West Virginia coal industry executive Mike Grose knows fake news when he sees it. And the headlines claiming that President Trump’s new executive order to dismantle clean power rules won’t revive mining employment were Exhibit A.
“It’s growing, a lot better than it ever was,” said Grose, owner of Superior and Elite Coal Services, a mining employment firm. “Once Trump was elected, I have increased staff 20-fold. Once he was elected, it went through the roof.”
From his office in central West Virginia, where he connects miners to several East Coast companies, Grose said that in anticipation of a Trump victory many mine operators readied for a hiring blitz. Smaller companies have begun to grab those that went bankrupt when former President Barack Obama targeted them with his Clean Power Plan.
“The industry knew what it was going to do, and it ramped up. They basically put the cart before the horse,” he said, adding that Trump’s promise to help the U.S. steel industry will mean even more coal mining jobs.
Luke Popovich of the National Mining Association said that Trump’s move at the very least will keep the coal industry open for business and slow the job drain.
Trump’s executive order and new coal leases approved by the Interior Department will “prevent further job losses,” he said. Better yet, “at least our government is not against us.”
The National Mining Association noted that Obama’s policies cost 64,000 mining jobs and Trump’s action killing the Clean Power Plan would “save 27,700 high-wage coal mining jobs along with another 99,700 in the coal supply chain including railroad workers, machinists, mechanics, truckers and other occupations that depend on coal mining.”
Mining country lawmakers also dismissed suggestions that Trump’s action wouldn’t lead to new jobs. Montana Sen. Steve Daines told the Washington Examiner, “The Obama regulations created uncertainty — whether it’s halting federal coal leasing or wiping out Colstrip Power Plant with the EPA Power Plan. These actions will stop the hemorrhaging from the industry and move toward putting coal back on the starting block — and let the market dictate.”
He also said that with global energy demand expected to spike 84 percent between now and 2050, “America either leads and powers the world or lets more dangerous nations strengthen their hold.”
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