In explaining their dissatisfaction with the Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of the coal industry, Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul have said that more than 200,000 jobs in Kentucky depend on coal, including about 18,000 miners.
McConnell's office told us the 200,000 figure was based on a 1994 study, "The Impact of Coal on the U.S. Economy," by Adam Rose and Oscar Frias of the Department of Mineral Economics at Pennsylvania State University. The National Coal Association commissioned the study.
In their study, Rose and Frias used a national multiplier of 11.003. In other words, for every mining job that's lost, they estimated 11.003 jobs would be eliminated.
McConnell and Paul apparently applied the 11.003 multiplier to Kentucky's current 18,000 mining jobs and came up with 198,000, rounded up to 200,000 total jobs from coal.
The problem with their calculation is geographical. They used a national multiplier to estimate jobs within a state.
Kentucky mining jobs do generate jobs outside the state — in corporate headquarters in Richmond, Va. and St. Louis, for example, in power plants in other states and places where mining equipment is manufactured.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.kentucky.com.