Few American business sectors get as strong a defense from President Trump as the coal industry, both in his rhetoric and his policy. As a presidential nominee, he repeatedly pledged to work to revive coal’s fortunes, presenting himself as the “last shot for the miners.”
“They want to be miners, but their jobs have been taken away,” Trump said at an August 2016 rally. “And we’re going to bring them back, folks.”
Trump and his team, particularly Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, have sought to follow through on that promise, repealing a rule meant to protect streams from coal mining waste, ending a moratorium on new coal leasing on federal land and beginning to roll back the Clean Power Plan.
Trump boasted in his State of the Union address in January that he had “ended the war on beautiful, clean coal.”
Hal Quinn, president of the National Mining Association (NMA), says his group’s aggressive work during and since the campaign fed into Trump’s pro-coal policies. But Quinn, who has been coal’s top spokesman in Washington, D.C., for 10 years, acknowledges that Trump and the people who work for him were likely to go in that direction anyway.
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