Pennsylvania families are caught in a game of cronies
Two weeks ago, hundreds of coal miners and fellow union members marched in Pittsburgh to protest the biggest threat to their jobs, families and future — an out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined to destroy coal mining in America.
After toiling in the mines for generations to power America and better their families, miners are watching their own government destroy their livelihood. And they aren't alone. Manufacturing and steel mill workers have seen their industries crushed by the heavy hand of government climate crusaders.
Washington policymakers and social planners are telling these families that their sacrifice is necessary to protect the world from carbon-based energy. In reality, they may well be pawns in a game of cronyism and political profiteering as billionaires, hedge funds and corporate investors line up to line their pockets with taxpayer giveaways, tax loopholes and stimulus funds.
Tom Steyer, a San Francisco Democrat and self-proclaimed environmental activist, is one such profiteer. Mr. Steyer made millions investing in coal overseas but now claims a change of heart in order to “save the planet.” Steyer has spent close to $2 million attacking Gov. Tom Corbett on behalf of Democrat candidate Tom Wolf. The attack on Corbett is just a portion of a $100 million ad campaign Steyer is promising to rid the world of fossil fuels like coal.
Steyer has repeatedly claimed he has no financial interests in the policies and politicians he supports but the facts show otherwise. Steyer has attacked the Keystone pipeline, yet was an investor in a competing pipeline. He has used his government connections to obtain “green grants” and has benefited from the EPA-pushed mandates that drive up the price of energy for the rest of us.
While Steyer's ads attempt to attack Corbett by tying him to lobbyists, Steyer fails to disclose that over the past decade, his lobbyists have secured over $1 billion in grants, earmarks, stimulus funds and giveaways from the federal government to benefit his development project in Mission Bay, Calif. Most of these funds were secured with the assistance of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Some $5 million went directly into the treasury of a subsidiary controlled by Steyer's company.
So far this year, Steyer is the single largest political donor in America, having spent over $20 million with more to come. It would seem to require a degree of naïveté to believe that such largess is unconnected to politicians' decision to open the federal spigot for him.
For Steyer, this game is a win-win. He got rich investing in coal and is now using that wealth to kill the industry to benefit the green technologies currently padding his wealth.
For coal miners and factory workers in Pennsylvania, this game is a lose-lose. Not only are they watching their livelihoods wither away, they are being forced to watch Steyer spend millions of dollars in TV ads filled with his condescending hypocritical attacks. Adding further insult, Pennsylvanians now know that thanks to the politicians who plied Steyer with over $1 billion in federal money, the very same families he seeks to put out of work may well be subsidizing his efforts to do so.
Andrew Langer is president of the Institute for Liberty.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- With most starters resting, Steelers turn in lackluster loss at Heinz
- Liriano struggles as Brewers complete sweep of Pirates
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto: Public has stake in Penguins
- Experts warn Kane’s Haiti trip might jeopardize any case from 2014 wiretap
- Vick supporters, opponents demonstrate before Steelers’ game, but coexist
- LaBar: Best next opponent for Brock Lesnar
- District college game of the week: No. 8 John Carroll at St. Vincent
- Steelers notebook: Thomas, Moats only starting defensive players to see action vs. Panthers
- Gas cost, construction barrels coming down for Labor Day travelers
- Brady elated over lifted suspension; Steelers fans deflated
- Pittsburgh Zoo staff caring for African lion suffering from seizure condition