Donald Trump once again touted his lie about “clean coal” jobs as he outlined policy goals in a YouTube video.
In a 2:37 message on YouTube in which he presented the goals for the first 100 days of his administration, Trump repeated the elaborate fiction that became a common refrain in his campaign stump speeches: that he will bring back millions of coal jobs to the United States.
While Trump’s message did not mention solar or other renewable energy sources (which is telling by itself), the focus on returning to a fossil-fuel based economy is troubling. There is no indication yet about what he plans to do with a solar-energy industry that currently employs more people than coal, but his closest advisors are fossil-fuel executives.
After suggesting he wants the next generation of production to “happen right here in our great homeland — America,” he discussed taking the United States forward by going backward to a rapidly disappearing fossil-fuel-based economy.
“I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal,” Trump said. “[It will create] many millions of high-paying jobs. That’s what we want. That’s what we’ve been waiting for.”
What Trump referred to as “shale energy” is the extraction of natural gas through the process of hydraulic fracturing or, as it’s more commonly known, fracking. While fracking has provided an increase in natural gas production, lowering the price significantly, it is not without controversy.
Environmental activists have demanded for years access to the formula for the fluid used in the fracking process, which they claim poisons water tables and renders them unusable for drinking water. There are also allegations that it creates instability in the ground and causes earthquakes in places like Ohio and Oklahoma, where the practice is common.
As for Trump’s claim about “clean coal,” it hurts his case that there is no such thing. While some analysts suggest cleaner coal is possible, it likely won’t be ready for full-scale production until at least 2030, meaning bringing back “clean coal” jobs could be at least 14 years off — so far into the future that it won’t help the current deplorable job situation in coal country.
In contrast, re-training coal miners as solar installers is not only underway, but provides a much stronger and stable future for the former coal employees. Far from being a dying industry, the solar industry now employs more people in the United States than the coal industry.
But it appears the attempt to march backwards to fossil fuels has already begun. Oil and gas stocks are booming, and Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners combined in a $20 billion merger yesterday in what some analysts are calling the first energy merger of the Trump presidency.
See Trump’s “major policy speech:”