Posted by 03 December 2019
Dan Brouillette, the new Energy Secretary, says that he has orders from the White House to find ways to help the U.S. coal industry.
President Trump campaigned on a pro-coal platform during his 2016 run for the White House. Since taking office, he has often talked about the importance of coal and has directed federal officials to find ways to increase coal use.
Secretary Brouillette has received orders from the White House to find different ways to utilize coal. It is unclear what the federal government can do to accomplish this. The Trump Administration had floated an initiative in the past that would essentially subsidize coal production and use, but this failed to gain traction.
The U.S. coal industry has been struggling in recent years due to a variety of factors. It is facing criticism from environmentalists due to coal’s carbon emissions, which experts link to climate change. Coal had long been the dominant source for generating electricity, but in recent years its use has been declining. Some of that is due to environmental concerns, but it is also being undercut by the increasing use of natural gas. Coal is more expensive to use than natural gas, so coal plants are shutting down as natural as plants are being built.
Supporters of coal, such as President Trump, hail its mining for creating good-paying jobs. They also say that it provides a source of reliable electricity, something that wind or solar cannot do. Critics argue that it’s time to move away from a dirty fuel source.
The Senate confirmed Brouillette to be Secretary of Energy by a 70-15 vote this week. He takes over from Rick Perry, who resigned earlier this year.
Do you think the U.S. government should take actions to boost the coal industry?