Editor's note: This piece was co-authored by Niger Innis.
Are these people crazy? Are they so disconnected from reality that they don’t understand how vital coal is to jobs, living standards, civil rights progress and life itself?
How else can anyone react to a new environmentalist campaign to erect black crosses at coal mines and coal-fired power plants, to symbolize their opposition to this vital energy source? The Black Cross Alliance (BCA) is little more than another sordid campaign against affordable energy, especially hydrocarbons. Its policies are misguided at best, harmful and even lethal at worst.
When we see the Black Crosses, we need to remember the blessings of coal-based electricity: the economic uplift, the enhanced quality of life it provides for millions of working class Americans of every color. When we think of groups like the Black Cross Alliance and their undue influence over energy and economic policy, we need to remember the pain of rising unemployment and poverty in America. We need to remember the needless deaths of millions every year in the mostly black and brown developing world, due to radical environmentalist campaigns against energy and economic development.
America needs coal. Half of our nation’s electricity is generated with coal. Moreover, as National Black Chamber of Commerce president Harry Alford has pointed out, 86% of all African Americans live within 700 miles of Nashville, TN – many of them in states that get half to nearly all their electricity from coal.
These states are also our industrial heartland. Millions of jobs, millions of families, thousands of communities depend on abundant, reliable, affordable, coal-based electricity. It is their lifeblood. Illinois generates 48% of its electricity with coal; Alabama 51; Pennsylvania 53; Michigan 61; Tennessee 63; Wisconsin 66; Missouri 81; Ohio 85; Kentucky 94; Indiana 95; West Virginia 98 percent!
When militant environmentalists attack coal mining and burning, they attack mining jobs – and jobs in factories, hospitals, schools, offices and stores that depend on the affordable, dependable electricity that coal provides. They shackle people’s hopes and living standards. They make it harder for people to heat and cool their homes, pay their rent and mortgage, afford a car or medical treatment.
The pressure groups’ websites shout out, “Donate!” Translation: Help us wreak more havoc.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.
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