Donald Trump is scheduled to visit West Virginia on Thursday to promise that he will restore the coal mining industry. Dubbed as Trump’s “silent majority,” coal miners and steel workers are desperate for relief. Trump is honing in on the broken-spirited coal miners who have been deluged with misfortune since Obama took office.
Trump has criticized Obama for changes in EPA standards. Higher EPA standards for the coal industry meant more money had to be invested in plants to meet the new standards. The cheaper option for plants was to switch to natural gas, which caused the coal industry to plummet. Trump promises to review the EPA standards, according to the Associated Press.
“We’re going to get those miners back to work… the miners of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, which was so great to me last week, Ohio and all over are going to start to work again, believe me. They are going to be proud again to be miners.”
TRUMP CARES ,,JOBS FOR AMERICANS,,MINERS— ct. Fl, (@teed_chris) May 4, 2016
WILL BE WORKING AGAIN , ,,CLEAN COAL ,, pic.twitter.com/wuPw26t7B3
Hillary Clinton campaigned this week ahead of Trump, trying to restore faith of the Appalachians after comments she made on CNN that she would put coal miners out of business. She claims it was taken out of context and that she would “never disrespect the people here.” Much of it fell on the deaf ears, though, as she tried to atone to displaced coal miners. They held up Trump signs and chanted “Go Home!” Protestors say Trump is not a career politician and believe he will bring change and create jobs again. Clinton promised to invest billions of dollars into coal mining communities.
In 2008, the coal industry attributed for half of U.S. electricity. Today, it’s about one-third. Natural gas soared from being one-fifth of the resources to now being a third. The other third is from nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, and wind power. U.S. coal production fell another 10 percent last year. The Energy Department estimates it will decline yet another 16 percent this year. This is the worst decline in a single year since 1958.
The problem with burning coal is carbon dioxide. Many of the other emissions have been reduced, but according to scientists, carbon dioxide is the culprit of climate change. Cleaning the emissions of carbon dioxide has been difficult. A plant is being built in Mississippi that will capture carbons, but thus far, the project has been strewn with difficulties. Delays have caused it to run so far over budget that, in the end, it will be one of the most expensive power plants ever built.
There’s another problem that Donald Trump will have to tackle: Wyoming. After heavy mining in Appalachia over decades, there’s simply less coal. Wyoming is now the leading state in coal production with rich mines of low-sulfur coal.
Hillary Clinton is hoping to attract the votes of blacks, Hispanics, and women, according to USA Today. The working class, however, may be more difficult and can easily upset the vote by crossing party lines in favor of a president who can put them back to work.
One Appalachian, Jon Malone, a 49-year-old working class white voter, said he’s voting for Trump and can’t remember the last time he voted.
“The only one that would even try to bring back jobs would be Donald. He’s a businessman. He’s not going to listen to the career politicians.”
The sentiments of having a non-career politician are appealing to many Americans, as they are tired of the status quo and the “good ole boys’ club,” but just how far will Donald Trump get in his plans if he comes into office? His ideas still have to be bartered with Congress, and the career-politicians that comprise Congress may not be too keen on the sharp-tongued, quick-tempered mogul who has new and often hotly debated ideas for the country. Can a fresh face in the White House make this country great again?
[Photo by Julie Jacobson/Associated Press Images]