HANOVERTON - Two local presidents of coal companies were speakers at a Stop the War on Coal Rally Thursday night at the Spread Eagle Tavern.
East Fairfield Coal Co. president Thomas Mackall and Kimble Coal Co. president Keith Kimble expressed to the crowd of nearly 100 gathered on the brick street just how difficult it has become to do business in the coal industry.
Mackall said for every direct job in the coal industry there are 10 indirect jobs. Throughout his years in the coal industry, Mackall said he has always understood the importance of lobbying. However, he said he has never seen the coal industry receive the backing it currently is receiving.
"Barack Obama has inspired people in this movement against him," Mackall said. "This passion for Mitt Romney against Barack Obama is tremendous."
Mackall went on to talk about the global warming phenomenon, which he called a scare tactic used to perpetuate a war on coal. He also talked about CO2, including how plants actually thrive better on it. Such science had not mattered to the EPA, however, which without any checks and balances has given the coal industry and its consumers a difficult time.
More than 100 power plants utilizing coal are being closed or have already been closed during Obama's time in office. Mackall questioned what this will do to the economy as the government moves toward a more expensive alternative such as wind and solar, borrowing money from China in order to make it happen.
"Under Obama's policies these plants can't afford to meet environmental standards," Kimble said of the closing plants.
Kimble said it took eight years for his company to get one coal permit for property. Studies had to be conducted, he said to look for bats and salamanders which do not even live in the area.
"In the end we had to give up one third of the coal," Kimble said. "The EPA on the federal level claimed if you take all the coal that's not good environmental stewardship."
Besides coal, his company has a new recycling facility in Twinsburg and had recently invested in a fleet of garbage trucks which run on compressed natural gas. Kimble pointed out environmental standards make diesel trucks hard to keep on the road because of breaking down.
His company paid for the compressed natural gas trucks themselves, without government subsidies. Kimble said natural gas is a good alternative to foreign oil for running vehicles, but he said it is not a cost-effective electricity producer.
Kimble's concern is that a rising cost of electricity is not only going to cost jobs in the coal industry, but also in other manufacturing industries reliant on electricity for production.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, who pushed the Stop the War on Coal Act, which passed the House of Representatives, finished the rally.
"Talk to your friends and neighbors, said Johnson after noting most of this weeks tour had been canceled due to the weather. "The war on coal is real."