|Loss of coal jobs (NYT graphic)|
Coal’s No. 1 rival, cheaper natural gas, "could become an even more potent competitor under the incoming administration," Krauss and Corkery write. "The probable easing of restrictions on pipeline building and loosening of rules on gas exploration and production would mean more natural gas reaching the market."
Ted O’Brien, a coal analyst at Doyle Trading Consultants, a leading energy industry research firm, told the Times, “I don’t think the Trump presidency will have a material impact on bringing coal miners back to work. He may eliminate (environmental regulations), but I have a hard time seeing a surge in coal demand.”
|Changes in energy consumption (NYT)|
Another factor in lost coal jobs is automation, Krauss and Corkery write. "High-tech shears can now shave coal from underground seams—work that formerly required hundreds of miners. Surface mining, which has been increasing in recent years, has also replaced many workers with heavy machinery." There are about 50,000 coal jobs in the U.S., down from 250,000 in 1980. Most of the losses are in Appalachia. (Read more)