Trump's Plan to Revitalize Coal Faces Stiff Winds
Even a coal mining exec is skeptical about what can be done
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2017 3:24 PM CDT
President Trump waves as he walks off stage after signing his Energy Independence Executive Order on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order to unwind many of the environmental rules put in place by President Obama. The big change is that he ordered a review of the Clean Power Plan, which was designed to curb emissions at coal-fired power plants. The president celebrated "the start of a new era" in energy production, while environmentalists called it both "dangerous" and "embarrassing." A look at coverage:

  • Trump signed the "Energy Independence" executive order at the EPA while surrounded by coal miners. "Today I'm putting an end to the war on coal," he declared. See coverage of the event at the Guardian.
  • The Clean Power Plan hadn't actually taken effect yet because it had been held up in the courts, explains the New York Times in a primer.

  • Despite the move to ease up on coal regulations, the utility industry is expected to continue its shift toward natural gas, wind, and solar, reports the Wall Street Journal. It points out that US utilities generated more electricity last year from natural gas than coal, and that trend is expected to continue.
  • The AP takes a look at the effect on the coal industry and doesn't see a quick turnaround in the cards. In terms of jobs, it notes that more efficient ways of extracting coal have reduced the need for miners.
  • Amplifying the point is a quote from Robert Murray, chief executive of coal giant Murray Energy. “These actions are vital to the American coal industry, to our survival, and to getting some of our coal families back to work," he said of Trump's action. But he added: "I really don’t know how far the coal industry can be brought back." See the New York Times.
  • Trump's move does not pull the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord, but it seriously undermines the promises made at the forum by President Obama. An NPR interview explains.
  • Not far enough? Conservative critics are unhappy Trump did not order the EPA to re-evaluate a 2009 "endangerment finding" that greenhouse gas threatens human welfare, notes Politico. A writer at Breitbart makes the case that EPA chief Scott Pruitt should resign over this.
  • A takeaway from a Washington Post analysis: "While Trump can unwind Obama’s climate legacy to some extent, the economic and political forces that have spurred those underlying shifts are largely beyond his control."
  • Now comes the hard part, warns CNBC: Tuesday's move provides a framework, but the White House must still come up with a detailed replacement for the Clean Power Plan.
  • One of the Obama orders being repealed directed federal agencies to coordinate and prepare for extreme weather, reports Bloomberg, which looks at the ramifications.

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