Saturday, June 3, 2017

Media Bias Towards Coal in Southern Illinois

On the WSIL News 3 broadcast in Southern Illinois there was an interview with a 19 year old person who works at a coal mine. He said in order to make the money one can make in a coal mine one would have to go to college or work in a factory. I think he is trading his future for near term gains, and the possibility of black lung. He should get that degree or a job in a factory.

Coal Miners
Look, I know that Southern Illinois has a long history with coal. Coal was and still is a vital resource. There will always be a need for coal to use for one purpose or the other. Those purposes are less likely to have electricity generation on the list as time goes by. Coal use in power plants is on the decline. Even China has canceled the construction of 10 new coal fired power plants and is accelerating the construction of solar and wind power electrical generation plants.

Southern Illinois is banking on something called "clean coal" to save the coal mining industry. The coal mining industry is touting the benefits of carbon sequestration in an effort to stave off the decline in coal burning. Let's face the facts. By the time that technology has matured enough to solve the problem of carbon dioxide driven global warming it will be far to late. Clean coal is a myth.

Southern Illinois would be better served if the focus was shifted away from saving the coal mining industry, and pointed towards the booming green energy sector. The growth in green jobs is far outpacing the coal industry. Sure, there has been a little spike in coal jobs due to some of the current president's actions, but that will be short lived. The decline in coal mining jobs is inevitable. Backing the coal mining job horse is a bad bet in the long term.

I would like to see some unbiased reporting by WSIL News 3 on this. Their reporting seems to be leaning towards the coal jobs side. Like the interview with the young 19 year old man working at a coal mine. There you got one side of the story from a youth who did not have the life's experience to make a rational comment. He has a job paying well as evidenced by the car WSIL showed him driving away in. That carrot dangled in front of the audience wasn't lost on me. WSIL may as well had the news caster say "You too could be driving a car like this if you get a coal mining job."

The young person working in a coal mine may be all happy now with a new car, but his future looks bleak to me. He mentioned college or a factory as an alternative to working in a coal mine. Those two alternatives are way better than the future offered by a coal mine. But if people want to go for short term gain and suffer for it later (black lung, unemployment) then go on ahead and get that coal mining job and drive a new car now. Oh by the way, if the choice was an engineering degree now, the person who did that will be driving a way better car in the future than the one who opted for a coal mining job now. They will be living in a far better house too.


So let he viewer have both sides of the story WSIL News 3. You serve the community poorly if you fail to do that one simple thing.

Here is an excerpt from an article explaining why clean coal is a myth. It isn't the only one out there by far. I've provided the link to the main piece too.

The Myth of Clean Coal: Analysis


"But that's the easy part. The harder challenge would be transporting and burying all of this high-pressure CO2. American Electric Power recently began a CCS project at its Mountaineer Plant in West Virginia. The operation captures a few hundred tons of CO2 a day. That's a start--but a typical 500-megawatt power plant produces about 10,000 tons daily."

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a4947/4339171/