David McKinley: A Coal Resurgence in Just a Year
What a difference President Donald Trump has made in just 12 months. The restraining yoke of liberal policies instituted under former President Barack Obama has been lifted. This has resulted in 1.5 million jobs being created, pension funds stabilized, record low unemployment rates and our economy has grown at almost double the rate it did under Obama.
And particularly for those whose livelihood depends on coal, the outlook is especially exciting. Trump has ended the war on coal and has methodically been undoing the damage it caused. Obama had circumvented Congress and used executive actions to promote his ideologically driven climate agenda to devastate the coal industry across America. Even the Supreme Court agreed that his administration abused their authority and prevented a number of his regulations from taking place.
Obama’s EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, even said that his power plant regulations wouldn’t have much impact on the global climate. When asked about the issue during an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in 2015, she admitted: “not much … this is about America’s global leadership on the issue.”
Not much impact? These reckless regulations cost our country 86,000 mining jobs and forced 320 coal-fired power plants to close.
Any action that changes major energy policy should go through the legislative process, not unelected Washington bureaucrats. Trump recognizes this and has been reversing Obama’s regulations and restoring a level playing field for all sources of energy. He is simultaneously reaching out to Congress to find bipartisan legislative solutions.
That’s why it’s refreshing to have new leadership in Washington. Trump has taken a realistic approach when it comes to our national energy policy. As Chairman of the Congressional Coal Caucus, I have been working hand in hand with him to pursue a policy of American energy dominance as we seek to develop all forms of energy production.
At the beginning of the new administration, the Coal Caucus submitted a detailed 14-point list of priorities to help the coal industry recover. In less than a year, 11 of the 14 action items have been resolved.
America has withdrawn from the harmful Paris Climate Agreement and thereby saved American families and businesses millions in utility costs.
Trump has repealed power plant regulations that were costing thousands of jobs, causing plants to close, and threatening the security of our electric grid.
He lifted the moratorium on new coal leasing on federal lands.
He repealed a particular regulation on mining which could have cost an additional 78,000 mining jobs.
And finally, Trump has proposed a rule that will ensure the resiliency and reliability of the electric grid by helping coal and nuclear power.
These accomplishments have resulted in coal exports increasing 45 percent, which has resulted in over $1 billion in additional revenue. We’ve seen new investments in mining, bringing 50,000 new mining jobs nationwide, and continued research in clean coal technologies. They also demonstrate the effectiveness and leadership of the Coal Caucus and the Trump administration.
America has had tremendous success in developing clean coal technology. It’s time for us to export that knowledge to other countries. It’s naive to think that other countries won’t burn coal for energy; but by exporting the technology we’ve developed, we can have a big impact on worldwide emission levels. Clean coal can be the bridge as we develop other dependable sources for energy production. We can create more jobs by retrofitting our current coal-fired plants to use these new clean technologies.
It’s becoming clear that President Trump intends to work with Congress in establishing reasonable and achievable regulations rather than using unilateral executive orders.
President Trump listened to families in the coal fields across America and promised to fight for coal states, like West Virginia. While there’s still more work to be done, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have been keeping their promises.