Clinton talks up clean coal, says she can bring steel jobs back to PA

Clinton has mostly focused her campaign message on coal workers and their families, rather than addressing the difficulties producers of the fossil fuel have been facing. (Image courtesy of Clinton’s official campaign site)

Fresh off a bounce in the polls, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is promising to revitalize Pennsylvania communities hurt by a downturn in the coal and steel industries.

The former First Lady and Secretary of State under President Obama accepted the nomination by the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Friday. A Reuters/Ipso poll released the same day showed Clinton, who is running neck and neck with Republican nominee Donald Trump for the presidency in November, is leading Trump by 6 percentage points. According to the poll taken between July 25 and 29, nearly 41 percent of voters favour Clinton, compared to 35 percent who picked Trump and 25 percent who marked “Other”. 

While in Philadelphia Jon Delano of KDKA-TV, part of CBS News, took the opportunity to button-hole Clinton on her policies for helping coal and steel workers displaced by, among the chief factors, bankruptcies by major U.S. coal producers, cheaper natural gas, low coal prices, weak global demand for coal and steelmaking, and depleted supply in America’s coal-producing regions. The United States has also accused China of unfair trade practices, namely, dumping steel to gain marketshare.

Coal is a different issue because we’ve got to figure out — is there a technology that can create clean energy from coal?

Excerpts from their conversation, which can also be viewed on video, appear below:

Delano: As you know, Donald Trump has made a big play for this region.
Clinton: Yes.
Delano: Many people think he will carry every county out here except Allegheny. Can you be very specific? What is it you’re going to do for those coal miners, those steel workers, and others who have lost their jobs?
Clinton: First, I am really proud to have been endorsed by the steelworkers. We are going to have the biggest infrastructure program to create new jobs — to build roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, water systems, that we’ve had since World War II.

Delano: Can we bring back coal jobs as Donald Trump says? Can we bring back steel jobs?
Clinton: Well, we can certainly bring back steel jobs because once we really handle the unfair trade practices that have undercut our steel industry causing layoffs and plant closures, we’re going to make it really clear to the rest of the world we’re not sitting by and watching our steel industry go any further down.
Delano: But what about coal?
Clinton: Coal is a different issue because we’ve got to figure out — is there a technology that can create clean energy from coal?

“If we put our minds to it, we’re going to revitalize coal country. Towns that have been knocked flat, we’re going to help them get up. We can do that with infrastructure, with advanced manufacturing. We can do that with clean energy. So I’m excited because there are lots of examples of what’s working. Pittsburgh — look at the way Pittsburgh has reinvented itself. I remember what Pittsburgh looked like 30 years ago, Jon. I was here, and I’m thrilled,” she said.

Pennyslvania is considered to be one of the key swing states that Clinton needs to win in order to beat Trump. A recent, heavily-circulated article by renowned left-wing pundit Michael Moore says Trump need only win four swing states – assuming voters vote Democrat or Republican in all other “red” or “blue” states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The two largely unpopular candidates seem to be matching rhetoric with rhetoric. Earlier in the primaries, Trump criticized Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency for over-regulating the industry, particularly new emissions-control regulations on coal-fired power plants. Trump also trumpeted – pun intended – clean coal at the time, saying, “I want clean coal, and we’re going to have clean coal and we’re going to have plenty of it. We’re going to have great, clean coal. We’re going to have an amazing mining business.”

While both Trump and Clinton see “clean coal” – which refers to a range of technologies from scrubbers for reducing air pollution to the holy grail, carbon capture and storage,  as the answer to revitalizing an industry most consider to be in sunset – the technology has not yet caught up to its promise. “A model carbon-capture plant being built in Mississippi has encountered repeated delays and huge cost overruns that will make it one of the most expensive power plants ever built. The coal industry complains that carbon capture has not received the government incentives showered on renewable energy,” notes an article that ran in May analyzing Trump’s “coal jobs” promises.

The reality too, is that governments have limited sway over the fortunes of the coal and steel industries, whose futures depend on supply and demand factors unrelated to government intervention.

The Morning Call article quotes John Deskins, director of an economic-research bureau at West Virginia University, saying that with U.S. coal production dropping 10 percent this year, due not only to declining domestic demand, but depletion of the fossil fuel in heavily-mined Appalachia, “It is very unlikely we will see a return to levels of coal production like we observed in 2008,” the most recent peak in West Virginia, Deskins told the publication.

According to the U.S. Labor Department there were 57,600 coal mining jobs in the United States in March, compared to 84,600 in 2009.

Clinton has been criticized by Trump and others for a comment she made on television in March regarding lost coal-mining jobs. In a town hall meeting aired by CNN, Clinton said she would help coal country create renewable energy “because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right?” However the presidential candidate then clarified what she meant, saying “We’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.”

1791 8

8 Comments

  • More Coal News

    Latest Stories

    Bear Creek Mining’s stock marches up 23 percent in anticipation of feasibility study

    In the last month Bear Creek's stock (CVE:BCM) has gained 23% to $5.06 a share in anticipation of the company's feasibility study for the Corani silver-lead-zinc deposit. The company says that the study will be released in early November. The pre-feasibility study said that the Corani project could produced up to 10 million ounces of silver per year. "Additionally, the Corani project is well endowed with both lead and zinc, so by-product credits will result in low or negative cash costs per ounce of silver," stated the company.

    Gold Royalties Corporation agrees to acquire Yukon Royalty interests for $13.8 million

    CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2011) - Gold Royalties Corporation is pleased to announce that it has signed a binding letter agreement with Strategic Metals Ltd. (TSX-V: SMD) ("Strategic"). Under the terms of the letter agreement, Gold Royalties Corporation will acquire Strategic's net smelter royalty interests (the "Royalty Interests") in the Kink 3 mineral claim and the Northern Dancer tungsten-molybdenum property for $13.8 million, less any royalties earned on the Royalty Interests up to the closing date for the sale. "Having recently announced our expansion into Yukon with the acquisition of a royalty interest on the highly prospective Blende silver-zinc-lead deposit, Gold Royalties Corporation is very pleased to have reached this agreement with Strategic to add further high-quality Yukon mining royalties to our company. Combined with our existing royalty interests in Canada, we remain committed to the execution of our acquisition-focused business model and to our continued growth as an emerging royalty holder on mineral ore bodies in Canada," said Ryan Kalt, President of Gold Royalties Corporation.

    SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWSLETTER

    Silvercorp increases dividend by 25%; announces second quarter dividend of CAD$0.025

    VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2011) - Silvercorp Metals Inc. (TSX:SVM)(NYSE:SVM) ("Silvercorp" or the "Company") today announced that its Board of Directors has increased the amount of its quarterly dividend by 25%, from CAD$0.02 per share (CAD$0.08 annualized) to CAD$0.025 per share (CAD$0.10 annualized). The Company first began paying dividends in 2007 with an annual dividend of $0.05.

    AngloGold Ashanti Q3 profit at record $457m; raises dividend

    AngloGold Ashanti posted record quarterly adjusted headline earnings* of $457m and boosted its dividend to improve cash returns to shareholders. Payouts to shareholders will now be made quarterly, instead of twice yearly. "Our power to generate earnings and strong cash flow is clear in these numbers," Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said. "The upward jump in the dividend demonstrates the fundamental strength of the business and the market, while maintaining the ability to fund our growth pipeline."

    Gold goes viral in China as imports hit just under 2 tonnes per day

    Consumers made the most of the dip in the price of bullion and mainland China's gold purchases via Hong Kong hit a record 56.9 tonnes in September, a sixfold increase year-on-year and up 30% from August, according to figures released by the Hong Kong government and reported by the FT. Quarterly data from the Hong Kong census and statistics office showed the Middle Kingdom imported about 140 tonnes of gold via Hong Kong in the three months from July to September ahead of the festival season, more than the roughly 120 tonnes for the whole of 2010. Over the last decade China's share of total global demand for bullion has climbed from 6% to 18%.

    Vale on iron ore price: after hitting 2-year low, the only way is up

    Bloomberg reports Rio de Janeiro-based Vale SA, the world’s largest iron-ore producer, said prices for the raw material have stabilized and are recovering from “rock bottom” levels as a result of lower-than-expected production and strong demand from China, India and South America. Iron ore for immediate delivery has gained 8% to $126.30 a tonne since reaching its lowest level in almost two years at the end of October. During the month iron ore prices crashed almost 30% forcing the big three – BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto control nearly 70% of the 1 billion tonne annual iron ore seaborne trade – to renegotiate quarterly contracts with Chinese buyers to bring values more in line with the spot price.

    Silvercorp emerges from short and distort saga awash with cash

    Silvercorp Metals on Tuesday reported revenue of $62.1 million for its second quarter, up 71% from the same period last year. Cash flow from operations hit a record $35.2 million, or $0.20 per share, up 140% from 2011 while net income of $18.5 million, or $0.11 per share, showed a 49% increase. Silver production of 1.4 million ounces rose a disappointing 4% but gold production shot up to 2,516 ounces. Silvercorp said it continues to maintain its low cost producer status with a cash production cost per ounce of silver of negative $4.55.

    With $3.1 billion in fresh funding, Peabody moves operations HQ to Australia

    Platts reports that the global operations headquarters of US giant Peabody Energy will be relocated to Brisbane following the acquisition of Australia's Macarthur. Peabody raised $3.1 billion with the sale of senior notes on Monday and now owns 77.6% of Macarthur after ArcelorMittal pulled out of its joint $5 billion bid for the coking coal producer, just days after the target's top shareholder accepted the offer. Peabody is the world's largest private-sector coal company with 2010 sales of 246 million tons and nearly $7 billion in revenues.