Unanswered Questions and a Reality Check about the (supposed) War on Coal

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil - image credit Wikipedia
This post, "Coal politics: What W.Va. doesn’t want to talk about”, on Coal Tattoo from Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette is a must read. (Link)

As Ken notes, unfortunately, our problems are more significant than Tuesday's embarrassing protest vote in the Democratic primary when 40% of voters in the Democratic primary voted for a prisoner in Texas instead of President Obama -- although that was bad enough.

Yet, most of our media isn't covering the real problems of our state, and our political leaders are actively ignoring the lingering questions of:
  • What happens after the coal is gone?
  • How do we keep miners safe on the job and protect them from black lung (which is on the rise)?
  • How do we protect the health of our children from unsafe water that has been contaminated from Mountaintop Removal mining techniques?
Instead of addressing these important questions, our political leaders instead rail against President Obama with claims that there is a "War on Coal", despite the fact that my friends with the WV Center on Budget and Policy remind us:
"according to WVMHST, there were 22,336 coal miners employed in 2011, which is the highest WV coal mining employed has been in 17 years (since 1994).
To illustrate, there were 20,237 coal miners employed in WV when President Obama took office in January 2009.  That number had increased to 22,336 in 2011.  That's a 10.3% increase in less than 3 years.  Good luck finding a West Virginia politician who will acknowledge that fact though.

I guess the supposed "War on Coal" is going as well as the "War on Drugs", and by "going well", I mean it's not working much at all.