October 21, 2009

"Hey it's only people.....

they'll find green jobs"

FROM-Wheeling News-Register

Global Warming’ Issue Questioned

WHEELING - As a fifth-generation "coal guy," Rob Murray knows the importance of coal to the nation's future.

But with coal under attack through the cap-and-trade legislation before the U.S. Senate, Murray now is out questioning whether carbon emissions really are causing harmful global warming effects.

He says with certainty, though, that many coal jobs will be lost is the proposed climate control legislation meant to improve air quality standards is made into law.

Murray, vice president of business development and external affairs for his family's company, Murray Energy Co., spoke on cap-and-trade legislation during a forum at the Ohio County Public Library Tuesday sponsored by We The People - Ohio Valley.

Murray's father, Murray Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Murray, initially was slated to speak at the event. But the younger Murray told the crowd of about 100 that his father was presently involved with plans to "restructure" the company, and was unable to attend.

Murray spoke on the issue of global warming, and referenced a recent study by the International Panel on Climate Change that questions whether the concept of global warming is real.

The study shows that the use of coal has increased in the nation and around the world over the past decade - but also notes that there has been no subsequent change in average temperatures.

"Is global warming man-made or natural?" he asked. "I have my own feelings about that."

Cap-and-trade legislation would establish financial incentives for businesses that work to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere by paying them for "carbon credits" that result from the reductions.

Other businesses with a need to burn fossil fuels - such as utility companies - would be able to purchase the "carbon offsets," which would be auctioned by the federal government.

Utility companies also could make environmental improvements to their plants, resulting in considerable financial investments.

The costs would likely be passed on to consumers, and could severely harm the coal industry in Ohio and West Virginia, Murray noted.

Murray Energy employees 1,326 in the Ohio Valley, he said.

And Murray cited a Penn State University study that found that each mining job leads to 11 more ancillary jobs in the community around it.

As such, he set the number of jobs dependent upon Murray Energy's local operation at about 15,000.

"This is not a political or partisan issue," said Murray, who noted he personally has visited the offices of 50 U.S. senators in recent weeks. "It's a human issue.

"I know I can give you the names of the 15,000 people who will lose their jobs if this legislation passes the Senate. I don't want these people to lose their jobs," he said.

He frequently referred to "cap and trade" as "cap and tax," adding that "anything that increases cost to consumers is a tax. Simple."

Murray next showed data compiled by the Congressional Budget Office depicting what the Cap and Trade legislation would cost each individual state by 2012, based on allocation formulas in the current bill.

Among states expected to be hit the hardest, according to the information, is West Virginia. The allowances the state would receive would not cover the amount of coal-fired emissions in the state, resulting in an expected cost to West Virginia residents of $734 million.

Ohio and Pennsylvania, likewise, are projected to experience a projected $707 million energy cost deficit. Only Texas, at about $1.27 billion, and Indiana, at $820 million, would have higher losses.

Energy companies in these states would would pass on the costs they incur to consumers.

The National Association of Manufacturers and other sources sets the additional burden on consumers at about $800 per household per year.

Murray also pointed out in the CBO data which states are expected to incur no additional costs because of climate change legislation - California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho in the west, and Massachusetts and other New England states in the East.

"I'm a coal guy, and coal has put food on my family's table for five generations," Murray said. "But I care about America."


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