In May of 2016, Donald Trump stood before a cheering crowd in Charleston, West Virginia, and “I am thinking about the miners all over this country,” he said at the time. He had just effectively clinched the Republican nomination, and signs of “Trump digs coal” were peppered throughout the crowd. “We’re going to put the miners back to work. We are going to get those mines open.”
Trump’s message clearly resonated; he won nine of the ten states with the highest coal production in the United States last November, easily sweeping Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky, the top three spots on the list.
President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, which he will announce at the White House Rose Garden Thursday, is being billed as a way to turn those words into action.
“This is a step to fulfilling some of the promises that he [President Trump] made,” said Tyler White, President of the Coal Association in Kentucky, which has lost over 25,000 coal jobs since 2011.
There is shaky evidence, however, that withdrawing from this agreement will give people employed in the mining industry what they want: more jobs. Trump has already signed an Executive Order on Energy Independence mandating that federal agencies review President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is designed to reduce carbon emissions 32% by 2030, largely by replacing coal-fired plants with natural gas and renewable energy sources.
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