Regulations are killing the coal industry. They are destroying jobs. They destroy who communities and a way of life. Obama declared war on the coal industry. I dig coal.
This is of course not my opinion. It’s the opinion of Trump and EPA director, Scott Pruitt. I think the recent Frontline show, War on EPA, provides the viewpoints of both Trump supporters and opponents. You can see the entire program online:
About 50 minutes into the program, there is this wonderful quote from Betsy Sutherland, who was the Director of the Office of Science and Technology until Sept 2017, about working with Scott Pruitt, “He just doesn’t ask any questions.” Bob Murray, COE of Murray Coal was quite candid about his influence on the Trump administration: “I gave Mr. Trump what I call an action plan very early on. It’s about 3 1/2 pages long. He’s wiped out [completed] page one.
As very briefly mentioned in the program, it is not just about carbon emission, but a long range of regulations on harmful pollutants that Scott Pruitt is rolling back. These regulation range from the reporting of methane emissions from the natural gas industry to the banning of harmful pesticides. Another words, what industry wants is exactly what industry gets. You can’t be sued for methane emissions if nobody knows how much was released.
And one would think that the fossil fuel industry would be soaring on the news that the Clean Power Act is about to be repealed by the EPA. This is hardly the case. I can’t say how Murray Coal is reacting to Trump’s agenda because it is a private company. However, the stock price of the world’s largest coal company with a market cap of around 3 billion dollars, Peabody Energy (BTU), continued it’s downward decline, with a stock price of around $28/shr, far below its Nov 2012 price of $377/shr.The coal industry has been in a long term decline. What is killing the coal industry is automation in the mines, and low cost natural gas, not regulation. The lack of enthusiasm from the stock market on coal stocks pretty well proves this point.
The benefits of the Clean Power Plan Act were far reaching, and included economic, climate and health benefits. When Scott Pruitt was asked about the relationship between the recent series of hurricane and warming waters due to climate change, he said this was not the appropriate time to consider this subject. I consider it highly appropriate time to recognize climate change is a factor in the intensity of hurricanes.
Fareed Zakarian, columnist for the Washington Post, really got it right!