Friday, June 09, 2017

Fact Checker finds Trump made misleading claims about coal in recent speeches

President Trump has made misleading statements about coal in recent speeches, Michelle Ye Hee Lee writes in The Fact Checker column in The Washington Post.

Trump said in announcing U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate-change agreement, “The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States. Further, while the current agreement effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America, which it does. And the mines are starting to open up, having a big opening in two weeks, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, so many places. A big opening of a brand, new mine. It’s unheard of. For many, many years that hasn’t happened.”

Six days later, in Cincinnati, Trump said, “Next week we’re opening a big coal mine. You know about that. One in Pennsylvania. It’s actually a new mine. That hadn’t happened in a long time, folks. But we’re putting the people and we’re putting the miners back to work.”

Here are the facts, as reported by Lee: "The new mines that are scheduled to open, including in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, are ones that will produce metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel. This coal is used to produce coke, which is then used to blast the furnace to create metal. It’s different from thermal coal, which is burned for steam to produce heat and electricity," the main concern of the Paris agreement.

The specific mine that Trump refereed to is the Corsa Coal Co. Acosta Deep Mine in Jennerstown, Pa., Lee reports. "Corsa began work on this mine in September — two months before the presidential election. This mine is expected to create 70 to 100 full-time jobs, according to the company." Don Dahler of CBS News has a report on the mine.

Trump said the Paris accord “effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America,” but Lee writes, "The nonbinding, voluntary agreement allows each country to decide the method and technology it wants to use to curb carbon emissions." She gives the president three Pinocchios on The Fact Checker's four-Pinocchio scale.

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