Last week, the president signed an executive order rescinding several Obama-era executive orders curbing climate change and regulating carbon emissions, lifting the moratorium on coal-mining on federal lands, and proposing other sweeping changes to current laws. Part of the order states:
“Accordingly, it is the policy of the United States that executive departments and agencies (agencies) immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.”
More information about this recent news can be found here (or in another news source of your liking, if you don’t like CNN). And the executive order can be found here (no other sites for that, I’m afraid).
Anyway, because this is a blog entry and not a news article, I would like to express my personal opinion that we are doing nothing to help people keep or gain jobs with this order. Coal is 1.) failing because other sources are outperforming it in the market, 2.) a major contributor to carbon in the atmosphere over other sources, and 3.) unsustainable as a substantial job source in the long-term because it is becoming increasingly mechanized.
I’m not an economist, but can’t we work on shifting production jobs for clean energy back into the US if they aren’t already here and to communities that are largely reliant upon coal mining? Isn’t there some other solution that can benefit the short and long-term health of these communities? I know this costs money, but given the multitude of other things we as a country are spending on, I think that something with an immediate and beneficial impact, like job training, tax incentives, and subsidies would go a lot further in keeping a promise to communities that rely on coal for their livelihoods. Right now, we will do nothing. In the next several years, I question if anyone will be better off in the economy or environment because of this executive order.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has a summary information page about coal and air pollution: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/coal-and-other-fossil-fuels/coal-air-pollution#.WOP3L28rKM8
These two articles are an interesting perspective on coal: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-28/can-trump-truly-revive-coal-jobs-and-industry-quicktake-q-a