The Achilles heel of Biden's climate plan? Coal miners.

All of this has raised the stakes for wooing the coal miners. “Our guiding principle is the belief that we don’t have to choose between ...


All of this has raised the stakes for wooing the coal miners.

“Our guiding principle is the belief that we don’t have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment,” said Jason Walsh, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, which has brought labor and environmental groups together to mobilize support for ‘initiatives like Mr. Biden’s. “But our ability to continue to express that conviction with a straight face depends on the political choices we make.”

“Coal miners,” he added, “are at the center of this.”

It is impossible to explain the miners’ yellowish outlook on Mr. Biden’s program without appreciating their increased economic vulnerability: unlike carpenters and electricians who work in power plants but could apply their skills to projects in the field. renewable energy, many miners are unlikely to find employment. on wind and solar farms that look like their current job. (Some, like equipment operators, have more transferable skills.)

It’s also hard to overstate the political game spirit that has shaped discourse on minors. During her 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton offered to spend $ 30 billion on economic aid to the coal mining country. But a verbal error – “We are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” she said, discussing her proposal in a town hall – allowed opponents to represent it as waging a “war on coal”.

“This is a politicized situation in which a political party increasingly captured by the industry takes advantage of the status quo by perpetuating this rhetoric,” said Matto Mildenberger, political scientist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who studies the politics of climate policy.

And then there is Mr. Manchin, a complicated political figure who is part of the main recipients campaign money from the fossil fuel industry.

Mr Manchin has occasionally objected to arrangements favored by the miners’ union, such as wage replacement payments to coal workers who must accept lower-paying employment. “In the end, it wasn’t something that interested him,” said Mr. Smith, the union lobbyist. A spokeswoman for Mr. Manchin declined to comment.

Yet in other respects Mr Manchin channeled the sentiments of his constituents well, suggesting he might be more enthusiastic about renewable energy legislation if they were.

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Newsrust - US Top News: The Achilles heel of Biden's climate plan? Coal miners.
The Achilles heel of Biden's climate plan? Coal miners.
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