Thursday, December 01, 2016

Top strip-mine regulator says Trump should see abandoned-mine damage before making promises

President-elect Donald Trump, who promised to revive coal, needs to see first-hand the negative effects of abandoned coal mines in Appalachia before continuing to make promises, the director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement told Bloomberg News.

Joseph Pizarchik told reporter Stephen Lee, “He doesn’t have to go far. Just go from New York City to northeastern Pennsylvania. He can see thousands of acres of dangerous mines, polluted mine water, destroyed lands, destroyed communities, communities that were abandoned by companies after they destroyed the land and water.”

While Trump says "lifting regulations on the coal sector will bring back jobs and revive struggling communities," experts say the industry's main problem isn't regulations, but cheaper natural gas, Lee writes. Pizarchik told Lee, “I can appreciate his desire to want to help people. But if you mine more coal, you have to have a market for it. Just mining it is not going to create jobs in the long run.”

Not everyone agrees with Pizarchik, Lee writes. Christian Palich, president of the Ohio Coal Association, "said those who question coal’s future 'might be the same people who predicted Trump wouldn’t have a path to 270' votes in the electoral college." Palich told Lee, "With a president that supports coal, I think you definitely could see a rally. Create the right atmosphere and the market will do what the market does. Once you have a president not picking winners and losers, I think coal is going to be in a very good position to thrive.” (Read more)

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