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Santa Baby, Bring Me Coal

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

I want coal for Christmas, and not because I’ve been a naughty girl. I want coal so I can affordably power up the high-tech toys Santa is bringing me, including an electronic butler who cleans and cooks and a modern, coal-fired steam locomotive that will allow me to bypass the TSA Snooper Troopers when I travel cross-country.


OK, so Santa probably won’t be sending a full-size coal-fired train down my chimney. But, like many of you, I may receive small electronics as gifts. As millions of us ring in the New Year by adding new gadgets to the power grid, we’ll need ample electricity to fire-up our cutting edge smartphones, sound systems and gaming consoles.

Americans currently get around 40% of their electricity from coal. We require coal to stay warm by running our furnaces—without going bankrupt—and to keep our ovens on as we celebrate the reason for the season with honeyed ham, buttery mashed potatoes and frosted sugar cookies.

Coal has historically created millions of well-paying jobs for miners around the world (who can make upwards of $30 an hour). Meanwhile, the coal industry provides a safe and affordable form of energy so that everyone—healthy or sick; educated or illiterate; rich or poor—may access basic living necessities like light and heat.

Last week, President Obama met global leaders in Paris for the 2015 Climate Summit. ABC News called coal the Summit’s “elephant in the room” before admitting: “All our energy derives from the sun, including fossil fuels that merely are reservoirs of solar energy from eons ago.”

Wait a minute… if coal power is a form of solar energy, then why is President Obama utilizing the EPA to crush the industry with excessive rules? “Human beings disrupt the climate,” Obama claimed in Paris. If any humans are to blame for disrupting nature, it is humans within the EPA and the government—not everyday Americans. Let me explain…


Why Solar Is On The Naughty List

Energy prices increase for poor people when utilities rely on solar. For example in my home state of Minnesota, the largest power company—Xcel Energy—is proposing to raise electric rates by 9.8% over three years. The average family would see their annual electricity costs increase by $132—a hefty sum when you consider that over half of working Americans make less than $30,000 a year. Xcel Energy says it must raise rates in part due to government-mandated: “investments in cleaner energy.” (Minnesota law now requires that all utilities obtain 25% of their electricity from alternative sources by 2025.) Go figure.

Solar is often touted as an alternative to coal. Proponents claim that the price of solar has fallen, making it competitive. Not so, as I explain below. Furthermore, solar still does not provide reliable or affordable base load energy (power 24 hours a day) like coal or nuclear power. Finally, folks complaining about Donald Trump’s use of eminent domain should investigate our federal government’s routine subsidization of solar projects that permanently destroy thousands of acres of pristine land.

Western Lands Project founder and director Janine Blaeloch writes in the New York Times that solar projects are devastating public land and natural habitats—while failing to generate dependable power. She warns: “hundreds of thousands of acres of our pubic land… cannot be returned to their previous state; conversion is total and permanent, even though most [industrial solar and wind] projects will generate power for only 15 to 30 years.” By the way, Blaeloch is a self-described believer in a “climate crisis.” She simply happens to be willing to admit the truth about solar power’s shortcomings.


A “Poop Plant” in a Pear Tree… and Other Horror Stories

Politicians have a frighteningly terrible track record at investing your dollars in reducing emissions. For example, our federal government gave $8 million to the Minnesota Municipal Power Company to build a biomass plant before the company demonstrated its ability to convert agricultural waste into energy.Locals who live nearby now call the malodorous refinery a “giant poop plant,” complaining that the strong smells have caused them to grow nauseous and even vomit.

Two years after going live in 2013, the $45 million plant operates at only 12% of its capacity. Most waste converters reach at least “50% of their operating capacity in a few months,” according to Iowa State University Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department’s Dan Anderson.

Plant executive Derick Dahlen of Avant Energy told the Star Tribune this fall that he would be “very happy” if the plant reached operating capacity in “six years.” Why wouldn’t he? He received a portion of an $11 million fee to set up the plant: the longer the plant appears to be functional, the longer he can pretend to be useful.

Dahlen’s sweet-talking seems to pay off in hardware as well as in dollars. The American Biogas Council just awarded his plant “Biogas Project of the Year.” You can smell the cronyism from a mile away.


A second story: the EPA’s annual budget exceeds $8 billion yet the EPA twice refused to fund the technology invented by a man named Dan Carder who blew the whistle on Volkswagen’s emissions problems. According to TIME, Carder built his technology with only $69,000 in grant money from the International Council on Clean Transportation. Meanwhile, the EPA was busy dumping millions of gallons of mine waste into the Animas and San Juan rivers.

A third story: coal-rich states like Minnesota are encouraging residents to invest in subsidized solar gardens in exchange for a reduced energy bill. The catch, according to the Star Tribune, is: “the exclusion of financially strapped people who could benefit most from the savings. That’s because solar garden companies, and their lenders, only want customers with good credit scores.”

Coal Power Ends Poverty Without Harming Nature

Coal is cheap, and therefore does not discriminate against poor people. It’s about time that jet-setting elites stop discriminating against the most financially vulnerable among us. India, for example, sees coal as its only hope for providing power for its 260 million citizens living without electricity and millions more who have unreliable power. Even as Obama pontificated in Paris, India was building Asia’s largest coal mine, the Magadh project in Jharkhand.


Developing nations like India mine their own ancient solar-powered fuel—coal—to provide a better life for their citizens. Meanwhile, developed nations like the U.S. are proposing carbon taxes to force people to live the “right way.” The sad truth is that wealthy people will be unaffected by energy price increases. Carbon taxes are unjust because they single-handedly hurt impoverished people.

Climate alarmists claim that coal is the largest source of man-made carbon emissions. Scientists who represent over 14 different countries as members of the Nongovernmental International Panel On Climate Change confirmed for me that they fact-checked all of the UN-sanctioned reports and found that there is “no hard evidence” of “dangerous human-caused warming.”

Only rich economies can afford to experiment with energy. It’s clear from the examples given above that even the world’s richest nation, the United States, struggles to convert natural resources like livestock fecal waste and sunlight into energy—without damaging hundreds of thousands of acres of land and natural animal habitats. Coal plays a key role in a safe, affordable and reliable power grid that will lift the world’s hungry, sick, cold and impoverished out of their misery.

Santa Baby, there’s one thing I really do need, the deed, to a coal mine, Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.


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