Tom Borelli

Following his election, Obama doggedly pursued his anti-coal agenda with cap-and-trade. After the legislation failed, he used the EPA to issue regulations that have dramatically reduced coal use.

According to the Energy Information Administration, in first quarter of 2011, 49 percent of electricity was derived from coal. That figure dropped to 34 percent one year later –- the year Patriot sought bankruptcy protection.

An analysis by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found combined EPA regulations are contributing to the closure of more than 280 coal power units. Further, the agency’s proposed greenhouse gas rule would essentially ban construction of any new coal-based power plants.

Investors can’t ignore these details like the media can. They are reacting to the reduced demand for coal as evidenced by crashing values of coal company stocks. Peabody stock, for example, was just over $70 per share in April 2011. It’s now selling for about $19.

Despite Obama’s pledge to bankrupt coal fired utilities, the United Mine Workers Union endorsed his campaign in 2008. Following the fulfillment of his openly hostile agenda against their jobs, the union elected to sit on the sidelines in 2012 instead of fighting for their livelihoods.

Now they’re reaping what they’ve sewn.

Without coal leaving the ground and being burned to produce power, the coal producers can’t fulfill obligations made when coal demand was high and the regulatory regime wasn’t tyrannical.

Given this government’s explicit policy to bankrupt the coal industry, the media and unions are naïve if they are honestly surprised that Patriot is on the verge of bankruptcy. They have no room to criticize companies doing everything possible to prevent liquidation and the mass layoffs that follow.

The Atlantic’s exploitation of this story is just another facet of an all-out media assault on free market capitalism waged without regard to inconvenient facts that completely impeach their narrative.

Tom Borelli

Tom Borelli, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow with FreedomWorks.

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