Why Coal Will Matter in the Fall Election
Just when Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment set a new low for insensitivity, we saw another real zinger this week from former Clinton White House staffer William Galston.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Galston deemed the “war on coal” a claim perpetuated by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to reinforce the coal community’s perceived “victimhood.”
Meanwhile, a few things have happened:
In 2008, President Obama promised, “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.”
The president’s subsequent MATS rule shut down at least 33 GW of coal-fired power in the United States. His recently announced moratorium on federal coal leases locks up sizable portions of western coal reserves.
The new Stream Protection Rule (SPR)—written while the administration spent six years dodging its legal obligations to state mining agencies—could potentially eliminate half of existing U.S. coal mines. And, the Clean Power Plan—currently stayed by a concerned Supreme Court—would likely eliminate 40 percent of America’s remaining coal fleet.
Even with this obvious, open-ended hostility from Washington, however, America’s coal communities are being told, “Sorry, natural gas simply outcompeted you.” And all of that even as the president simply made good on his 2008 promise.
Now we’re left with stark choices. Donald Trump has promised a “targeted review” of the Clean Power Plan because it “forces investment in renewable energy at the expense of coal and natural gas, raising electricity rates.” Hillary Clinton, in contrast, has praised President Obama’s efforts to keep fossil fuels “in the ground,” and wants to fully implement the Clean Power Plan.