Former Miner Uses Facebook To Try To Help Struggling Coal Industry
Social media is playing a role in an attempt by a coal miner to make federal policymakers aware of how they're damaging the coal industry.
A Facebook page created by a former miner living in southern Illinois called Coal Miner's Movement 2016 has received over 14,000 likes since it was established last Saturday.
Bob Sandidge mined for 35 years. He's now an industry consultant. He says his Facebook page has received notice from miners, railroad workers, truck drivers, machinists and more. Sandidge says this is proof policies regarding carbon pollution are not only putting miners out of work, but other people who rely on the coal industry.
"You're told different things. For every mining job, there's three affected. For every mining job, there's eight affected. I mean we're seeing firsthand, you can count them up. We're getting retailers; we're getting grocery store people from mom and pop stores that are having to close their doors."
Sandidge says the coal industry is at its lowest point in his lifetime and he puts much of the blame on federal policies changing emissions standards, especially the Clean Power Plan.
"The restrictions and regulations that they have imposed on coal generation from power plants totally choked the industry off."
State Representative Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg says Alliance Coal's recent announcement that it's laying off 200 workers at the White Oak Mine in Dahlgren is proof President Obama's Clean Power Plan is a jobs-killer.
"I'm telling you right now, there's not very many coal legislators left, and I'm one of the few. So, we're going to keep fighting and we're going to keep filing legislation to help our industry. That only helps our economy."
The coal industry received a boost this week when the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked implementation of the Clean Power Plan.
Legal pundits say the Supreme Court ruling came as a surprise and suggests the final decision about the legality of the plan will not come until after President Obama leaves office.
The Coal Miner's Movement 2016 Facebook page includes a three-question form that Sandidge hopes people will fill out so the information can be compiled and sent in a formal manner to a lobbyist in Washington, who will take them to members of Congress.