Saturday, April 29, 2017

EPA chief gets it backward: It's Trump, not Obama, who offers a false choice on jobs vs. environment
"Pruitt is right about one thing. The idea that we must pick between protecting the environment and having good jobs is, most definitely, a “false choice.” But it wasn’t the Obama administration that put forth that choice. It’s the braying bullsh*tters of the Republican Party and a few Democratic enablers who have been promoting that theme. After all, job losses are one of the chief public justifications the Trump regime has given for rolling back environmental regulations, including the Clean Power Plan.  The fact is, few if any coal jobs are ever coming back. That’s something Pruitt never cops to but energy investors and even dinosaurs like coal baron Robert Murray know is true. Most of the coal jobs lost in the past three decades have not been eliminated because of environmental protections. They have been lost to automation, to a switch from underground mining to surface mining of low-sulfur coal in the West, to cheap natural gas and, increasingly, to renewables. The false choice Pruitt complains about began decades before becoming president even occurred to Barack Obama. Rightists back in the 1980s claimed that environmental advocates were intent on making over our energy system into one in which we all “freeze to death in the dark.” Then and now, their propaganda implicitly or explicitly describes the economy and the environment as separate entities. But they aren’t. They are inextricably intertwined.  What Pruitt failed to mention to his friends at Fox is that the ever-expanding industries behind the generation of electricity by wind and sun now employ four times as many people in the United States as the coal industry does. Last year, solar jobs increased by 25 percent over 2015, with 260,000 such jobs now tallied. Meanwhile, by the end of 2016, there were 88,000 Americans working in wind jobs. In both cases, that’s more than three times as many people who were employed in those fields in 2010. Some analysts say these numbers could triple by 2030."