Me: Eddy! Got your voice mail. You sound in a good mood for a change.
Eddy: Hey, Charlie, I’m laughing at this latest bull crap from the White House.
Me: Better get more specific, Uncle Ed.
Eddy: That EPA crap. Trump’s taking off all kinds of restrictions on the EPA. Says that’s going to bring back jobs.
Me: Well some industries think the Clean Air rules give advantages to China where they don’t have any.
Eddy: Listen, it was damned smoky up and down the Valley when the mills was running full blast. But that ain’t what shut them down. Might have cost them a few bucks, but didn’t shut them down. It was prices, kid – prices. Labor was part of that, I gotta admit it. But a China guy would work for a buck or two a day, that ain’t what labor here wanted. You can’t put food on the table that way.
Me: And that means?
Eddy: It means that you can take away all the smoke laws and them mills ain’t coming back because we need more money for our labor. I figured the new government was smart enough to see that. I sure called that one wrong.
Me: What about Trump loosening restrictions on coal. He said “the miner’s are coming back”.
Eddy: Coal schmoal! Nobody burns coal no more – gas is too cheap. Nobody going to clean out them boilers every day, and haul away ash. And ain’t no miner’s coming back. Let me tell you something kid, nobody ever “wanted” to grow up to be a coal miner. Guys mine coal ’cause that’s where they was born — ain’t nothing else to do. I know a lots of them, south of here, and they all wanted their kids to have something better. It’s dirty, it’s dangerous and you only do it if it’s the only way to feed the family.
Me: So I guess it’s going to get pretty smoky in some towns?
Eddy: Hell, kid, most smoke’s made when politicians is trying to blow it up our ass.