Trump digs in on coal, unlike other world leaders
Declaring an end to what he’s called “the war on coal,” President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that eliminates numerous restrictions on fossil fuel production, breaking with leaders across the globe who have embraced cleaner energy sources.
The order makes good on Trump’s campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack Obama’s efforts to curb global warming, eliminating nearly a dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production, especially oil, natural gas and coal.
Environmental activists, including former Vice President Al Gore, denounced the plan. But Trump said the effort would spark “a new energy revolution” and lead to “unbelievable” American prosperity.
“That is what this is all about: bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams and making America wealthy again,” Trump said during a signing ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters, where he was flanked on stage by more than a dozen coal miners.
Throughout the election, Trump accused the former president of waging “a war” against coal as he campaigned in economically depressed swaths of states such as West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The miners “told me about the efforts to shut down their mines, their communities and their very way of life. I made them this promise: We will put our miners back to work,” the president said. “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.”
But Trump’s promise runs counter to market forces, including U.S. utilities converting coal-fired power plants to cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. And Democrats, environmental groups and scientists said the executive order ignores the realities of climate change.
“There is much our nation can do to address the risks that climate change poses to human health and safety, but disregarding scientific evidence puts our communities in danger,” said Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nation’s largest general scientific society.
On Tuesday, the governors of California and New York said they will push ahead with their aggressive climate-change policies despite Trump’s executive order that seeks to boost the coal industry.
Democratic Govs. Jerry Brown of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York said in a joint statement that they will help fill the void left by Trump’s decision to unravel former President Barack Obama’s plan to curb global warming.