This morning, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, a part of the House Committee on Natural Resources, will hold a hearing about proposed regulations to make coal mining less dangerous for human beings and for the natural environment. The hearing, led by subcommittee chair Doug Lamborn, is entitled, War on Jobs: Examining the Operations of the Office of Surface Mining and the Status of the Stream Buffer Zone Rule.
How do safety and cleanliness regulations for coal mining constitute a “war on jobs”?
The Appalachian activist organization I Love Mountains suggests an answer. The group notes that, “Children in Appalachian coal mining communities are 42% more likely to be born with birth defects and have a life expectancy that is almost 5 years lower than the national average.”
Is it clear to you now? If regulations make coal mining more safe and clean, then fewer children will be born with birth defects, and people won’t get sick so much. If that happens, what will happen to all the the doctors and nurses in Appalachia? How will they make their money? How will hospitals be able to create jobs for doctors and nurses if people aren’t getting sick so much, and if babies are born healthy?
Medical jobs are good-paying jobs. Is it really worth sacrificing those jobs, just so the people of Appalachia can be healthy and have clean water and land, and safe workplaces?