Opinion: Trump’s Fact-Free Claim To Create Coal Jobs and Energy Independence

"Even if we saw an increase in coal production, we would see a decrease in coal jobs. The problem with coal jobs has not been CO2 regulations, so this will not bring back coal jobs."

Opinion: Trump’s Fact-Free Claim To Create Coal Jobs and Energy Independence

Since this is America in 2017, and a corrupt pathological liar is living in the White House, it isn’t breaking news, or this author’s opinion, to reiterate again that Donald Trump is a lying con man who easily duped yet another bunch of backwater conservatives into falling for a rash of lies. On Tuesday when Trump surrounded himself with “coal miners” and ordered the dismantling of climate-saving initiatives under the guise of reviving a dying industry and guaranteeing American energy independence, he opened himself up for a major debunking.

Trump told the assembled coal miners as he scribbled on a piece of paper;

C’mon, fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says? You’re going back to work. We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and reviving our beloved economy. The miners told me about the attacks on their jobs. I made them this promise. We will put our miners back to work.

Trump “advertised” his anti-climate initiatives as the only way to “decrease the nation’s dependence on imported fuels and revive the flagging coal industry.” However, energy economists, the real experts in the field said Trump’s order and promises completely fall apart when confronted with the facts.

First, President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” was not enacted to kill coal miner’s jobs, or destroy the dirty coal industry, or rob Americans of dirty coal-fired electrical power; it was an attempt to reduce carbon emissions driving anthropogenic climate change. Also, because the Supreme Court had put the President’s plan on hold over a year ago, it has never been put into effect. It did not kill any coal mining jobs. It did not make America dependent on foreign energy. And it did not create expensive electricity to punish American families in coal country. It’s something the coal industry, the Republicans “advocating” for more coal mining jobs, executives representing coal-fired electrical generating plants, and liar Donald Trump, all knew to be a fact.

Second, coal mining jobs were already, and have been, on the decline for well before the still not enacted Clean Power Plan was ever proposed. Why? Because coal mining, like every other industry, has been increasingly dependent on mechanization for over a decade. Long before President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and years before Barack Obama ran for President in 2008. This is another fact that the coal industry, out-of-work coal miners, and Donald Trump all knew to be a fact. Still, last week Trump “vowed” that “his executive order would save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work.”

According to an energy economist at the University of Wyoming, Robert W. Godby, Trump’s order will not create any new coal jobs or bring back lost ones. Mr. Godby said:

The mines that are staying open are using more mechanization. They’re not hiring people. So even if we saw an increase in coal production, we would see a decrease in coal jobs. The problem with coal jobs has not been CO2 regulations, so this will not bring back coal jobs. The problem has been that there has not been market demand for coal.”

Even the chief executive of one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies, Robert E. Murray of Murray Energy said, “These actions are vital to the American coal industry, to our survival, and to getting our coal families back to work.” However, in the same breath Murray admitted that he didn’t expect Trump’s executive order to do anything to help coal miners; “I really don’t know how far the coal industry can be brought back.”

The coal industry has been on the decline because electrical power generating plants have been voluntarily shifting to much cheaper, incredibly cleaner-burning, and overly plentiful American-produced natural gas. Even China has made giant strides toward using cleaner, cheaper, and more plentiful natural gas and closing down most of its dirty coal-fired generating plants before Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan was proposed. Abolishing the Clean Power Plan will not produce a monumental resurgence in dangerously unhealthy coal mining jobs; something the coal miners, lying Republicans from coal-producing states, the coal industry, and coal-fired electrical generating industry has been well aware of for a decade.

Trump also claims that his executive order, something that will not create a giant resurgence in coal jobs, will guarantee America’s energy independence. According to a noted Harvard energy economist, Robert N. Stavins, “We don’t import coal. So in terms of the Clean Power Plan, this has nothing to do with so-called energy independence whatsoever.”

It is apparent that if Trump’s executive order has nothing whatsoever to do with “energy independence,” or bringing back coal miners’ jobs, it is a petty little man with tiny little hands going to dangerous lengths to undo President Obama’s heroic work to save the climate. As no small number of commentators, pundits, and world leaders have already proffered, Trump is doing what Republicans threatened to do last year; sabotage America’s commitment with the rest of the civilized world to slow the deadly effects of global climate change. It is likely that the ignorant coal miners will eventually understand they were played by a lying con man, and one hopes it is an acutely painful realization. The travesty is that all Americans will suffer the detrimental effects of global warming because ignorant backwaters supported a lying swindler who cares no more about their jobs or well-being than he does the survival of the climate.

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