Michael Burne, Sierra Club executive director, thanked volunteers and staff at the event for helping to “retire” or “repurpose” 187 U.S. coal plants since the “Beyond Coal” campaign was launched in 2011.
“So the Sierra Club and Bloomberg were effectively bragging today about their collective ability to put 23,200 American miners out of work,” Jason Hayes, associate director of the American Coal Council trade association, told CNSNews.com.
“One wonders if the Sierra Club is going to put any of Bloomberg’s multimillion dollar gifts to work helping these miners and families get retrained, or to help them pay their bills,” Hayes said.
“Or, will they continue to enjoy their six (or more) figure salaries and comfortable homes while they continue their campaigns to put more American miners out of work and shut down America’s industry?”
With the additional millions from Bloomberg and matching funds from other groups, the Sierra Club has now set a new goal for the campaign: 50 percent of all U.S. coal-powered plants shut down by 2017.
Hayes provided some numbers that show the impact Bloomberg, the Sierra Club and others opposed to coal plants have already had on the industry.
“February 2014 numbers indicated that coal jobs had gone from 94,000 in Q4 [fourth quarter] 2011 to 77,000 in Q1 [first quarter] 2014,” Hayes said, adding that statistics from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics “indicates that to March 2015, that number has continued to drop down to 70,800.”
Hayes pointed out that the average annual salary of a U.S. coal miner is $82,058, “meaning the Sierra Club has effectively removed $1,903,745,600 in salaries and benefits from American workers.”
“The ‘work’ that these green groups are doing is a destructive attack on American productivity and jobs,” Hayes said. “Even the most simple calculations indicate that they are costing the American economy billions in lost jobs and investment.
“They should be called out for the damage they are causing,” he said.