Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 8 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/5/16

Is the Next Taxpayer Bailout the Coal Industry?

By       (Page 2 of 2 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page. (View How Many People Read This)   No comments
Author 1486
Message Thom Hartmann
Become a Fan
  (134 fans)

So-called "self-bonding" is basically the coal companies' way of saying that they don't want to pay the cost of cleaning up their mines and would rather just distribute that money to their VIPs.

Which raises the question: If coal companies won't pay to clean up their mines, who will?

You and me, the taxpayers, of course!

Somebody has to clean up the environmental wasteland that is an old coal mine, and as The Washington Post reports, "In a bankruptcy" a judge can decide which creditors are paid and how much -- and state and federal governments could be left holding the bag for reclamation costs."

Classy, right?

Big coal gorges itself in the boom years thanks in large part to the taxpayer subsidies that go to the fossil fuel industry, but when things go bad it tries to make "We the People" foot the bill.

What's going on here isn't unique to the coal or fossil fuel industries -- Wall Street did basically the same thing back in 2008 -- but what's unique about the fossil fuel industry is that it's one of only two industries in the world that doesn't pay to clean up its own waste (the other being the nuclear industry).

Instead of paying for the costs of their waste, both to the environment and in terms of its cost to poisoned humans, fossil fuel companies pass the costs of that waste on to the rest of us in the form of what economists call "externalities."

Some examples of "externalities" include things like the cost of cleaning up from climate change-driven severe weather events, the cost of pollution-related health problems from asthma to cancer, or in this case, the cost of cleaning up an old, deserted coal mine.

If we had, from the get-go, required coal companies to pay for taking out their own trash, we wouldn't be in the situation we are now, where Big Coal is, for all intents and purposes, blackmailing the government into cleaning up the mess it's created.

We would also probably be well on our way to kicking our fossil fuel habit once and for all.

It's time to make Big Coal -- as well as Big Oil and Big Gas -- pay to take out its own trash.

It's time for a national carbon tax.

It's that simple.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).


Must Read 2   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Thom Hartmann Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

S&P Blames Republicans, Mainstream Media Fails to Report It

Globalization Is Killing The Globe: Return to Local Economies

The Great Tax Con Job

The Uncanny, Frightening Ways That Trump's America Mirrors Hitler's Germany

The Truth about the Trust Fund-- Destroying Social Security to Destroy the Two Party System

The Deciding Moment: The Theft of Human Right

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: