Coal's Post-Strike Future
Questions Raised by Mine Workers' Strike
The nation has returned to normal after the disruptions of the recent coal strike. But as the memory of the bitter, 110-day strike fades, serious doubts remain about coal's role in meeting the nation's energy needs. President Carter's National Energy Plan, now stalled in Congress, calls for greater reliance on coal to ease America's dependence on foreign oil. But many observers fear that Carter's goal of almost doubling coal production and consumption by 1985 is unrealistic, especially in light of the strike. “The problem of labor stability [in the mines] is causing some serious skepticism about added dependence on coal,” observed journalist Walter S. Mossberg shortly before the strike ended on March 27.1
Even before miners walked off ...