Trump's rollback of coal rules electrifies Wyoming workers

President Donald Trump may have been unable to get legislation to end his predecessor's health care plan past Congress.

We wanted to focus on that a bit more in light of the executive order President Trump just signed that begins to roll back the Obama administration's climate change policies, especially those aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Shares in US coal companies edged higher in response.

Two weeks later, when the administration chose to abandon the Clean Power Plan, Mr. Pruitt and President Trump said it was to save the coal industry.

The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) said on Friday that the executive order, if carried out in full, will result in 2025 and 2030 emissions in the United States that are roughly similar to these today.

Trump's pledge to restore US coal production as a major energy source for America is unlikely to succeed because it's now more economical for the use shale natural gas - which burns at half the carbon intensity of coal - to produce electricity.

Even some in the coal industry say coal is flagging: "He wants to bring the mines back, and I told him that was not possible", Murray Energy Corp. founder and CEO Robert Murray said in an interview with SNL Financial News.

"We are going to start a new energy revolution, one that celebrates American production on American soil". Through the executive order, Trump is essentially saying that his administration will stop defending the case in the courts. Coal's decline stems mostly from relentless economic causes.

As expected, the executive order prompted criticism from environmentalist groups and acclaim from business leaders and workers in the energy sector.

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"We're in the situation where the executive order takes a lot of pressure off the decisions we had to make in the near term, such as whether to retrofit and retire older coal plants", said Dale Niezwaag, a spokesman for Basin Electric.

We are all concerned for the welfare of those who have suffered from the fury of Cyclone Debbie and its aftermath, and wish them all a speedy recovery, but our concern should not blind us to the link between extreme weather events, climate change, and the human activity largely responsible for global warming. As demand for natural gas grows and as export markets open up for gas, you will see natural gas prices go up. That's why mining jobs have plummeted for the last two decades. In fact, of the 27 states which sued to block the Clean Power Plan, at least 21 were on a path to meet those goals by 2030.

Here's the thing. El Salvador's new law doesn't apply to coal or other nonmetallic substance mining, so in that respect-both countries still have to grapple with the environmental impacts of dirty energy.

The energy policies of President Trump will only delay the demise of a portion of an industry while allowing that industry to hurt our current and future nation economically and environmentally.

On the jobs side, greater automation, and a switch to open-cut mines has meant that while overall coal production in the USA has risen slightly over the last 35 years, the number of jobs provided by the industry has more than halved.

"It's all just rusted in place at this point", he said.

Backing off from the "fossil fuels are evil" stand does not mean turning our backs on wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy.

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