It is not my contention that nobody wants coal but 1) look at its price and this tells the story of the economics of energy; and 2) even though you cite 33% as coal’s contribution to generation of electricity, you fail to also cite the trend line: down. (http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_1_1) In 2006 1,990,511 megawatts of electricity were produced via coal, but in 2015 this had dropped to 1,356,057. far from a “liberal conspiracy”, energy companies were making other business decisions about the source of their energy generation: Natural gas increased from 816,441 in 2006 to 1,335,068 in 2015; Renewable sources excluding hydro and solar were 96,018 in 2006 and 271,885 in 2015. Solar, still small in overall megawatts generated, are increasing rapidly from 508 in 2006 to 26,473 in 2015.
Coal, although still a major source of energy in China is also being phased out over time. Serious air pollution in a number of China’s largest cities is creating health problems and climate change is a recognized threat in China, in particular concern about their ability to feed 1.4B people.
It’s essential to help workers in the coal industry transition to other quality jobs as this will be an industry that employs fewer people, and uses different technologies to extract coal (displacing workers). The direction of coal is an economic, and to a lesser extent political factor (climate change), but trying to blame this on Washington (or democrats which Mitch McConnell is so fond of doing) is merely an attempt at diverting us from reality. Blame the energy company executives for making different decisions about how they source electricity generation if you must, but that too fails to address the truth about coal.