By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The job-focused public interest group JobKeeper Alliance on Tuesday issued a press statement announcing that the coal jobs recently announced will make coal a larger employer in Alabama than the Airbus assembly plant recently announced in Mobile.
Rep. Bill Roberts (R) from Jasper who sponsored the tax incentive bill for the coal mining industry said, “This 1.2 billion dollar coal mining project and the hundreds of jobs it will create would not be coming to Alabama without the incentive bill we passed. The investment Walter Energy is making in our state is twice as large as Airbus, so I think it makes sense for us to offer both companies the same type incentive package.”
Patrick Cagle, Executive Director of JobKeeper, said, “These new coal mining jobs are important to Alabama, and we are going to protect them. With the addition of these 450 new jobs, the coal industry will employ more Alabamians than the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance and the future Airbus assembly plant coming to Mobile, combined.”
Unfortunately, the Alabama coal industry is under attack from out of state environmental extremists who have gotten their extremist allies in the Obama administration to pass extreme new EPA regulations regulating carbon dioxide emissions which have resulted in the shuttering of many of America’s coal powered power plants. Now these same extremist radicals are asking their EPA friends to ban the export of American coal to other countries.
The JobKeeper Alliance denounced Nelson Brooke (employed by Black Warrior Riverkeeper) as an ally of former Congressman and noted environmental policy extremist Robert Kennedy Jr. saying that the pair are on a mission to stop the export of U.S. produced coal and are a threat to thousands of high-paying Alabama jobs.
The JobKeeper Alliance cited as evidence a photo that was published by the Huffington Post showing the two together at anti-coal export rally in Portland Oregon.
The pro-coal group said that “Nelson Brooke and Black Warrior Riverkeeper have been vocal opponents of several new coal mining operations that are planning to mine in Alabama’s Black Warrior Basin.”
Patrick Cagle said that stopping the export of Alabama-produced coal would send thousands of high-paying jobs overseas and devastate our state’s economy.
Coal opponent and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance Robert Kennedy recently said at an anti-coal rally, “They are not coming here to bring you prosperity and jobs. They’re coming to ship their poison, so that they can poison the people in China, and that poison is going to come back here and poison your salmon and your children. So don’t let it happen.”
Dennis Hall with Walter Energy said that the new mine, “Will probably bring around 500 jobs to Tuscaloosa county and the average pay with benefits is about 120 thousand dollars. That’s about a 45 million dollar a year payroll.” The Blue Creek Energy Project will locate a massive underground coal mine in Tuscaloosa County. The mammoth new mine will also lead to the construction of support facilities at the Port of Mobile, and in Fayette, and Walker counties.
Nelson Brooke who also spoke out against the incentive bill passed by the Alabama legislature was unimpressed, “We have a lot of people that live on Big Yellow Creek out here. They draw their drinking water, their cooking water, their bathing water, out of this stream and we’re talking about a proposal that’s going to allow millions of gallons of contaminated water to be discharged right on top of them. I certainly don’t think this is a jobs versus environment scenario unfortunately our state’s leaders think that polluting industries should be given handouts and that’s been the case for a long, long time. Them giving tax breaks to get this mine open quicker is a sham.” While Brooke claims to be an expert but his actual degree is in anthropology NOT environmental science, climate science, medicine, biology, or any of the other sciences which he regularly comments on.
The JobKeeper Alliance is a 501C(4) non-profit group. They say that they support “measures that preserve Alabama’s natural assets and protects the environment, but believes those measures don’t have to come at the expense of working-class jobs. The Alliance is committed to combating misinformation from groups that seek to use the public’s concern for the environment to advance extremist job-killing agendas.”