Obama’s War on Coal has transformed Virginia from economic leader to laggard

Obama’s War on Coal has transformed Virginia from economic leader to laggard
Coal mining still accounts for 40% of U.S. energy needs.

After years of outpacing the nation in economic growth, Virginia is sputtering. Employment is lagging, real estate is flat, and the Obama administration’s War on Coal isn’t helping.

An economic forecast released Monday shows southwest Virginia’s coal country remains below the 2011 employment peak. Hundreds more of the state’s coal-mining jobs lost in 2014 as the Environmental Protection Agency moved to shut down coal-fired power plants.

Energy experts say the green-energy agenda pushed by the White House and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe won’t generate prosperity.

“Ask Germany and Spain how their commitment to renewables has worked out over the past 15 years,” advise environmental scientists Dennis Mitchell and Willie Soon, who add:

Spain’s economy is in a shambles. Germany is shutting down most of its offshore wind program and building coal-fired power plants as fast as possible to ward off financial disaster. Shoving immature technologies down the throats of the taxpayer is outrageous. Energy costs from traditional sources have been artificially and substantially raised … and no one suffers more than the poor.

Free-market jobs — not politically rigged subsidies and regulations — are needed, says Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell. Matthew Moran, communications director for the Falmouth Republican, agrees:

We will need to decrease our dependence on Washington and strengthen Virginia’s economy by creating a more favorable and competitive business climate.

Moran said Howell “believes the best way to do this is to keep taxes low, create a positive regulatory environment and strengthen Virginia’s workforce through education and training.”

A flat housing report represents another dying canary in Virginia’s mineshaft.

Building permits for single-family homes tumbled 9.1% in 2014, and are predicted to inch up just 0.9% this year.

Despite a 12.2% decline in home prices since 2007, Virginia is no bargain these days. A Tax Foundation study showed state and local taxes make Virginia one of the 10 most expensive states in which to live.

Mike Thompson, president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, said the economic forecast “shows that Virginia needs to move away from such heavy reliance on federal government spending”:

Government policies, regulations and taxes can surely inhibit economic growth, and that is what we are seeing today. The correct policies can encourage growth, and we need to move in that direction quickly and creatively.

Read more by Kenric Ward at Watchdog.com.

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent and writes for the Texas Bureau of Watchdog.org. Formerly a reporter and editor at two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Kenric has won dozens of state and national news awards for investigative articles. His most recent book is “Saints in Babylon: Mormons and Las Vegas.”


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