There’s no doubt that next week’s taxpayer-funded coal industry pep rally against President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will feature industry officials and their political supporters arguing that the current administration’s policies are killing the coal industry, and putting West Virginians out of work.
Republican political operatives — folks that probably wish Don Blankenship would run for governor — are already gearing up their spin that West Virginia has “fewer coal miners” because of President Obama and EPA.
But over at the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy, Ted Boettner dares to try to insert some facts into this whole discussion. Writes Ted:
While the Obama administration and the EPA may be taking a harder look at mountain top removal mining permits, a quick look at coal mining employment in West Virginia reveals that since Obama took office in the winter of 2009 coal mining employment has grown by over 1,500 jobs or by 7.4%. If we measure from the end of the national recession in June 2009 (or the 2nd Quarter of 2009) to the third-quarter of 2011 (the latest available data), employment in the coal mining industry has grown by 3,100. For comparison, total employment in West Virginia has only grown by 2.9% over this period.
Here’s the chart, which supports what we’ve previously published in the Gazette on this issue: