Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is continuing his efforts to get the nation off of coal-powered electricity, but one energy policy analyst says he's ignoring the consequences of his actions.
Michael Bloomberg is donating an additional $30 million to a Sierra Club effort to reduce the nation's use of coal. In 2011, Bloomberg donated $50 million to the effort. The Sierra Club wants to replace half the nation's coal-fired power plants with renewable energy by 2017. That has trade groups like the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity concerned about job losses in the coal industry.
Tom Borelli, senior fellow for FreedomWorks, has also warned about the impact that anti-coal efforts will have on jobs.
"Bloomberg is a typical progressive elite,” he says. “He's using his fortune on a feel-good exercise while ignoring the consequences of his actions. The Sierra Club has a tremendous amount of money and is out to bankrupt the coal industry - and that's going to have a devastating impact on the lives and livelihood of Americans."
While the percentage of coal used for U.S. electricity has fallen in recent years, coal remains a major source of electricity in many states. According to EIA.gov, coal was used in 2013 for about 39 percent of the electricity generated in the United States.
While the same can be said for virtually any form of energy, the process of getting coal to power plants means jobs - and those jobs create employment in other sectors that depend on the coal industry to survive. Still, Bloomberg thinks that reducing the number of coal plants will save lives.
According to The Associated Press, Bloomberg also thinks job growth in solar, wind and natural gas production can offset the loss of coal-related jobs. However, the Sierra Club also has a Beyond Natural Gas campaign that says, "natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections and disregard the health of entire communities."
The Sierra Club's Beyond Natural Gas campaign tells OneNewsNow none of Bloomberg's money will go towards that effort. Bloomberg Philanthropies made no response to OneNewsNow inquiries.