Coal Booster McCain all spin no substance on job promises

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One day to go and McCain (R-AZ) is re-branding himself the “coal booster” in a last ditch effort to pick up some support in coal States like Pennsylvania.

In a speech yesterday at the University of Scranton, PA, McCain stated that:

My friends, I’ve been a coal booster and it’s going to create jobs, and we’re going to export coal to other countries and we are going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. That’s going to help restore the economy of the great state of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately for McCain, his last minute job promises for the coal sector would probably sell better in a land of fairy dust and unicorns because in the real world his numbers just don’t add up.

While the mining of more and more coal has continued to skyrocket, jobs in the US coal industry have continued to dramatically decline. Like many industries, the coal sector is using bigger and bigger machines that demand less and less people to do the job. And not surprisingly, nonunion coal jobs outnumber union jobs 3 to 1 (PDF). 

Nationwide, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s latest numbers, the US coal industry shed another 1,681 jobs between 2006 and 2007, while actual coal production (pdf) has maintained the highest levels in history. If you’re still skeptical, here’s a handy chart (pdf) showing how many tons of coal a miner can produce per hour – in 1949 a miner could produce about 1.92 tons per hour and that number has steadily increased to 10.23 tons currently today. In other words, the coal companies are making more and more money with less and less jobs.

Companies now use explosives and massive machines to blow the tops off mountains to extract coal instead of traditional mining. So while coal production has increased, mining jobs continue to plummet and here’s a chart of what that looks like in West Virginia:

 

Sorry folks, but hundreds of thousands of jobs are just not in the works for the US coal industry and McCain’s coal booster-ism is nothing more than a last ditch attempt by a presidential candidate that is about the get trounced at the polls. 

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Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmog. He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning. Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks. Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder. Prior to DeSmog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health. In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications. Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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