President Donald J. Trump signed House Joint Resolution 38 to stop the Stream Protection Rule, an Obama administration policy decimating workers in the coal industry. The action represents the fulfillment of a campaign promise that hopes to reverse damage done by another promise made by his successor.
“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted,” Barack Obama said during a 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board.
And he made good on that campaign promise.
A 2015 study found the U.S. coal industry lost 50,000 jobs from 2008 to 2012 during Obama’s first term. By September 2016, America had 83,000 fewer coal miners employed. By the end of Obama’s presidency, 600 coal mines had closed.
As a result, U.S. coal production declined by more than 177,000,000 tons, raising the cost of electricity on Americans of all incomes and leaving the country vulnerable to blackouts.
The White House said the president wanted to stop the policy from “further harming coal workers and the communities that depend on them.” In a statement, they said “H.J.Res. 38 blocks an overly burdensome regulation that threatened the coal industry with millions of dollars in compliance costs, reduced coal production, and fewer jobs.”
During the 2016 campaign, President Trump’s opponent promised in private–and accidentally in public once–she would continue the Obama era regulations, which Republicans call a “war on coal.”
“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Hillary Clinton said.
Meanwhile, President Trump promised coal workers he bring the jobs back “and reverse the harmful actions of the past administration.” Two weeks ago, President Trump also signed an executive order requiring that for every new Federal regulation, two existing regulations be eliminated.
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