During a tour of the Mountain State last week, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said coal, and particularly coal-fired plants, will continue to play an important role in our nation’s future. The welcomed proclamation was the latest showing of support for coal by the Trump administration.
Perry, the former Republican governor of Texas, says the days of Washington pushing an anti-coal agenda at the expense of hard-working families in West Virginia are over.
“Having a diverse portfolio of all energy sources, including renewables, is important to this country,” Perry said. “Picking and choosing the few that fit your political philosophy is not good for America. The last eight years, we have seen an administration that was sometimes — I think they used their whole hand, not just their thumb — to affect the power portfolio of America. Those days are over. The people of West Virginia who are making their living in coal mines, running plants like these, they need to understand something. They have a friend in the White House.”
“One of the challenges we have because of the last eight years of a clear anti-coal administration in place is that other countries have moved forward with this technology,” Perry said. “Other countries are making advances in clean coal technology that we historically led the world in. We need to get that edge back.”
We agree. And we need more investments in clean-coal technology right here in the coalfields of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. One thing that is already helping is the Trump administration’s welcomed roll-back of Obama-era anti-coal rules.
One of the questions reporters asked Perry last week was how the administration could control market forces such as lower prices for shale gas. It is worth noting that a recent study from West Virginia University predicted that coal production in the Mountain State would continue to decline in the long-term.
“Here’s an economics lesson,” Perry answered. “Supply and demand. You put the supply out there and demand will follow that. The market decides which of these. They pick and choose. It’s really simple. All too often, in the last eight years, we’ve put our thumb on the economics scale.”