President Trump will take the most significant step yet in obliterating his predecessor’s environmental record Tuesday, instructing federal regulators to rewrite key rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions.
The sweeping executive order also seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions.
The order sends an unmistakable signal that just as President Barack Obama sought to weave climate considerations into every aspect of the federal government, Trump is hoping to rip that approach out by its roots.
“This policy is in keeping with President Trump’s desire to make the United States energy independent,” said a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the directive Monday evening and asked for anonymity to speak in advance of the announcement. “When it comes to climate change, we want to take our course and do it in our own form and fashion.”
Some of the measures could take years to implement and are unlikely to alter broader economic trends that are shifting the nation’s electricity mix from coal-fired generation to natural gas and renewables. The order is silent on whether the United States should withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, under which it has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 percent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels, because the administration remains divided on that question.
Trump’s executive order is aimed at appeasing his base in coal mining country. Sources reveal that about 70,000 jobs are currently in coal mining compared to 650,000 in renewable energy (wind, solar, biofuels).
Coal is trending down. There just isn’t a strong market for coal. Other sources of energy are just cheaper, cleaner, and more current. Trump’s promises of bringing coal mining back to West Virginia are simply not going to happen. It is a fading industry. You can mine all the coal in the world but if no one wants it, where does it get you?
Another grab for low hanging fruit, Trump. Last I heard, many of the people he is trying to appease have begun to realize they were duped. Health care vs. coal mining? Not a winning ticket. It seems to me that Trump needs to start some initiatives to move jobs not involved with coal into the economically depressed areas where coal mining used to be prevalent. Anyone who has bragged about one’s business acumens as much as Trump should be able to at least modernize those areas and attract new businesses and train the former coal miners to do new, safer jobs.