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8/27/2004

Bush ads spreading propoganda to coal miners

United Mine Workers Of America International President Blasts Anti-Kerry Ad Running In West Virginia Says "Americans For Job Security" Ad Is Wrong To Suggest Kerry Will Take Coal Miners' Jobs

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil Roberts today blasted a new ad running in West Virginia by a group calling itself "Americans for Job Security." The ad alleges that John Kerry will "take our mining jobs away," and Roberts says that statement is flat-out wrong.

"The politics of fear and deception is rearing its ugly head throughout West Virginia, and this Americans for Job Security ad is a prime example," said Roberts. "John Kerry is not going to take away coal mining jobs. If he were, do people honestly think the UMWA would have given its endorsement to him?"

Roberts said Kerry's recently announced $10 billion clean coal technology program will create coal mining jobs in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia because it means coal will be burned more cleanly, hence making it a more acceptable primary fuel source for the nation.

"By investing $10 billion over the next decade in advanced clean coal technology, John Kerry will help ensure that coal remains a vital part of our energy future," explained Roberts. "These investments will provide the affordable energy we need, create new jobs in the coalfields and supplement efforts to improve America's environment. Coal miners know that installation of advanced clean coal technology means new construction, operation and maintenance jobs at power plants and a more secure future for their own jobs." He continued, "John Kerry understands that technology is the key to coal's future. He knows we can't stick our heads in the sand and hope that society's demand for cleaner energy will go away. It won't. Instead, those who advocate the use of coal must recognize that to seriously meet our energy and environmental challenges, we must embrace the call for cleaner energy from coal. If the message of the coal industry is that the only way to utilize coal is to foul our air and water resources, the opponents of coal will ultimately win. We can continue to improve the environment and still have a vibrant coal industry; but to accomplish this we must invest in advanced coal technology."

Roberts categorized claims that the Bush Administration has been good for the creation of coal mining jobs in West Virginia as "unfounded."

"More than 2,000 coal mining jobs have been lost in West Virginia since George Bush took office in 2001," said Roberts. "In addition, Bush is proposing new rules governing mercury emissions that could lead to large scale fuel-switching from Appalachia to the Powder River Basin, which includes Wyoming-Dick Cheney's home state. This fuel-switching will lead to coal miners losing their jobs, just like in 1990 when the Acid Rain rules were enacted."

Roberts said the coal industry itself has denounced Bush's proposed mercury regulations.

In comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on Bush's mercury rules, Massey Energy wrote, 'The proposed rules threaten the future of the Appalachian coal industry and those who depend on it,'" explained Roberts, "and the Bituminous Coal Coalition wrote, 'EPA's proposals...will result in adverse economic impacts, including loss of employment to an important class of workers in key bituminous coal-producing states.'"
oberts added that Bush's pledge in 2000 to commit $2 billion to fund clean coal technology over a ten-year period has, to date, been woefully underfunded.

"Going back to my point about coal's future survival-and the creation of more coal mining jobs-being contingent on a serious commitment to find ways to burn it more cleanly, it is clear that President Bush has no intention of funding the research needed-at the levels he pledged-to accomplish that goal," said Roberts.

"We need a president who understands what it takes to keep coal a vital part of our energy mix in the 21st century. You can't preserve coal miners' jobs by ignoring the environment. Our job security lies in addressing these problems by developing and deploying advanced technologies. That's the key to coal's future and John Kerry understands that. Americans for Job Security will surely continue to make these false claims, but the truth speaks for itself. The UMWA is working hard to make sure coal miners across West Virginia understand reality, not fiction."

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