Trump Promises to Bring Back Coal as Two More Coal Plants Set to Retire
Speaking at a rally in Kentucky Monday night, President Trump told the crowd his administration is "preparing new executive actions to save our coal industry and to save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work."
The president also promised to "turn the EPA from a job-killer into a job creator." The timing of the executive order in question, which reportedly includes ordering a rewrite of the Clean Power Plan and threats to the social cost of carbon, was pushed back again by the White House on Monday. The president will reportedly sign the order by the end of this month.
Speaking of job killers versus job creators, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed Saturday to oppose the Trump budget's proposed cuts to the Appalachian Regional Commission, which helps with economic revitalization in areas devastated by coal's decline.
Hours before Trump's rally, electric company Dayton Power & Light announced plans to close two of its coal-fired plants in Ohio by next June. The company announced in a statement that, "without significant changes in market conditions," the J.M. Stuart and Killen plants would not be "economically viable beyond mid-2018."
"Despite claims to the contrary, King Coal is not coming back," said Michael Bloomberg. "Four coal-fired power plants have been slated for retirement since November, reflecting strong demand for clean energy over polluting coal."
The plants, which sit at the heart of a region Trump promised to revitalize, generate 3,000 megawatts of energy and employ nearly 500 workers. In a settlement reached earlier this year with groups including the Sierra Club, the company will invest in 300 megawatts of solar and wind projects by 2022 and provide a $2 million fund for the communities affected by the plants' closures.
"The rapid deployment of clean energy is unstoppable," Bruce Nilles, senior director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, said. "What is missing in Ohio and too many communities is a plan to help the impacted workers and communities make the transition away from coal."
For a deeper dive:
Trump rally: Reuters EO: Politico Pro, The Hill, Washington Examiner McConnell: AP, E&E Commentary: The Hill, Dan Cohan op-ed Coal: Reuters, The Hill, Dayton Daily News, Dayton Business Journal Commentary: Axios, Shane Savitsky analysis
The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.
This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.
"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.
By Shana Udvardy
After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.
Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.
Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.