Deti: Wyoming Mining Association director responds to Star-Tribune editorial on coal decline (Casper Star Tribune – April 13, 2018)

‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” So was the text of a cable sent by Mark Twain from London to the American press following the mistaken publication of his obituary. After reading a recent editorial in the Casper Star-Tribune (Wyoming Needs to be Honest About Coal’s Uncertain Future, April 8, 2018), I cannot help but empathize with how Mr. Twain felt.

Most importantly, the piece was seemingly written with the mistaken premise that the Wyoming coal industry and its supporters are laboring under the Pollyannaish notion that Washington’s change in policy direction was like a magic wand being waved to restore the industry to its former heights. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those who work in and for this industry, as well as those who make public policy in this state, are acutely aware of the current state of Wyoming’s coal industry. We have always known changing Washington’s regulatory approach was not a simple “silver bullet” for the industry’s challenges. However, it has certainly been a welcome and positive change.

The abusive over-regulation of the Obama Administration was an unprecedented attempt to cripple and end an essential American industry. Before and after the 2016 election, President Donald Trump made it quite clear he would roll back the aggressive regulatory burden that had been purposefully designed to help crush the American coal industry. The so-called “Clean Power Plan” was always an unfair, ill-conceived and politically driven effort; EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s moves to roll it back are helping to keep a promise made.

Whether it was burdensome regulations or unfairly picking energy winners with subsidies, the roll back of these policies has started the prying of the federal government’s finger off the scale so the playing field for the coal industry can be more level. To suggest this as a “hollow promise” or as “raising false hope” is simply wrong.

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