In coal debate, the greens see only 1 side

It's pathetic that job creation doesn't play a bigger role. We should better balance jobs and environmental concerns.

By Jim Cramer Jun 17, 2013 9:46AM

thestreet logoCoal miners (© Digital Vision/SuperStock)Let's start with a fair premise. I hate coal. I have supported anti-coal causes from when I was a teenager and saw the destruction in the Adirondacks from acid rain caused by Ohio power plants. I think that coal is a scourge that causes tremendous health damage and, according to the Sierra Club, which I belong to, kills about 20,000 people a year.


As most of you know, I favor aggressive expansion into natural gas plants as a bridge fuel that can reduce harmful emissions until we develop more economical sources of safe power.


But I watch aghast as the powerful environmental lobby, not content with the huge wins it has had in closing old coal plants here, is now attempting to shut down our own exports to countries still tied to coal-burning power plants, in some cases more than ever, because of the rapid shutdown of nuclear plants everywhere because of the Fukushima tragedy.


This weekend, in a fabulous piece in the New York Times, we saw the stark contrast between the greens in our country who want to shut down coal ports and block new ones vs. the people of a poor Native American tribe who are starved for jobs, with only the coal industry giving them much of an opportunity to work. But we are closing coal plants so quickly in the U.S., especially the ones mandated by President Carter in the late 70s to get off of our OPEC addiction, that those jobs will most surely soon wilt away without exports.

Cloud Peak (CLD), the coal company in question is only one of many that could be hard hit. We know from the fiasco that was the Walter Energy (WLT) stock halt on Friday, as it attempted to raise money to fix its balance sheet, that the stress in the coal patch is now very dire. The only real hope for those employed by these companies is more terminals to ship to the coal-starved Asian nations.


It's not as if we stop mining it and shipping it, they will stop using it. There's plenty of coal that can take up the slack, but our coal is preferred for both its quality and ease of transport. We will simply be exporting more lightly-skilled jobs overseas.


But this trumping of job creation for the poorer and less skilled on behalf of what tends to be the wealthy elites who have few employment fears has been at the heart of this administration's energy program, if you can call it that. I have asked the representatives of this administration a myriad of times if they can choose to balance jobs vs. environmental concerns and they simply refuse to answer in any coherent way. I now fear that the president will say yes to Keystone, but as part of any compromise will put in a carbon tax that will severely hinder our economy and promote more job exporting, this time to the Chinese and Mexico.


There's a cost-benefit to everything. But not when it comes to the greens. They only see the benefits to the skies, not the losses to the workers in what is a country that is struggling to produce enough jobs to put food on the table. There's nothing wrong with exporting coal to China and then demanding that the Chinese do their best to clean the skies if they want free trade. Instead, we will simply stop sending it and other nations will provide it with no quid pro quo at all. It's just a triumph of the wealthy over the workingman, instead of a careful balance that keeps jobs, but also strives for long-term air quality. It's pathetic that job creation doesn't play a bigger role in these incredibly important decisions that lead to incredible hardship for soon-to-be un-gainfully unemployed.




Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust and has no positions in stocks mentioned.



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Jun 17, 2013 11:09AM
Approximately 12% of the people in the world go to bed each night hungry.  Approximately 7 million or 1% of the worlds child population dies of hunger each year.  This is the part of Liberals and how they adopt causes that many times fail to see the forrest for the trees. You claim 20,000 per year die of coal related disease?  This is but a drop in the bucket when compared to basic world survival. Perhaps Greenies sometimes are very selfish and inconsiderate?  Perhaps if they saw a child die of hunger or they themselves went hungry every day they might rethink their passions.  Knew a person in Columbia where 10% own the other 90%.  These elitist do not want or allow anyone to voice a concern about income inequality.  It is considered rude to discuss the plight of poor people.  The American Greenie has a similar disregard for empirical facts.  They just want to shoot off their emotions and live out  their disdain for anything but their emotional contentment.  We need many alternatives in a free economy.  Let the markets determine the value and uses of coal. Social engineering nearly always fails.
Jun 17, 2013 12:44PM
We need to burn coal to charge the batteries in all those electric cars. Those clean electric cars.
Jun 17, 2013 12:02PM

There are "clean coal" burning applications; They cut down on pollutants and increase efficiency in the process of producing power..The benefits are the efficient part, and  the side effects of less pollution to our enviroment..

Many Power Companies are reluctant to purchase the applications, I think mostly because of lack of subsidies and quicker return on their investment dollars or outlays.

It can run a few and up to several million..


We have invested in these "green companies" in the past, "but not at present.."

Mainly because of volitility resting on numbers of orders coming in for the Applications.

And they would sporadicallly get orders from Foreign entities.

I believe that "green incentives" and more tax credits should be given in this field..

But wouldn't probably invest in the companies again.

And also; Yes Virginia, there can be cleaner burning coal in our landscape.

Jun 17, 2013 2:56PM
We've seen today one of the better hidden sucker's rallies in a long time and we have seen a whole bunch of them...Up over 180 points was worrisome when the volume is so low and manipulators are all over the place....Well, just like clockwork, right before 1400 hrs the call came and scumbags started doing their thing and we dropped over 100 points in no time....Again people, news do not move markets, people do and when we are full of cheating bastards, this is what happens....We have about an hour to try to keep things respectable...Unreal.
Jun 17, 2013 12:56PM

The Indian Women's name was Cobell, that initiated the Lawsuit, against the Federal Gov't.

(had to look up the spelling) may she rest in peace finally, knowing she was a tower amongst her people..

Jun 17, 2013 12:38PM

Dave....As of RECENT times....There was a settlement to American Indian Tribes and Nations.

Dealing with the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) and the Department of Interior..Underpayments and mis-handling of Funds

The Government and the SCOTUS awarded approximately a little over $7 Billion dollars to Indians of several Tribes/Nations and Indians that were holders of IIMA accounts...

Individual Indian Money Accounts.

It all came from an Indian women from the Sioux Nation, I think Lacota.Starting a Class Action Lawsuit several years back...Unfortunately she died last year..But died knowing that we had won the Lawsuit against the Dept. of Interior and BIA.

The Majority of the payments have been made over the last year or so, and are being finished up this year...The Indian Trust Settlement (as known) has/is paying out about $600-2000 to individual

Indians, depending on their accounts, ages and holdings in past accounts.

Not all Indians receive monies, only qualifiers..

Yes it dealt with Land leases and royalities on various items such as coal and oil/gas,etc..

Mostly mis-handled by the BIA. and bad accounting practices. 


Jun 17, 2013 1:22PM

Others that were really screwed over by the Coal and Timber Capitalist, were the White people of Appalachia....Of course much of their land and holdings, were taken from the Indian Tribes that used to live in the Regions, until the "Indian Removals" were instituted mostly by Andrew "Harjo" Jackson, the 7th. POTUS in the early 1800s. 

"Harjo" is a Muscogee (Creek) indian word, roughly translated as "Crazy".

"The Trail of Tears" removal was not only about Cherokees, but several Nations were involved. 

Jun 17, 2013 11:21AM
The Biggest Problem folks have in developing Countries is Clean Drinking Water. When you don't have clean drinking water, that makes you far more susceptible to disease that may come from not having enough to eat.  Having companies use Coal in countries where Regulations simply don't exist makes clean drinking water less available, not more.

The World doesn't have a problem with FOOD supplies so folks going hungry is simply because folks don't see enough PROFIT in keeping those in Third World Countries with enough to eat. There is simply no connection to Coal and going Hungry. Concerning Coal and Jobs, fact is, there are countless ways to create Jobs. No reason to make coal and jobs connected when today's technology allows for better ways of doing things. Using Coal in third world countries just creates more health issues they can't afford. There are far better ways and far better job types.
Jun 17, 2013 8:01PM
Things ended up, respectable, like we said earlier, but today the market should have ended up over 200 points easily but, you know by now what happens on Wall Street....Don't get us wrong, no complaints for being up triple digits but, should have been a lot higher...Oh well, watch these cheating crooks take it back tomorrow.
Jun 17, 2013 1:02PM

Just so I won't be known as a "green Liberal weenie"....We invest in Coal..

It has been a decent investment, except a for recent downturn that has been more than recovered now;

It's pays a nice dividend..

And our Company or investment ships substancial amounts to Asia..

So I don't feel guilty about polluting America as much..

Jun 17, 2013 1:38PM
avatar I move on to my next level of numbers, I would only have about 19 posts to go..

18 after this one..

Maybe I can get off the addiction this time...??


I'm hoping that I can trust you to slap around some of the morons, imbeciles and cretins and keep them all in-line...It's a tough job, someone has to maintain the duty..

It's time for brunch...So a break from my rambling..

Jun 17, 2013 1:13PM

I don't know about Trillions that are owed American Indians...

But I'm sure we would take all that is collected in cannisters across this Nation, that is donated by guilty White and Black people...

But you can help by stopping by some of the many Casinos across the Nation...

They would gladly receive it back, at a "nickel at a time".. 

Jun 17, 2013 4:16PM

V_L.....As far as your idea about our Ancients in the Americas...It's very hard to agree or disagree.

There are several reasons/theorys in my playbooks..

As far as the fishing aspect...?

The Native Americans taught a lot of Europens how to hunt or fish, otherwise they would have starved to death...

They did not return the favors, by placing or relegating them to the weeds, rocks and wastelands of America...In MY OPINION..

And someone like you will do little or nothing to EVER change my views of the subject..

I highly suggest you read about another 20 books concerning the Subjects and Sagas...

And then travel throughout the Americas.

Jun 17, 2013 4:06PM

Not a total retirement ABS, but I find little amusement here as in the past years or even way back many years ago...

Some of the arguements and so-called discussions or some want only to debate, get quite boring and repetitious over the weeks and months..When it has little to do with investing or the articles at hand..

I come here everyday to MSN, to eyeball Markets and check Watchlist's percentages...

The articles I peruse for their content or facts...The comments for consumer sentiment and ideas.

And then a little jousting, because of boredom.

I find to get into more analytical market discussions, or individual stock ideas, is much easier to do elsewhere..

Although some here may be investors in one form or another, many about 60-70%+ find little enjoyment in discussing any specifics for more than a few comments...

Occassionally there may be some comments of ideas of values, but soon commentors get bored or the talk by others goes off track...

And I understand the boredom, but don't always agree with the senseless banter.

The Markets did nicely today..And I'm off to the garden, or mowing one...Maybe both. 

Jun 17, 2013 11:00AM
First of all Jimmy, the Native Americans aren't poor, we just haven't given them the Refund CHECKS for all the Stolen Gold, Crude Oil, Land , and just about everything else we have stolen from them. It's high time we did something about that.
Jun 17, 2013 11:05AM
Jimmy, there is no such thing as a Balance when you consider the long term issues of Health. Folks want to have cheaper health-care but many refuse to do anything about the pollution that cause health-care cost to go higher. We can move away from this and create better, healthier jobs in the process.

There is no actually long term cost benefit to using something that caused to seniors to live a lifetime using records amounts of Medicare because of that use. It's called short term gains for long term pains. Can you actually put a price on your health? Most won't.

Jun 17, 2013 12:59PM
$7 Billion Dollars, we owe them literally Trillions. The Native Americans got royally screwed on this one. Jimmy, I can't believe you belong to any Green Club. Coal is dead, bury it going forward. You can't have a debate about Coal unless you are willing to have a debate about health cost. How much does it cost to keep a each miner, if he lives that long, living off of Medicare. How much does it cost the public for health-care related issues. Folks want the cost of health-care to comes down but don't want to eliminate the problems that hinder your health and increase it's costs.
Jun 17, 2013 11:49AM

"Perhaps if they saw a child die of hunger or they themselves went hungry every day they might rethink their passions."


What the Hell do YOU know about it? Been there? Tried to see it from that perspective or case? Any IDIOT can amass wealth and become an Elitist. The REAL skill comes from having that option but making sure you understand it from inside a pair of it's shoes. The fact is-- we are HOGS of energy. Let's reduce reliance until we increase the science and master intelligent design.

Jun 17, 2013 10:26AM
Very interesting, Jim... the Kool Aid crowd on Wall Street have the markets pumped on "hopes" of Bernanke continuing his QE, but none of the G8 nations are for it. In fact, with Greece scrambling to avert total collapse, all fingers are pointing directly to the small group of "haves" worldwide. Wow... YOU fit in that group! We create jobs by wiping out Incorporation and dissolving business platforms that couldn't do an honest day's worth of WORK if their hired-in executive lives depended on it. The bubble wobbles today. Pricks all around it. I'm not anxious for the POP but I recognize inevitability when I see it. How about you, Jim? Rose-colored glasses on today or not? As for readers... if you are THAT dumb to believe Wall Street can outrun a Fate of their own making-- stay all-in today. Commonsense is OUT or called their Fund Facilitator first thing this morning and mandated a shift OUT of stocks. BBQ Day for administrators and False Elitists is within sight.
Jun 17, 2013 10:52AM
Cramers`s right.Clean coal is a myth.
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