West Virginia and other coal-producing states have already been devastated by President Obama’s clean power regulations that he and his environmental SWAT team managed to shove down the throats of hardworking Americans, bypassing any congressional approval and taking direct aim at the heart of the American energy sector that provides both necessary electricity and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
But if economic predictions are correct, the worst of the storm is still brewing.
Testifying before the U.S. Senate Environment Committee at a field hearing in Logan, W.V., noted economist and attorney Eugene Trisko explained that West Virginia residents could see a cumulative $14 billion hit to their household income over the next 23 years, all thanks to the carbon emission restrictions promised under President Obama’s part of the newly-enacted Paris Agreement. The Mountain State alone stands to lose 288,000 job years under the regulations, along with a total $60 billion loss in state output.
Trisko told the committee:
The consequences of these production losses will be devastating to the overall state economy. Applying US Department of Commerce economic multipliers specific to the West Virginia mining sector, we estimate that the EPA carbon rule, and this is just the rule that's on the books today, would lead to the cumulative loss of $47 billion of state economic output, $11 billion of household income, and 229,000 job years of employment by 2040. A job year is one job held for one year. Even larger losses would occur if an extended Power Plan were adopted along the lines of the Paris Agreement.
Even larger losses would occur if an extended power plan were adopted, along the lines of the Paris agreement. West Virginia state output could be reduced by a cumulative $60 billion by 2040 along with a $14 billion loss of household income. A total of 288,000 job years of employment would be lost. Clearly, West Virginia can not afford such draconian economic impacts.
If that weren’t dire enough, these tremendous financial hits are just the tip of the iceberg. Such a massive and sudden drop in overall household income will not only affect individual West Virginia families, but will heavily impact the state’s personal income tax, easily the largest single source of state revenue. In FY2016 alone, West Virginia came more than $169 million under budget in personal income tax, which was about 13 percent lower than FY2015 levels. The drop is largely due to the state’s almost overnight loss of thousands of coal jobs, which directly impact other local jobs within small communities.
Combined with a dramatic fall in the state's coal severance tax (which fell by about 33 percent between 2015 and 2016), this continued bleeding out of West Virginia's revenue sources will heavily alter the state's ability to provide government services to its struggling residents.
But regardless of the immediate fiscal crisis hitting families in coal country right now, Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry continue to press forward with aggressive carbon regulations that will supposedly save the planet from some hypothetical (and widely contested) climate disaster. On the same day Trisko testified before Congress on the impending human devastation, Kerry hailed this week's enactment of the Paris Agreement, saying he was “honored to represent the United States in those negotiations and to be in the conference hall as the text was gaveled in."
“Immediately following the adoption of the Paris Agreement, President Obama and I set out on a global push, urging our counterparts around the world to help ensure the swift implementation and early entry into force of the Agreement,” Kerry lauded, adding, “We cannot for a moment rest on our laurels. Much is left to do, but if we keep our collective focus on steady progress, this month could shape up to be one of the most consequential in history for climate action.”
And for the millions of Americans who will pay the price.
EDITOR'S NOTE: “Collateral Damage: Casualties of the War on Coal,” a forthcoming MRCTV documentary, tells the story of how homeowners, local businesses, grocery stores, restaurants and even schools are being hard hit by the administration’s attacks on the coal industry.
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