Kimberley Strassel's OpinionJournal.com column about coal-mine operator Robert E. Murray of Murray Energy is important on a number of levels.
You haven't heard of Robert E. Murray? That's not surprising.
If there were an open dialog instead of continual blather about "settled science" when it comes to supposedly human-induced "climate change" and "global warming" (two concepts I like to collectively refer to as "globaloney"), Murray would have visibility. But, as Strassel writes, a different "climate," the political one, appears to be keeping him largely out of the public eye, despite his best efforts to break through.
You see, Robert Murray is a coal-company executive who has first-hand experience with what will happen on a much broader scale if the radical changes envisioned by Al Gore and others (whom I like to refer to as "globalarmists") ever get enacted:
..... (Murray) employs about 3,000, although he estimates that if you look at all the secondary jobs created to provide goods and services for miners, his company has helped create some 36,000 jobs.
Those jobs are top of Mr. Murray's list of concerns, and he's been determined to make people hear about them. At a recent speech to the New York Coal Trade Association ..... Mr. Murray recalled what happened in his region after the 1990 Clean Air Act, which imposed drastic reductions in coal production: "In Ohio alone, from 1990 to 2005, nearly 120 mines were shut down, costing more than 36,000 primary and secondary jobs. These impacted areas have spent years recovering, and some never will. Families broke up, many lost homes, and some were impoverished . . ." He finishes the thought by noting that a global warming program would make those prior coal cuts look like small potatoes.
The attempts to marginalize Mr. Murray are all too real:
..... it's a measure of just how big an irritant he's become to global-warming politicians and their new buddies in the energy industry, that when Mr. Murray was invited to impart his wisdom to Congress at a hearing in March, Democrats tried to keep him from testifying. They later gave in, although Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa pointedly left the room when it was Mr. Murray's turn to testify.
Had Mr. Costa bothered to stay, he'd have heard a useful, and irrefutable, analysis of just what today's legislative proposals for a global warming program would mean to the economy, including the nation's many miners. "Some 52% of this country's electricity is generated from coal," Mr. Murray says. "Global warming legislation would place arbitrary limits on the use of coal, yet there's nothing to replace it at the same cost. There's nuclear, but the environmentalists killed it off and aren't about to let it come back. There's hydro, but we're using that everywhere we can already. There's natural gas, but supply and pipeline capacity is limited, and it's three times the cost of coal. Politically correct--and subsidized 'alternative energy' is very limited in capability and also expensive.
"So what you are really doing with a global warming program is getting rid of low-cost energy," he says. The consequences? Americans have been fretting about losing jobs to places such as China or India, which already offer cheaper energy. "You hike the cost of energy here further, and you create a mass exodus of business out of this country." Especially so, given that neither of those countries is about to hamstring its own economy in order to join a Kyoto-like accord.
"Inconvenient truths," indeed, whether Mr. Costa wants to hear them or not. You will not be surprised to learn that I have found no "Congressman Walks out of Hearing" story about Costa's rude behavior.
But Murray criticism isn't only aimed at the politicians and the scientific herd:
..... his favorite subject .....(is) his fellow energy executives and the role they are playing in encouraging a mandatory C02 program. "There is this belief that since even some in the energy industry are now on board with a program, that it must be okay. No one is looking at these executives' real motives."
(Carbon trading ..... has nothing to do with creating 'regulatory certainty,' which is how they like to sell their actions. This has to do with creating money, for their companies, off the back of an economy that will be paying more for its energy."
Mr. Murray reserves special criticism for those companies that have joined the high-profile U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition pushing for mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions. "Some of them see profits ..... But none of it is good for America."
He says that if these companies think the good times will last, they've been smoking their own products. ..... They are focused on short-term profits, and maybe it's true that a cap-and-trade program will help them with their next earnings statement. What they won't acknowledge is that, once a cap-and-trade program is in effect, the politicians will want to keep lowering, lowering, lowering the cap. That means fewer and fewer allowances. In the long term, this will starve American energy--though that isn't something they are telling their shareholders.
Despite his congressional testimony, frequent TV and radio appearances, and critical letters to other energy-industry executives, Mr. Murray is an Old Media non-entity. Google News searches tell the tale (all typed as indicated):
The only relevant results returned are Strassel's column, a May 15 guest column by Murray ("The Human Impact of Anti-warming Legislation") at Wall Street Journal affiliate MarketWatch.com (requires free registration), and a reasonably balanced article on Murray with statements from both sides of the debate in Southeastern Ohio's twice-weekly Athens (OH) News.
Robert Murray's invisibility indicates that Old Media is more interested in foisting globaloney on the public than it is in presenting all sides of the debate -- particularly those that involve what the full globalarmists' agenda would really cost if it were ever implemented.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.