Trump Ran to Help Coal Country — And the Numbers Are Coming In

| AUG 10, 2018 | 4:56 PM

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

In 2016, while Hillary Clinton was running to “put coal miners and coal companies out of business,” then-candidate Donald Trump was pledging to save the industry. And as Bloomberg is now reporting, he may be on the verge of succeeding.

Though western ports are still reticent to allow coal through their terminals, European exports are still robust. Shipments of coal used by power stations are expecting to jump a whopping 58 percent by the end of the year. A London-based research firm expects that number to continue to climb through 2025.

They also expect diversification into Asian markets. That trend is in part driven by Japan's renewed commitment to the fuel. After their recent nuclear disaster, Japan has built eight new coal-fired plants in the last two years. Still more reassuring to those in the coal community is the country's plan to add an additional 36 plants in the next ten years.

Domestic demand continues to slow, but the current administration has been able to offset that with increased exports. The Trump administration is also assessing a plan to assist struggling domestic coal-fired plants to compete with heavily subsidized renewable energy sources.

And while this means an uptick in U.S. production, it hasn't yet led to a recovery in mining jobs, which are down 40 percent since the Obama administration began its assault on the industry. His 2008 claim that building a coal-fired plant would “bankrupt” any company who tried seems to be ringing hollow as well.

This good news for American coal was buttressed by a court decision earlier this summer that struck down Oakland's ban on coal exports through their city's terminal.

Likely much to their chagrin, the Sierra Club estimates that simply through that one decision, coal exports could increase by 19 percent.

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