The people's voice of reason


In boxing it is said, "To be the champ, you've got to beat the champ." In Alabama, coal is the champion of our natural resources. There is enough coal in our soil to produce electricity for hundreds of years. But, some people don't want us to do that. They want us to use only the sun or wind to produce electricity. We cannot and should not, however, abandon coal, our greatest and most reliable natural resource.

Many of the wonderful Alabama citizens currently working in coal mines are descendants of several generations of coal miners. Their hard work allows them to provide for their families and contribute to our economy. I greatly admire these miners, many of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years. The coal that they labor to bring out of the earth is truly amazing. It helped America grow by powering the trains that moved people and goods into the west. It provided the energy industries needed to produce the weapons the United States used to fight and win two world wars. Coal, Alabama's champion natural resource, helped make America great.

Although you may have heard that, as a member of the Alabama Public Service Commission I voted to approve two solar projects, let me assure you that my commitment to the coal industry has not and will not waiver. There were two votes on two different solar projects. The first was to allow the construction of solar energy facilities on Fort Rucker and the Anniston Army Depot. I cast my vote for those projects only because I was convinced that, had they not been approved, President Obama would have spitefully shuttered those facilities or moved them outside Alabama. The second project was for a solar energy facility in LaFayette. My vote on that project was based on the fact that Alabama Power had a customer who wanted to purchase nearly eighty percent of the energy that project will produce. As a conservative, I felt compelled to support the free market forces that brought about the need for a vote.

While I hope that these projects will be successful, there is no doubt that they will not come close to producing the amount of electricity a coal-fired power plant can. Also, don't forget that coal works when solar can't. At night, solar facilities will not produce a single watt of electricity although coal-fired plants can produce electricity all night long. You cannot depend on solar power during a cloudy, overcast day; coal is dependable no matter what the weather is like outside. When it comes to the production of electricity, solar can't beat coal; it never has and it never will.

I have long understood that coal is our champion natural resource. You can rest assured that I will continue to strongly support Alabama's coal industry and will work against any effort to jeopardize Alabama jobs by moving away from the use of coal to power our state.


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