Coal Production – The UN’s ‘Contract and Converge’ Game Playing Out Again

By Dennis Ambler, SPPI Blog

Contract and Converge is the UN agenda for wealth redistribution, which requires the West to cut back on our use of hydrocarbon energy and allows developing nations to expand theirs so that they can catch us up.

Brazil Company invests 2 billion USD to develop Mozambique vast coal reserves

The world’s largest iron-ore producer, Brazil’s Vale will double investments in Mozambique to 4 billion US dollars in the next four years, said Chief Executive Officer Roger Agnelli, on Monday. The Rio de Janeiro-based company invested 2 billion USD since it acquired the Moatize coal mine in 2004, said Agnelli in Tete province, 2,000 kilometres north of the capital Maputo.

Vale started operations at the 1.7 billion USD Moatize this weekend and is expected to produce 11 million metric tons of metallurgic and thermal coal a year once fully operational, the company said. Moatize employs 7,500 workers and its coal will be transported along a 600-kilometer railway line to the port of Beira in central Mozambique. Vale plans to set up a coal-to-liquid plant in Mozambique, Agnelli said, declining to give more details. The southern African country’s government supports the plan to produce fuels from coal, said Mineral Resources Minister Esperanca Bias. “We want to add value to coal produced in the country,” she said in an interview. “But first we have to see how the project is operating”.

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza presided over the inauguration ceremony Sunday in Moatize. The former Portuguese colony of Mozambique has billions of tons of coal reserves, but until now they have been largely untapped.

Later this year, India’s Tata Steel and Australia’s Riversdale Mining are expected to jointly open another major coal mine in nearby Benga.

Don’t expect James Hansen to visit Mozambique anytime soon to campaign about their coal “death trains”.

Meanwhile, back in the US,
Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” Campaign Is Beyond the Pale, by William Yeatman on May 9, 2011

“Last Thursday, the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee held a hearing on “Environmental Protection Agency Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachia.” Video and written testimony are available here. For detailed descriptions of the EPA’s outrageous war on Appalachian coal production.

Suffice it to say, EPA has subverted the Administrative Procedures Act to enact a de facto moratorium on mining. It engineered a new Clean Water Act “pollutant,” saline effluent, which the EPA claims degrades water quality downstream from mines by harming a short lived insect that isn’t an endangered species. The hearing on Thursday was part 1; this Wednesday, the subcommittee is scheduled to hear from EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.

I attended the hearing, and at the media table, I picked up a Sierra Club “Beyond Coal Campaign” press release, by Director Mary Anne Hitt. It is an excellent window into the lying and exaggerations frequently employed by environmental extremists in order to demonize coal. Below, I reprint the entire press release, sentence by sentence (in bold), each followed by a rebuttal (in italics).”

Sierra Club: “This Committee’s leadership is trying to stack the deck against Appalachian miners, families and businesses.”

Stacking the deck!? This is absurd. To be sure, all four witnesses before the Subcommittee were opposed to the EPA’s war on Appalachian coal, but that was by BIPARTISAN agreement. Indeed, the only Democrat to show up was Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), the Ranking Member, who opposes the EPA’s machinations more than Republicans, due to the fact that his State is the largest coal producer in Appalachia, and is, therefore, harmed most.

Sierra Club: “Despite the severe threats that mountaintop removal coal mining poses to the health of Appalachian families and the environment, not a single community member affected by mountaintop removal has been invited to speak to this Committee.”

For starters, mountaintop mining poses no threat “to the health of Appalachian families” and essentially zero impact on the “environment.” As I explain in detail here, the EPA’s war on Appalachian coal is predicated on protecting an insect that lives for a day, and which isn’t even an endangered species.

As for the Sierra Club’s nonsense about the Committee not having invited a “single community member affected by mountaintop removal,” there is an extremely likely explanation: No such “community member” exists. In May 2010, I travelled to Charleston, West Virginia, to attend an EPA field hearing on its Appalachian coal crackdown. It took place in the Charleston Civic Center, and there were probably 2,000 people in the room, of which I’d guestimate that 1,980 were against the EPA. Of those that supported the EPA’s assault on Appalachian coal production, 10 worked for the EPA, and the rest were from environmentalist organizations. There were no “community members affected by mountaintop removal.” The upshot is that the only people in this affair who are “affected” are the coal industry and support industry workers who are at risk of losing their jobs.

Sierra Club: “Mountaintop removal is not the economic cure-all that many in Congress claim it to be.”

Wrong again! Mountaintop mining might be anathema to radical environmentalists at the Sierra Club, but it’s absolutely essential for the Appalachian coal industry’s competitiveness vis a vis coal production west of the Mississippi.

Sierra Club: “In reality, it costs miners their jobs through mechanization, jeopardizes their health and puts state budgets even deeper into debt.”

Regarding the first clause: If mountaintop mining “costs miners their jobs,” then why do miners support it? As for the second clause, it is an unequivocal fact that local and state governments in Appalachian States rely on the coal industry for a significant part of their tax revenues. For example, at the May EPA field hearing, Logan County (West Virginia) School Superintendent Wilma Zigmond said that, “coal keeps the lights on and our schools running,” after noting that property taxes from coal mines contribute more than $17 million annually.

Sierra Club: “There is a better way.”

Really! That’s great. Please, tell me this better way! (I sure hope it’s not windmills and solar panels)

Sierra Club: “Clean, safe and affordable alternatives exist to power our nation – without the high economic and health costs or destruction that come with mountaintop removal coal mining.”

Doh! She was talking about wind mills and solar panels. The fact is, you can’t replace reliable, affordable energy (like coal power) with unreliable, expensive energy (like wind mills and solar panels). It just doesn’t work. I’ll also reiterate that the “high economic and health costs or destruction that come with mountaintop removal mining” is limited to an insect that lives for a day, and which isn’t even an endangered species.

Sierra Club: “In this time of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever for Americans to seek out safe, cost-effective solutions to our energy crisis.”

This is ridiculous. “In this time of economic uncertainty,” it is important for people to have jobs, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SIERRA CLUB OPPOSES. Moreover, the most “cost-effective” solution to our “energy crisis (?)” is coal. I’ll grant that coal mining is more dangerous to Americans than the manufacture of wind turbines and solar panels in China. [To be sure, as a free marketer, I’m a proponent of China’s right to sell America wind turbines and solar panels without restrictions, in order to cheapest meet the foolish green energy production quotas that our politicians subject us to.]

Sierra Club: “Mountaintop removal coal mining simply doesn’t fit this bill.”

Perhaps in bizzarro world, but not here on planet earth.

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