A Coal Executive Just Shot Down Donald Trump's Hopes For Bringing Back Energy Jobs

March 27th 2017

The Trump administration is looking for some easy wins.

donald-trumpAP/Evan Vucci - apimages.com

Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon told Politico that the White House will focus on "action, action, action" in the aftermath of Republicans in the House of Representatives pulling legislation aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act.

One of those actions, planned for Tuesday, will be rolling back Obama administration coal industry regulations in hopes of stimulating job growth.

However Robert Murray, the CEO of the largest private coal firm in the U.S., Murray Energy, said Trump can't keep that promise. Although Murray is happy to have Trump in office rather than President Barack Obama, who he saw as trying to destroy the coal industry, Murray told The Guardian that lost coal jobs probably can't come back in this market.

“I suggested that he temper his expectations,” Murray told The Guardian. “Those are my exact words." He can’t bring them back.”

Trump wants to to get rid of regulations the coal industry hates.

A bulldozer pushing coal. Wikimedia Commons/Petar Milošević - wikimedia.org

The Hill reports that the Trump administration wants to end the Clean Power Plan, a set of rules implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2015 aimed at reducing carbon pollution from power plants. The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted the implementation of the rule in February of 2016, and it's being challenged by the court in 28 states. Trump's EPA head Scott Pruitt, who has been criticized for his views about climate change, said that the Clean Power Plan was a part of the Obama's "efforts to kill jobs."

“For too long, over the last several years, we have accepted a narrative that if you're pro-growth, pro-jobs, you're anti-environment; if you're pro-environment, you're anti-jobs or anti-growth,” Pruitt told George Stephanopoulos on ABC. “We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment. And the executive order will address the past administration's efforts to kill jobs across this country through the Clean Power Plan.”

But regulation isn't killing coal, competition and innovation is.

As the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in 2016, coal lost market share as natural gas become cheaper and more abundant.

EIA ChartEnergy Information Administration - eia.gov

"Between 2000 and 2008, coal was significantly less expensive than natural gas, and coal supplied about 50 percent of total U.S. generation," the EIA reports. "However, beginning in 2009, the gap between coal and natural gas prices narrowed, as large amounts of natural gas produced from shale formations changed the balance between supply and demand in U.S. natural gas markets."

RELATED: Will Donald Trump End Obama's 'War on Coal'?

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