby Jindal as a keynote speaker at our annual meeting. Governor Jindal spoke to leaders of our industry, laid out the challenges we face and the role he sees coal playing in our energy future.

In his home state of Louisiana, coal is the second leading electricity generator, accounting for about 1/4 of the electricity production in the state.

Coal isn’t just the second largest source of power in Louisiana, it’s also a major economic driver. The port of New Orleans is now the second highest volume coal port in the U.S.

With coal playing such a large role in the state, it’s no surprise that Gov. Jindal supports coal as a part of our energy mix for years to come.

“Coal will certainly continue to be an important part of our energy economy, and anything we do to inhibit the industry’s ability to continue delivering affordable, reliable electricity is doing harm to us all.”

With leaders like Gov. Jindal supporting our industry, we’ll continue to strive to create cleaner, more efficient technology for generating coal-fueled electricity.

What we won’t do, is sit on the sidelines while the EPA and this administration enact harmful regulations to stifle an industry American families rely on. Gov. Jindal put it best when he said:

“We need Washington D.C. to get out of the way. Let’s reduce energy consumption through efficiency and innovation, not austerity.”

We need you to stand with Gov. Jindal and with America’s Power. Go to  and sign our letter to the EPA. Help us protect coal communities.

Seeing is Believing

Jade Davis is the Director of State Affairs and Outreach for The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Last week I had the unique opportunity to bring a group of thought leaders, community activists and elected officials to tour the Kemper County Energy Facility in Kemper County Mississippi.

Representatives from various organizations including The National Policy Alliance, The National Association of Black County Officials, The American Association of Blacks in Energy, The Forrest County NAACP, The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy, Manufacture Alabama, and the Tennessee Valley Association joined with a representative from Alabama Governor Bentley’s Office and Mississippi State Senators Sampson Jackson II, Kenneth Wayne Jones, Kelvin Butler and Robert Jackson to see first hand how 21st century coal is having a major positive impact on Eastern Mississippi and Western Alabama.

One of the constant challenges we face in the coal industry is the misconception that clean coal isn’t real.  We didn’t want to ask these leaders to believe it without seeing it so we gave them the opportunity to experience our cleaner coal technology in action.  They had a chance to meet the engineers and plant operators who provide cleaner, affordable energy to the region and tour a 21st century coal mine to see how our industry has grown and adapted over the years.

This trip wasn’t just about showing off our technological advances, we wanted to make sure everyone who joined the tour knew about the opportunities cleaner coal offers the community.  Whether it’s creating and supporting jobs, investment opportunities, or providing a backbone for communities to grow and develop, facilities like Kemper help power progress regionally.

For me, this was more than just another work trip.  Though I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, my mother’s family migrated to Ohio from Western Alabama. Being able to see how Kemper has brought good jobs, affordable power and community investment into the region was especially moving to me and sharing that experience with leaders, activists and officials made this trip all the more worthwhile.

At facilities like Kemper, cutting edge technology is being deployed to power our homes, businesses, hospitals and schools.  Clean coal technology is real and it’s a viable way to help communities grow.

It’s my hope that everyone can see how plants like Kemper, employing cutting edge clean coal technologies, can improve quality of life while providing affordable energy.