In the last five years, coal has gone from hero to zero. There was a time in the not so distant past that coal was the unquestioned all-star of the energy mix. Just over a decade ago, coal-fired power generated more than 50% of U.S. electricity. Coal is cheap and found almost everywhere, but it’s also extremely easy to scale with. If you need more power, just burn more coal. However, as VisualCapitalist's Jeff Desjardins details, the decline of coal has been swift and unprecedented. That’s why it is expected that by 2020, only 22% of electricity will be generated from the fossil fuel.
The top four miners have lost over $44 billion in market capitalization from their recent peaks in 2011. That’s an astonishing 99.9% decrease in value, and possibly exemplifies the decline of coal better than anything else... except perhaps, as The Wall Street Journal reports, Murray Energy Corp., the largest privately held coal miner in the U.S., has warned that it may soon undertake one of the biggest layoffs in the sector during this time of low energy prices.
In a notice sent to workers this week, Murray said it could lay off as many as 4,400 employees, or about 80% of its workforce, because of weak coal markets. The company said it anticipates “massive workforce reductions in September.”
The law requires a 60-day waiting period before large layoffs occur.
In a statement, the company said the potential layoffs were "due to the ongoing destruction of the United States coal industry by President Barack Obama, and his supporters, and the increased utilization of natural gas to generate electricity."
The move came just a day after the United Mine Workers of America said it would reject a proposed new labor deal with Murray. The existing contract expires at the end of this year.
"Hopefully the coal market will come to the point where [the layoffs are] not necessary," he said. “it's no secret the coal market is bad right now."
Almost all of the biggest coal producers in the U.S. have declared bankruptcy in the past 18 months, including Peabody Energy Corp., Arch Coal Inc. and Alpha Natural Resources Inc.
“Frankly, I am frightened for you, my employees, and the survival of your jobs and family livelihoods,” Mr. Murray told the crowd while introducing Mr. Trump, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
He added that electing “friends of coal” like Mr. Trump were the only hope the industry has.
Which seems appropriate given Hillary's reaction the last time she spoke to a coal miner...
On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton said with a smile "We're going to put a lot of coal miners, and coal companies out of business."
Bo Copely, a 39 year old father who recently lost his job, reminded Hillary as he fought back tears that not everyone lives in a world that's rainbows and skittles. Sometimes people actually have to work for a living, and when politicians say and do things to generate a good laugh from their well-off inner circle, it can directly impact many hard working people.
"When you make comments like 'we're going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs' these are the kind of people that you're affecting, this is my family. I just want to know how you can say you're going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs, and then come in here and tell us how you're going to be our friend."
"I don't know how to explain it", and then blamed him for somehow taking her exact words out of context.
Here is Hillary trying to pretend she didn't say what she said
We can't say we're surprised by any of this, as just like the financial elites that run everything, political elites also have realities that are significantly disconnected from everyone else.