A Thoughtful Energy Policy Can Keep Vital Manufacturing Jobs in Missouri
By Ray McCarty and Hal Quinn*
As President Barack Obama arrives in Missouri for a renewed push on jumpstarting the nation’s economy, he should be reminded of one of the critical links to Missouri’s vibrant manufacturing base and a leading partner in the state’s economic growth: the coal industry.
Coal generates about 80 percent of the state’s electricity, which translates into a steady supply of affordable and reliable electricity. No small wonder, then, that Missouri attracts leading manufacturers to the state responsible for more than 247,000 jobs—including machinery, computers and electronics, plastics and rubber, fabricated metal products, appliances and mining, among others. In fact, states with high percentages of electricity generated by coal boast the highest levels of manufacturing thanks to that steady supply of affordable electricity.
Unfortunately, thousands of these manufacturing jobs will be at risk if the administration moves forward on new standards to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that effectively ban construction of new coal-fired power plants. Coal’s potential to support the state’s economy is being jeopardized at a time when the nation’s unemployment remains at 7.6 percent and economic growth remains uncertain. Damaging the state’s coal industry will stall high-wage job creation and raise the cost of electricity for consumers – including local families and businesses. This is no way to jumpstart the job market in Missouri.
We are committed to being a partner in America’s clean energy future and to working to achieve reasonable standards to achieve that goal. Tens of billions of dollars are being invested already to upgrade existing coal plants to meet tougher emission standards.
But we are also committed to a future of affordable energy that provides all Americans with the reliable energy they deserve. To do that, we need thoughtful policies that allow the most advanced, low-emission coal-based power plants to be built. That way, all of us can continue to enjoy a stable, affordable and clean supply of electricity for our homes and businesses alike.
In 2004, then candidate for U.S. Senate Barack Obama reminded Americans that “there’s always going to be a role for coal.” We couldn’t agree with you more, Mr. President. And that role today is the same as it was in 2004: to create good paying jobs and deliver reliable and affordable electricity.
*Ray McCarty is president of Associated Industries of Missouri and Hal Quinn is president and CEO of the National Mining Association.
President and CEO
National Mining Association
101 Constitution Ave. NW
Suite 500 East
Washington, DC 20001
Associated Industries of Missouri
3234 W Truman Blvd.
Jefferson City, MO 65109