It is misleading to say that “coal is rapidly losing out to cheaper energy sources like natural gas and renewables, leading to a historic downturn in mining.” (The Coal Conundrum: The Navajo Nation weighs the cost of saving power-plant, mining jobs, April 2017)
Were coal not crippled by over-regulation, it is probable that coal, not natural gas, would be the least expensive option. If you tied his legs together and his hands behind his back, basketball star Lebron James would lose in a one on one against even me. Similarly, coal is not allowed to compete in a fair and open marketplace with other energy sources; so naturally it will often lose out.
Natural gas should be saved for applications it does especially well, such as: heating, cooking, transportation, fertilizers and in the manufacture of fabrics, glass, steel, plastics, paint, and other products. Using it for base-load power generation is a waste when the U.S. has so much high-quality coal there for the taking. Using gas for base-load power generation is like a reverse Midas touch, turning gold into lead.
Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng.
International Climate Science Coalition