Somebody should have been straight with the coal miners Donald Trump wooed during the presidential election. After months of Trump promising that they?d be working again mining coal, one of his top economic aides now says that coal ?doesn?t make sense anymore.?
Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, talked up other energy sources and seemed to throw in the towel on coal as he spoke with reporters aboard Air Force One Thursday night.
?Coal doesn?t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock,? he said, CNN Money reported. Feedstock refers to what?s used to produce energy. Cohn called natural gas a ?such a cleaner fuel,? and pointed out that America has become an ?abundant producer? of natural gas.
He also praised renewable energy. ?If you think about how solar and how much wind power we?ve created in the United States, we can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly,? Cohn said.
Cohn was a million miles away from Trump?s campaign chorus about bringing back coal. ?Miners … get ready because you?re going to be working your asses off,? Trump said at a campaign speech a year ago.
And in March Trump declared at a ceremony in the White House flanked by miners: ?We will put our miners back to work. My administration is putting an end to the war on coal. We?re going to have clean coal, really clean coal.?
Statistics have shown that coal began losing jobs long before any environmental restrictions imposed by the Obama administration ? contradicting Trump?s claims ? because it?s not economically competitive with other energy sources.
?The market conditions are not there,? Dan Bucks, a coal policy expert and former director of revenue for the coal-producing state of Montana, told The Huffington Post in March. ?Federal policy is only one variable, and market conditions are the larger factor.?
Coal mining accounted for some 65,000 jobs in the U.S. in 2015, according to government statistics. Estimates of the number of renewable energy jobs in the U.S. vary, but are conservatively believed to be in the hundreds of thousands.
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