The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) is making plans to hold a large rally of union members and their families in Pittsburgh on July 31, 2014, to protest a rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will have the effect of slashing tens of thousands of jobs for coal miners, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others while having no significant effect on global greenhouse gas emissions, union officials announced.
“This rule will cost thousands of jobs of those who mine, transport and burn coal to generate electricity,” said UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. “Even the EPA doesn’t dispute that. The agency says that other jobs will be created by this rule, but they won’t be in the coalfields and they won’t have the levels of pay and benefits that our members earn. Our members want to know what lies in the future for their families and their communities, but so far the EPA has no answers.”
The EPA is holding a series of public hearings regarding this proposed rule, one of which will be in Pittsburgh on July 31 at the William S. Moorhead Federal Building.
“We estimate that this rule could take as much as $208 billion out of our communities over the next 20 years,” Roberts said. “No matter how you look at it, there is no way the coalfield economy can take that kind of hit and survive. That is why active and retired UMWA miners and their families will come to Pittsburgh, to exercise our right to petition our government and make our voices heard.
“This is a policy that should concern everyone,” Roberts said. “The EPA is proposing a rule that is largely symbolic with respect to cutting global greenhouse gas emissions. The truth is that it will perhaps cut about 1 percent worldwide by 2030. Meanwhile, we will be bleeding even more of the best American jobs to economic competitors like China and India who will continue to power their growing economies by expanding their use of coal-fired electricity, not shrinking it.
“Climate change is a global problem,” Roberts said. “It demands a global solution, not one that punishes American coal miners and their families after they have provided the means to power our economy for 150 years.”
Further details of the rally and protest will be announced in the coming weeks.