Trump Touts Coal Industry Comeback At W. VA. Rally

Aug 22, 2018

President Donald Trump at a rally in Charleston, WV on Aug. 21.
Credit Kara Lofton/WVPB

Hours after the head of the EPA unveiled a more industry-friendly version of power plant regulations, President Trump used a rally in West Virginia to claim that his policies have revitalized the coal industry.

 “And it is really happening. We are back. The coal industry is back,” Trump told the clapping and cheering crowd. 

But industry statistics reveal a muted job recovery in coal, at best.

The West Virginia coal industry has improved under Trump. Production is up nearly 27 percent since the middle of 2016, driven largely by an uptick in coal exports for steel production.

But other parts of the Ohio Valley have seen little change in coal employment. And a new report by West Virginia University forecasts coal production in the state will level out during the next two years and decline sharply during the next two decades.

Trump also touted his administration’s efforts to repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. That rule aimed to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in an effort to stem the effects of climate change.

“Everyday we’re keeping our promises. We’re cancelling Obama’s illegal, anti-coal-destroying regulations. The so-called Clean Power Plan,” he said.

Yesterday, the EPA announced it would replace it with a new rule that gives states more latitude to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

“Just today we announced our new Affordable Clean Energy proposal that will help our coal-fired power plants and save consumes, you, me, everybody, billions and billions of dollars," Trump said. 

The EPA says price of electricity is expected to drop by a half a percent at the most by 2025 under the new rule.

But perhaps more striking, the agency’s analysis also finds the amount of coal produced in the U.S. is expected to drop, in some cases drastically.

With the Trump administration’s new Affordable Clean Energy rule, the agency says overall U.S. coal production is expected to decrease.

But industry statistics reveal a muted job recovery in coal, at best.

The West Virginia coal industry has improved under Trump. Production is up nearly 27 percent since the middle of 2016, driven largely by an uptick in coal exports for steel production.

But other parts of the Ohio Valley have seen little change in coal employment. And a new report by West Virginia University forecasts coal production in the state will level out during the next two years and decline sharply during the next two decades.

Trump also touted his administration’s efforts to repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. That rule aimed to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in an effort to stem the effects of climate change.

“Everyday we’re keeping our promises. We’re cancelling Obama’s illegal, anti-coal-destroying regulations. The so-called Clean Power Plan," he said.

Yesterday, the EPA announced it would replace it with a new rule that gives states more latitude to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

“Just today we announced our new Affordable Clean Energy proposal that will help our coal-fired power plants and save consumes, you, me, everybody, billions and billions of dollars," he said.

The EPA said price of electricity is expected to drop by a half a percent at the most by 2025 under the new rule.

But perhaps more striking, the agency’s analysis also finds the amount of coal produced in the U.S. is expected to drop, in some cases drastically.

With the Trump administration’s new Affordable Clean Energy rule, the agency says overall U.S. coal production is expected to decrease.

In Appalachia, coal mines would produce at least 78 percent less coal in 2035 than they did last year.