Coal mining is not coming back. Even coal companies admit that. The role of coal in energy production has largely been superseded by natural gas, and continues to diminish over time.
Many Trump voters in West Virginia and surrounds know this, but they still cling to their hopes that jobs will once again flow free in the land where coal was king.
And so today, Donald Trump went to the EPA and signed an executive order gutting President Obama's Clean Power Plan, the blueprint for making a shift from fossil fuels to renewables. Among other things, the new order permits coal mining on public lands.
At the EPA he did this. The agency tasked with protecting our water, our air, our environment. He signed the damned thing at the EPA.
Speaking to the coal miners flanking him, Trump said, “C’mon fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says? You’re going back to work.”
Except, they're not. Murray Energy founder and CEO warned just this week to temper expectations, because there's really no need for the expense of coal mining when they can just frack the hell out of everything for the gas.
Murray's no hero. He applauds the opportunity to make America the loser in the race toward green energy economies. Like Trump, he prefers to cede that ground to China and other countries while serving fossil fuel interests and donors here in this country. Murray told The Guardian, “We do not have a climate change or global warming problem, we have an energy cost problem."
No, we really don't have that problem either. What we have is a greed problem, and that greed has now determined that Trump will not lead, but instead will follow his Russian energy oligarch pals toward former greatness.
I cannot help but wonder whether his decision to gut these regulations was his consolation prize for failing so spectacularly on the effort to repeal the ACA. After all, if he couldn't kill Obama's signature legislation, perhaps his green policy initiatives were enough to assuage his burning hate for his predecessor.
Whatever the motive, America is no longer great. It no longer leads. Instead, it regresses and in the process, puts the whole country in danger. Actually, the whole planet.
That's not making America great again. It's making America uninhabitable, and along with it, most of the planet.
Editor's note: Please do visit the link in the caption under the image or just click here to see an artist's vision of what Trump is doing. It's a fabulous creation. Haunting and dystopian, but fabulous.