Washington Examiner: Big Coal starts hiring, opening plants, ‘through the roof’

West Virginia coal industry executive Mike Grose knows fake news when he sees it. And the headlines claiming that President Trump’s new executive order to dismantle clean power rules won’t revive mining employment were Exhibit A.

“It’s growing, a lot better than it ever was,” said Grose, owner of Superior and Elite Coal Services, a mining employment firm. “Once Trump was elected, I have increased staff 20-fold. Once he was elected, it went through the roof.”

From his office in central West Virginia, where he connects miners to several East Coast companies, Grose said that in anticipation of a Trump victory many mine operators readied for a hiring blitz. Smaller companies have begun to grab those that went bankrupt when former President Barack Obama targeted them with his Clean Power Plan.

“The industry knew what it was going to do, and it ramped up. They basically put the cart before the horse,” he said, adding that Trump’s promise to help the U.S. steel industry will mean even more coal mining jobs.

Luke Popovich of the National Mining Association said that Trump’s move at the very least will keep the coal industry open for business and slow the job drain.

Trump’s executive order and new coal leases approved by the Interior Department will “prevent further job losses,” he said. Better yet, “at least our government is not against us.”

The National Mining Association noted that Obama’s policies cost 64,000 mining jobs and Trump’s action killing the Clean Power Plan would “save 27,700 high-wage coal mining jobs along with another 99,700 in the coal supply chain including railroad workers, machinists, mechanics, truckers and other occupations that depend on coal mining.”

Mining country lawmakers also dismissed suggestions that Trump’s action wouldn’t lead to new jobs. Montana Sen. Steve Daines told the Washington Examiner, “The Obama regulations created uncertainty — whether it’s halting federal coal leasing or wiping out Colstrip Power Plant with the EPA Power Plan. These actions will stop the hemorrhaging from the industry and move toward putting coal back on the starting block — and let the market dictate.”

He also said that with global energy demand expected to spike 84 percent between now and 2050, “America either leads and powers the world or lets more dangerous nations strengthen their hold.”

Fraud in immigration courts, often the last stop before deportation for illegal immigrants, has reached 58 percent. And in many cases the lawyers illegally playing games with the system are to blame, according to a longtime expert.

Andrew R. Arthur, a former immigration official who served eight years as an immigration judge, told a House Judiciary subcommittee that lawyers violate laws and even coach clients to lie to beat deportation.

“A number of immigration practitioners have been charged in high-profile cases in connection with the filing of fraudulent asylum applications,” Arthur said in a written statement that included examples.

In one investigation, he said, 3,709 illegal immigrants won their cases because of legal fraud. And in another more than 1,900 Indonesians “were coached to tell asylum officers or immigration judges false stories of beatings or rapes they endured in Indonesia at the hands of Muslims because they were either ethnic Chinese or Christians.”

Unfortunately, he said, judges are so overworked that detecting fraud is difficult. Consider, said Arthur, that 542,411 cases are pending before 302 immigration judges, or about 1,800 cases per judge.

The answer, he said, is obvious. “The best way to ensure that the judges hearing asylum claims are familiar with the record in each case is to hire more judges,” Arthur said.

He faced a nasty confirmation fight and barely made it to the Supreme Court on a 52-48 vote, but Justice Clarence Thomas will get the last laugh as he closes in on breaking the record on years served.

According to an actuarial report on the high court, Thomas, 68, would be the first to serve more than 40 years if he stays on the court until he’s 83, breaking the 36-year record of Justice William O. Douglas, the famed Franklin D. Roosevelt pick.

With younger judges such as Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch now the trend, the report from the Oliver Wyman firm shows that future presidents will have a far less frequent chance to name justices to the Supreme Court, and it’s possible two-term presidents will get shut out.

The current average is for 49 judges to be named to the court every 100 years. The new average, factoring in younger judges, is just 25.

The firm studied the impact of an 18-year term limit and found that the appointment rate would return to 49 every 100 years. But it also would raise the chances to 41 percent that just one president could name a majority of Supreme Court justices.