Coal: A More Desirable Christmas Gift Than You Think

By: Katherine Rosario
The Forge

Coal isn’t very popular around Christmas. No one wants to be under threat of getting coal in their stocking from Santa. But coal deserves a lot more credit than folks give it. Understanding the importance of coal in our everyday lives allows us to see why it’s actually pretty desirable.

Think about the electric stove or microwave where you’re heating up some hot cocoa, or that pretty string of lights you have wrapped around your Christmas tree, or that fun new technological gadget you’re charging. Coal is an important means of powering your life, because coal-fired power plants generate over 40 percent of America’s electricity.

Yet, the Heritage Foundation explains, the U.S. is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to coal production:

the coal industry—and therefore American energy consumers—is increasingly under attack from both proposed and implemented federal regulations on new power plants, existing power plants, and mining operations.

The only folks in America that may have a greater aversion to coal than small children at Christmastime are big-government politicians looking to bring about the coal industry’s demise through crippling regulations:

When coal’s decline is driven by market forces, such as from the extraction and supply of cheap natural gas from shale formations, consumers and the economy at large are made better off. But when politicians unnecessarily choke coal supplies through excessive regulations devoid of environmental benefit, the result is less competition, higher prices, and job destruction.

The rest of the world seems to understand how a dependable, affordable energy source such as coal can improve personal welfare and serve as a critical input for economic prosperity. Congress should reverse the course of this Administration’s path to drive out coal and allow the market to determine America’s energy mix.

Coal may not be an ideal stocking stuffer, but let’s give coal the credit it deserves. It’s part of the reason we can enjoy our Christmas and holiday festivities so much!

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