CMA News Release on the Bowie Mine Workforce Reduction

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** CMA News Release **

October 31, 2014
Contact: Stuart Sanderson



Denver, CO – The Colorado Mining Association (CMA) expresses both its concern and its support for the 150 miners and employees at the Bowie Mine in Paonia whose jobs were eliminated in a workforce reduction due to the termination of a contract to supply coal to the Tennessee Valley Authority.   The cuts will impact 42% of the workforce of 375 and about 33% of production, which amounted to 3.3 million tons in 2013.

CMA understands that weakness in coal demand in the region also played a role in the company’s difficult decision to terminate the positions and scale back production. “But the role of government in engineering that weakness cannot be overlooked,” said Stuart Sanderson, CMA President. EPA “sweetheart” settlements of lawsuits by anti-coal groups who seek to dictate national energy policy have resulted in the closure of three TVA coal plants and the retirement of 26 boiler units.   Yesterday’s announcement by Bowie is a symptom of all that is wrong with national environmental policy in the United States.

State laws are also to blame. “Since 2010, the state of Colorado has enacted laws and initiated policies to phase, if not drive, affordable and clean Colorado coal out of the energy mix.   These 150 miners are among the many casualties,” Sanderson added.

Colorado coal production hit a peak of nearly 40 million tons in 2004 and has fallen by more than 40% since then, due in large part to the uncertainty over what the rules of game would be with respect to carbon emissions from power plants.   “Since 2007, Colorado has launched a war on coal jobs and affordable energy through mandates for renewable energy and other high cost energy sources like natural gas,” he said.   “The so-called Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, which will shut down about 950 megawatts of coal power plants along the Front Range, will further constrain markets and cost producers up to 4 million tons in production and $100 million annually in sales.”

These laws have delayed and stopped mine expansions. Lost production means lost wages, as well as lost revenues for local governments and public schools. In 2013 alone, royalties for schools dropped by 45%.

Now the Obama Administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency, wants to phase coal out of the mix altogether through the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This high cost energy scheme will do nothing to reduce carbon on a global scale but promises massive job losses and rate hikes here, pain that Colorado consumers will become all too familiar with in the years to come.

Worst of all, Colorado will not get full credit for its actions taken prior to 2012.   And Colorado is doing nothing to push back against the EPA flawed proposal.

Whoever Coloradans choose as their governor and senator for the next four and six years must push back against EPA’s attempt to impose on American energy consumers the most costly regulatory program in history.   Our future depends on it.