Donald Trump Saves the Coal Industry!

The LA Times tells the story today of a coal-fired power plant in Homer City, Pennsylvania:

“Everyone gets concerned when they wake up and don’t see smoke coming out,” said Rob Nymick, manager of the 1,700-resident borough that he says will be economically “crushed” if the plant goes dark.

….The plant remains an albatross to investors, and a source of increasing anxiety to the hundreds of Pennsylvanians who rely on it for their livelihood. It is likely to remain a loser financially no matter how far Trump goes in rolling back regulations.

“I’m not sold on the fact that the war on coal is putting that power plant out of business,” said Nymick, pointing to struggles to compete with cheaper natural gas, solar and wind energy. “You don’t know what to believe or who to believe.”

This is all true. And yet, oddly enough, Trump has missed a chance to boast about what he’s done for the coal industry. Check out this chart:

In reality, this blip is meaningless. Coal mining employment has experienced four substantial upward bounces since 2000 even as overall employment stayed flat during the whole period. But that’s never stopped Trump before, so what’s the problem this time? The proposal of the Clean Power Plan in 2014 really does seem to be associated with a big drop in coal employment, and that drop stopped in mid-2016 and then turned around when Trump was elected: employment in the coal mining industry has risen from 50,000 to 52,000 since November.

Coincidence? Who cares! Given all the other nonsense Trump brags about, how is it that he’s missed bragging about this?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest