Mr. Tice is a senior managing director and head of the Energy Capital Group at USCA Asset Management LLC.
The traveler comes to the Appalachians in the lovely season. He sees the hills, the streams, the foliage—but not the poor.” That passage comes from “The Other America,” Michael Harrington’s 1962 book that opened the eyes of liberal policy makers to America’s invisible poverty.
The classic work helped provide the intellectual ammunition for President Lyndon Johnson’s “unconditional war on poverty,” announced in his State of the Union address two years later.
Fast forward to today. The latest touchstone of liberal policy, the regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions, is causing economic destruction and pushing poverty higher in the Appalachians. But those backing the climate-change agenda are doing their best to keep this reality hidden from the public.
Since 2012, 27 coal-mining companies with core operations in Central Appalachia, a region roughly centered in southern West Virginia, have filed for bankruptcy protection. The list includes a number of large-cap, publicly traded entities, such as Alpha Natural Resources, James River Coal and Patriot Coal.
Production of coal in southern West Virginia declined by 45% between the first half of 2011 and the first half of 2015, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.
Since 2009, 332 coal mines in West Virginia have been closed, and 9,733 jobs—roughly 35% of the industry’s total employment in the state—have been lost, figures from the West Virginia Coal Association show.
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