Coal workers fear a Biden presidency will decimate industry

煤炭工人担心拜登的总统任期将摧毁煤炭行业

Could Biden's energy policy could bring an end to America's heartland industry?

拜登的能源政策能终结美国的核心产业吗?

By Hollie McKay
In the tight-knit, Shelocta, Pa., coal mining community, American flags flap gently in the fall breeze; children peddle bicycles through the wide-open streets set against the neat wooden homesteads and plots of green grass dusted in fall leaves -- it is the essence of suburban American. But there is a lingering veil of uncertainty.

在宾夕法尼亚州谢尔克塔密集煤矿社区,美国国旗在秋风中轻柔地飘扬;孩子们在宽阔的街道上兜售自行车,街边是整洁的木质别墅,周边的草坪上洒落了片片秋叶——这是美国郊区的精华所在。但这一切将被蒙上一层不确定的面纱。

Tuesday's Presidential vote could bring about significant changes for the strong and proud, who for generations have lurched far below the earth's surface into the sooty pleats of the underground to extract vital sources of energy.

周二的总统选举可能会给这些坚强和骄傲的人带来重大改变,他们世代以来深入地底的黑色褶皱中开采重要能源。

"The mine is the lifeblood of our entire town; 85% of our community depends on keeping this going – right down to the car dealerships and convenient stores which won't survive if the coal mine goes," Todd Reesman, 49, an electrician for Rosebud at the nearby Crooked Creek mine, told Fox News.

“矿井是我们整个城镇的命脉,85%的社区都要靠它生存——还有汽车经销商和便利店,如果煤矿不在了,这些商店就无法生存,”49岁的托德·里斯曼(Todd Reesman)告诉福克斯新闻。



Todd Reesman, 49, an electrician for Rosebud at the nearby Crooked Creek mine

托德·里斯曼(ToddReesman),附近Crooked Creek煤矿电工

In the final presidential debate this month, Democratic candidate Joe Biden called for a "transition" away from the long-running staples of oil and gas and has put climate change at the center of his campaign agenda.

在本月的最后一次总统辩论中,民主党候选人拜登呼吁从石油和天然气的长期依赖中“转型”,并将气候变化置于其竞选议程的中心。

For many in the coal sector, this is code for suicide in an industry already struggling to stay afloat.

对于煤炭行业的许多人来说,这是一个已经在苦苦挣扎行业自杀的信号。

According to Conor Bernstein, spokesperson for the National Mining Association (NMA), under the Obama administration, coal employment plummeted from 134,000 in 2008, when President Obama took office, to 81,000 when he left in 2016 – nearly a 40 percent decline.

据奥巴马政府领导下的全国矿业协会(NMA)发言人康纳·伯恩斯坦(Conor Bernstein)称,煤炭就业人数从2008年奥巴马上任时的13.4万人锐减至2016年卸任时的8.1万人,降幅近40%。

"Until the pandemic hit this year, this administration stopped those declines and had even begun to reverse them. Stopping such a steep and rapid decline is significant in itself and shouldn't be overlooked," he said. "This administration has worked to address eight years of regulatory overreach to level the playing field not just for coal but a variety of industries. The result has been a return of competition in the energy industry – although we still have a long way to go thanks to outsized subsidies for renewables."

在今年新冠疫情来袭之前,本届政府阻止了这种下降,甚至开始扭转这种下降趋势。他说:“阻止这种急剧而迅速的下滑本身就具有重要意义,不应被忽视。本届政府致力于解决8年来监管过度的问题,不仅为煤炭行业,也为各种行业创造了公平的竞争环境。其结果是能源行业的竞争卷土重来,尽管由于对可再生能源的巨额补贴,我们还有很长的路要走。”


The Otay Mesa Energy Center, a natural-gas fired, air-cooled power plant, in Otay Mesa, California, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. The Gateway Energy Storage project arrives as an unrelenting heatwave has strained California's electric grid, prompting rolling blackouts that have plunged millions into darkness in the past week. Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

2020年8月17日,加利福尼亚州奥泰梅萨能源中心的一个天然气空冷发电厂。随着持续不断的热浪使加州电网紧张,过去一周连续停电使数百万人陷入黑暗,为此有了大功率储能项目。
摄影:关兵/彭博社图片来源

Indeed, that brings with it little sense of security for the tens of thousands of Americans employed by the coal industry. Biden, in keeping with his stance as vice president in the Obama administration, has pledged to end the Keystone XL pipeline project. While he is yet to take a public position concerning the Dakota Access pipeline, his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris has previously encouraged it to be shuttered.

事实上,这给受雇于煤炭行业的数万美国人带来了一点安全感。拜登,按照他作为奥巴马政府副总统的立场,承诺结束Keystone XL管道项目(译者注:加拿大和美国之间长达1980英里的输油管道)。虽然他还没有就达科他州接入管道项目(译者注:输油管道全长近1,200英里,每天可从北达科他州输送多达57万桶原油到伊利诺伊州)发表公开立场,但他的竞选伙伴参议员卡马拉·哈里斯(Sen.Kamala Harris)此前曾鼓励关闭该管道。





"The Biden campaign has announced its intention to pursue net-zero emissions for electricity generation by 2035," Bernstein surmised. "That's an aggressive target that seems well out of line with what's possible while maintaining affordable, reliable power. With the affordability of energy more important than ever as we eye economic recovery, the balance and affordability provided by coal generation shouldn't be overlooked by any candidate."

伯恩斯坦推测:“拜登竞选团队已经宣布,打算在2035年前实现发电净零排放(译者注:净零排放是指基于一个基准目标,尽可能快速地减少温室气体排放,将剩余温室气体排放量相等的温室气体从大气中移除,以平衡排放,达到净零。)。”这是一个咄咄逼人的目标,在保持经济、可靠的电力的同时,似乎完全不可能实现的目标。在我们关注济复苏之际,能源的支付能力比以往任何时候都更为重要,任何候选人都不应忽视煤炭发电所提供的平衡和经济性。”


"Our mining today is really high-tech, and safety is a big thing," he stressed. "I think a lot of people think electricity just comes from a light switch; they don't understand what is behind it. Sure, you can probably support a household on solar and wind, but any kind of major industry, you just can't do it."

他强调:“我们今天的采矿技术确实很高,安全是一件大事。”我想很多人认为电只是来自电灯开关,他们不明白背后是什么原理。当然,你可以靠太阳能和风能养家糊口,但任何一种主要产业你都搞不定。”

Moreover, Bernstein pointed to California as a worrisome example that could span the country amid the further elimination of coal.

此外,伯恩斯坦指出,加州是一个令人担忧的例子,淘汰煤炭可能会在全国范围内蔓延。

"California's rolling blackouts this summer were a stark reminder of the immense challenges faced by moving away from dispatchable power to greater reliance on intermittent sources of energy," he said. "And California's aggressive pivot to renewable sources of power has seen electricity prices steadily climb, rising far faster than in the rest of the country."

他说:“加州今年夏天的连续停电事件明确地提醒我们,从可调度电力转向更多地依赖间歇性能源所面临的巨大挑战。而加州积极转向可再生能源,电价稳步攀升,涨幅远超美国其他地区。”

Between 2013 and 2018, electricity rates in California jumped 25%. California's electricity costs 50% more per kilowatt-hour than the national average.

2013年至2018年间,加州的电价上涨了25%。加州每度电费比全国平均水平高出50%。


However, next week's outcome could have far-reaching consequences well beyond these small crevices of the country. Tuesday's results could also dramatically alter the way the entire country consumes energy – its costs, its delivery, and the kinds of vehicles people nationwide opt to drive. Electric cars could soon become the norm, and homes could be adorned with wind and solar sources.

然而,下周的结果可能产生深远的影响,远远超出了这个国家的这些小裂痕。周二的调查结果还可能极大地改变整个国家的能源消费方式——能源成本、能源供应以及全国人民选择驾驶的汽车种类。电动汽车很快就会成为一种常态,家庭可以安装风能和太阳能。


But for Biden backers and environmentalists, the conversion away from coal can't come soon enough. For years, scientists have beaten the drum that the "cheap fuel source" has led to a trove of troubles from deforestation required to clear lands in preparation for mining and the releasing toxic minerals into the soil and water supply to the dangerous discharge of methane, sulfur, and nitrogen into the atmosphere, as well as the residue of coal dust that can trigger respiratory problems in humans.

但对于拜登的支持者和环保人士来说,去煤炭过程并不会太快。多年来,科学家们一直在鼓吹的“廉价燃料来源”带来了一系列麻烦:砍伐森林以准备采矿,向土壤和供水系统释放有毒矿物,向大气中排放甲烷、硫和氮以及煤尘残渣,这些煤尘会引发人类的呼吸系统问题。

In sharp contrast to his counterpart, Trump has maintained unequivocal backing of the age-old industrial standard. As promised in his 2016 campaign, the reigning president over the past four years has sought to reverse the "burdensome restrictions" slapped on coal mining by his predecessor, including the reduction of regulations that limit coal production.

与对手形成鲜明对比的是,特朗普一直保持着对古老工业标准的明确支持。正如他在2016年竞选中承诺的那样,过去四年来,现任总统一直试图扭转前任对煤炭开采施加的“冗繁限制”,包括限制煤炭产量的法规。

Just four days into his term, Trump rejuvenated the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects rebuffed by Obama and tore up a moratorium on new leases for coal production.

上任仅仅四天,特朗普就重新启动了被奥巴马拒绝的Keystone XL和达科他接入管道项目,并撕毁了新的煤炭暂停租约

Nonetheless, even with Trump's vocal support, it has been on a fast fall in recent years – now supplying just 23% of the nation's electricity, down from 50% a decade ago. After holding relatively steady through his few first few years in the White House, the industry declined a further 9% in 2019 alone – slipping 4.2% quarter-to-quarter in the last part of last year according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of federal data – amounting to more job losses and plant closures, as demand atrophies.

尽管如此,即使有特朗普的声援,近几年来电力供应量仍在快速下降,目前仅占全国电力供应量的23%,低于10年前的50%。在他入主白宫的最初几年里,该行业相对稳定,仅在2019年就进一步下滑了9%,根据标普全球市场情报对联邦数据的分析,去年最后一个季度下滑了4.2%,这意味着随着需求萎缩,更多的失业和工厂关闭。

But the reasons for coal's tumble, many contend, is that it is still suffering from the Obama-led "war," which entailed the imposition of stringent environmental regulations that made coal plants considerably more expensive to run. For one, the 2012 Mercury and Air Toxic Standards confined emissions from plants, and three years later, the Clean Power Plan endeavored to further halt carbon emissions.

但是许多人认为煤炭价格暴跌的原因是它仍然受到奥巴马领导的“战争”的影响,这场战争要求实施严格的环境法规,使得煤电厂的运营成本大大提高。首先2012年的汞和空气毒性标准限制了工厂的排放,三年后,清洁能源计划努力进一步阻止碳排放。

"Trump rolled back all the Obama anti-coal regulation. But the coal industry continues to struggle amid the Obama war on coal," contended Steve Milloy, a former Trump/Pence EPA Transition Team Member, and Founder & Publisher of JunkScience.com. "Faced with what seemed like a permanent war on coal, wanting to be politically correct and utility economics, utilities began to switch out of coal and into natural gas. These decisions by utilities are driving the contraction of the coal industry, not government regulations."

“特朗普收回了奥巴马所有的反煤规定。但在奥巴马对煤炭的战争中,煤炭行业仍在挣扎,”前特朗普/彭斯环保署过渡团队成员、《世界煤炭报》创始人兼出版商史蒂夫?米洛伊(Steve Milloy)表示JunkScience.com网站. "面对一场似乎是对煤炭的永久战争,为了政治上的正确性和公用事业的经济效益,公用事业公司开始从煤炭转向天然气。公用事业公司的这些决定推动了煤炭行业的收缩,而不是政府监管。”


An ice storm has left over 300,000 customers without power in Oklahoma.

俄克拉荷马州一场暴风雪导致30多万用户断电。

Benjamin Zycher, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), concurred that the coal sector continues to battle against the competition of natural gas and will "continue to experience severe pressures."

美国企业研究所(AEI)的常驻学者本杰明·齐彻(Benjamin Zycher)也认为,煤炭行业将继续与天然气竞争,并将“继续面临严峻的压力”



Yet Reesman – and much of his neighborhood – remain hopeful that a second Trump term will turn things around, insisting that will the right support from the top, coal can still be king for a long time to come.

然而,瑞斯曼和他的大部分邻居仍然希望特朗普的第二个任期能够扭转局面,他坚持认为,如果得到高层的正确支持,煤炭在未来很长一段时间内仍然可以称王。


Hollie McKay has a been a Fox News Digital staff reporter since 2007. She has extensively reported from war zones including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, and Latin America investigates global conflicts, war crimes and terrorism around the world.

本文作者霍莉·麦凯自2007年以来一直是福克斯新闻数字公司的记者。她从伊拉克、叙利亚、也门、阿富汗、巴基斯坦、缅甸和拉丁美洲等战区广泛报道了全球冲突、战争罪行和恐怖主义。