coal mining

Trump, air pollution, and the big lie about coal jobs

WHEN PRESIDENT Trump signed a new executive order seeking to curb the enforcement of regulations on climate change, he said it was in an effort to save American jobs in the coal industry.

In reality, an executive order is not nearly enough to curb the losses coal has faced. For coal jobs to make a comeback, corporate interests would have to stop automating miners out of their jobs. The abundant natural gas that resulted from more exploration under the Obama administration would have to dry up. Renewable energy’s soaring popularity would have to take a nosedive.

None of that is likely to happen, and the coal industry knows it. Oh, yes, the 25 coal miners who attended Tuesday’s signing might get jobs, the global warming skeptics in the Trump administration will do a happy dance, and corporate coal interests will see profits surge because they won’t have to outfit their coal-burning power plants to protect our air. But the rest of us will get what we’ve always gotten in America: an environmental class war.

That’s because environmental dangers are more likely to be concentrated in communities populated by the impoverished and people of color.

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Photo: Coal Mining: by Parolon Harahap/Flickr Creative Commons

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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon.

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