Coal Industry: We Overestimate Jobs and Underestimate Cost

by Gabe Wisniewski

April 5, 2011

True Cost of Coal

The Chattanooga Times Free Press recently ran a story about a new study that compares the number of jobs promised by coal-fired power
plants to the actual jobs brought to a community where one is built.

For the study, analysts looked at the projections and final actual jobs
from the six largest new plants that began operations between 2005 and 2009. They were in Nebraska, Texas, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

Key findings include:

• For every 100 new construction jobs promised, just over half, 56 percent, were realized.

• In four of the six counties where new plants were built, coal plant
construction projected 6,370 jobs and delivered just 1,730 jobs—just over 27 percent.

• In all six counties, jobs declined during construction, suggesting that many new jobs were going to workers coming from outside the county.

On the heals of these results, the National Mining Association responded, “I think it is standard for companies to round up on direct and indirect jobs, and underestimate plant construction costs.”

Read the complete story online at The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Of course, it’s no surprise that the coal industry hides the reality of its business from the public.  In February, researchers at Harvard University released a historic study on the Full Cost of Coal, which outlines the costs of each stage in the life cycle of coal—extraction, transport, processing, combustion, and waste.  It concludes that the entire cycle of coal costs the American public up to one-half of a trillion dollars annually.

Join the movement to get coal out of the way of clean energy, and give our elected officials the courage they need to protect our health and environment. Take action today.

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