“You’re going back to work”
Put that lie in the Trump Hall of Fame next to “We’re going to have insurance for everybody”
Trump signed an executive order this week to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. Along for the ride as glorified stage props were a set of coal miners provided for the occasion by some of the mining executives who were there to see Trump deliver on his promise to dismantle environment protections for his corporate overlords. Trump said to the coal miners standing nearby: "You know what it says, right? You're going back to work." But the problem is this: Trump’s actions won’t help miners. They won’t help the industry.
What Trump’s executive orders will do is enable more polluting forms of surface mining-- especially, mountaintop removal (MTR). MTR is important to mining companies because it's the cheapest way to mine in the Appalachians. And the reason it’s the cheapest is that it takes fewer people. By enabling MTR, Trump allows producers that use it to undercut producers working with methods that both employ more people and are less harmful to the environment.
The bottom reality is this: There are zero new coal power plants under construction. There are zero in the planning stages. There are zero being proposed.
The coal industry can’t make a comeback, because there’s simply nowhere else to sell any coal. In fact, even with Trump in office signing away environmental laws left and right, more coal-fired plants are closing. The shrinking market that remains will be dominated not by coal from the Ohio and West Virginia miners that flanked Trump, but from Wyoming, where thick seams, high automation, and economies of scale make coal much less costly to produce.
And thanks to Bush-Cheney deregulated franking, it was actually cheap natural gas that wiped out demand for coal in Appalachia, not Obama regulations. And it was mountaintop removal mining that wiped out the mining jobs. Which means that these misguided folks have failed for a heaping dose of Trump bullshit. Even the largest mine owner in Ohio says that the jobs are not coming back even if demand for coal increases.
Untold numbers of coal miners have died over the years because of blatant disregard for safety by greedy mine owners. Pensions have been stolen and health care for black lung rolled back. And now they have voted for the man who is colluding with these greedy bastards to set them back even further. How many times do these folks have to be screwed over before they recognize who is messing with their lives and their families?