“The war on coal is over,” declared Corsa Coal Corp. CEO George Dethlefsen on Sunday, noting that the Trump administration’s environmental agenda has allowed him to open a second coal company since the president took office. The move is expected to generate as many as 100 new jobs in Pennsylvania as a mine that was shut down five years ago is expected to reopen in early 2018.
Dethlefsen attributes the growth of Pennsylvania’s coal industry to President Trump’s economic policies and rollbacks of environmental regulations. “I think it’s a direct link,” he told Fox News reporters.
Resuscitating the coal industry after Obama-era policies were put in place to kill it was a key part of Trump’s presidential campaign.
According to federal data, coal exports, which had declined dramatically during the last half of the Obama administration, were nearly 60 percent higher in the first few months of the Trump administration than at the same time last year.
Coal companies exported more than 22 million short tons of steam and metallurgical coal between January and March 2017, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported in July. Indeed, the EIA predicts the “total 2017 exports forecast at 72 [million short tons (MMst)], 11 MMst (19%) higher than the 2016 level.”
And on Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and XCoal all celebrated the first shipment of Pennsylvania thermal coal to Ukraine. The shipment will depart from the Port of Baltimore later this week and arrive in Ukraine in September.
“U.S. coal will be a secure and reliable energy source for Centrenergo and its electricity customers,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in a statement. “This shipment will boost both of our country’s economies by supporting jobs in the coal and transportation industries. The Department and this administration look forward to making available even more of our abundant natural resources to allies like Ukraine in the future to promote their own energy security through diversity of supply and source.”
Acknowledging that energy is essential to American life and a staple of the world economy, coal’s comeback is just one example of how the Trump administration is committed to lowering energy costs for hardworking Americans through the use of American resources, which will free us from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil.
Held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry for too long, President Trump has been dedicated to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies, including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting restrictions like these will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next seven years.
Obama’s Climate Action Plan had called for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, boosting renewable energy, reducing energy waste, protecting natural resources, and preparing the nation for the effects of climate change. The water rule greatly expanded the rivers, lakes, and wetlands that fall under the protections of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.
“This rule will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, and it will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable,” Obama said in a statement at the time it was passed.
Despite what critics say, the Trump administration does not intend to let environmental concerns go by the wayside. “Our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment,” said the White House. The protection of clean air and water, conserving natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority as the agency gets out of the business of regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to revitalizing the coal industry, the administration has called for dramatically increasing shale oil and gas exploration, including on federal lands where there’s an estimated $50 trillion in untapped reserves, according to the White House. Revenue from energy production will then be used to “rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure.”
Less expensive energy will boost American agriculture, as well, said the White House, adding that domestic energy production is very much in the interest of America’s national security.
“President Trump is committed to achieving energy independence from the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests. At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy,” said the White House.
A brighter future depends on energy policies that stimulate our economy, ensure our security, and protect our health. Under the Trump administration’s energy policies, that future can become a reality.