Thursday, May 12, 2016

Trump's promises to re-open shuttered coal mines will be next to impossible to fulfill, analysts say

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump easily won West Virginia on Tuesday and is expected to have the same success next week at Kentucky's primary. A large part of Trump's success in both states has been his promise to bring back lost coal jobs, something analysts say is a promise that will nearly impossible to deliver, Evan Lehmann reports for ClimateWire. John Deskins, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University, told Lehmann, "It's very, very, very unlikely he could do something to get coal back to where it was seven years ago." (AP photo: Trump with miners in West Virginia)

That didn't stop Trump from telling West Virginia miners last week "to get ready to be 'working your asses off' in reopened mines if he's elected," Lehmann writes. "Trump told supporters, "I'm thinking about the miners all over this country. We're gonna put the miners back to work. We're gonna put the miners back to work. We're gonna get those mines open."

Easier said than done. "Chiza Vitta, an analyst with the credit rating service Standard & Poor's, sees two ways that Trump might try to fulfill his promise to reopen the mines," Lehmann writes. "The first is a protracted effort to turn back a number of environmental regulations, like the pending Clean Power Plan curbing greenhouse gases from power plants. Other regulations might also have to be targeted to achieve a widespread revival, including rules governing toxic air pollutants. Some Republican energy advisers see that as a politically tenuous exercise. The second scenario is more severe and even less likely, Vitta said. Trump could ask Congress to provide subsidies to the coal industry to make it more competitive with natural gas." Vita told Lehmann, "That seems to me a very, very low probability."

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