What About Us?—The Small Business Owners

Dear Editor: What About Us?—The Small Business Owners

Every week we hear more disturbing news about the coal industry. It seems the coal industry is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard spot. It appears if the EPA had its way; coal mining would cease to exist. The sanctions and restrictions imparted on us create undue hardships and is borderline unreasonable.  I’m sure I speak for a lot of small mine operators and business owners when I say we love our country and our land. We take great pride in following the rules and regulations. We genuinely want to do the right thing.  We agree the land reclamation acts are necessary to ensure the environment remains intact and continues to sustain life. We get it…

As small business operators we invest millions of dollars in technology and equipment. We hire highly skilled people to meet the EPA requirements, safety and other governmental regulations. We take pride in our product, we pay our taxes and we provide tens of thousands of jobs that help stimulate the economy. Clearly common sense has taken a back seat to bureaucrats who sit behind desks and think they know what is best for our industry. Surely they must realize that coal provides more than just energy. The byproducts of coal are in our everyday life.  

Since its discovery in 1701, the world, (not just the USA) has prospered and thrived on the by-products of coal. Imagine what life would be like without it? Do we want to revert back to driving on gravel highways? Coal produces the road tar used in highways. How about the living in a colorless world? Aniline is a byproduct of coal tar which is used in pigments and dyes. It is used in a variety of resins, printing inks and paper processing. And the list goes on and on…
Simply put, coal cannot be done away with. It is engrained in our everyday life and will be for generations to come. Compromises must be made with the federal government and the EPA.  Common sense and logical thinking must be part of the decision making process. I don’t think the federal government is prepared to offer bail out packages to the small business owners who provide jobs to the local economy and product that is offered globally.
I ask again…What About Us?

Steven Chambers, Director of Safety, Mountainside Coal, Inc.,
and Ralph Whitley, COO, Surface Mining Technologies, LLC

Dear Editor:
In reference to subject issue of the Coal Age, I would like to point out an inconsistency. On page 1, the photo on the cover is described as being Westshore Terminals.  If my memory serves correct, I think this may be Neptune Terminals.

Stan Houser
Minerals Business Development
Intertek Commodities

Stan is correct. The March 2012 cover photo is Neptune Terminals.

Dear Editor:
I just wanted to let you know that I love Coal Age. Having just read your recent article titled TransAlta Abandons Canada’s Largest Carbon Capture Project, I felt the need to share.
While TransAlta has abandoned the idea of carbon capture, right next door in Saskatchewan we are going full speed ahead with our own 1.1 million ton carbon capture project. Hitachi (who recently announced a $1 billion partnership) and several other private sector companies are actively participating, construction is well under way and we expect to be up and running by 2014.
More recently, Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent and Saskatchewan’s Minister of Environment Ken Cheveldayoff, announced that they are working toward an equivalency agreement on coal-fired electricity greenhouse gas regulations. Both governments wish to avoid duplication of effort to control greenhouse gas emissions, and are working together to ensure that industry does not face two sets of regulations. An equivalency agreement would see the federal regulations stand down in favor of a provincial regulation, as long as the provincial regulation achieves an equivalent or better environmental outcome.
So while there is bad news on the Alberta front, CO2 capture is proceeding here in Saskatchewan. Their loss, our gain.

Craig Johnston
Economic Development Officer
Estevan Chamber of Commerce