Trump made big campaign promises to the workers in the coal industry. What coal industry? No one wants to haul and burn the smelly stuff when there is now so many other sources available for energy and heat. Is this going to be yet another promise to his voters he can’t deliver? The promises he made in May 2015 may be harder than he thinks to deliver. Then he promised the coal miners to get them back their jobs and open up the coal mining industry. 90% of United States coal is used to generate power. The future of the industry is not good. Even the largest electric companies are converting to cleaner natural gas. They are switching for business reasons. Natural gas is cheap and the utilities don’t have to deal with pollution regulations.
It costs multi billions of dollars to maintain costly dirty coal plants. Natural gas and renewable fuels are the way of the future. The coal miners don’t really want to go back in the mines amid all that danger and black lung risks. Like everyone else all they want is a good job that will give them a decent home and feed their families. Obama wanted that by going through the route of wind and solar power. The Republican run government shot down every Obama proposal for new energy sources. Isn’t there jobs in those areas of energy? Natural gas now surpasses coal as the nation’s top energy source. Many states have wind turbines turning out about 40% of a town’s energy needs. About 600 wind towers would do that job. Wind energy brings down costs by 50%.
Trumps plans to revive the coal industry is primarily to remove regulations. Trump has pretty much abolished the Environmental Protection Agency and he believes that less pollution regulations will bring the industry back. Air pollution and water pollution regulations are not going to be enforced anymore. Companies that use coal complain that there is no help or plan to fix or update their coal burning equipment that is costly. Loose regulations is fine to them but the problem of the high cost of coal production is still high and frankly not worth going there anymore. The coal industry has challenges despite Trump’s promise.
Bernard Weinstein from the SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute says the only hope for the coal industry is to get involved in exporting the coal. Many other parts of the world still use coal as their energy provider. That still doesn’t guarantee jobs to return and the costs to ship heavy coal brings the prices higher. We need to put more research and innovation into solar and wind power because it is the safest and most abundant source. How can we get those sources to be more productive in energy and jobs? Trump has no interest in supporting experimentation in those areas. He believes that his signature on an executive order simply solves the problem. Not!
We need to get out of digging into the earth for coal, water, gas and oil. Roads are collapsing, sink holes are showing up everywhere and the earth is simply sinking causing many unexpected problems for all. So. What have you accomplished again Mr. President? Nothing!