Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took aim at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations targeting Ohio’s coal and steel industry Saturday, calling the agency a disaster.
“They are a complete disaster, we are going to change things around,” Trump said at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, ahead of the state’s March 15 primary.
“We have to protect your coal industry which is being decimated” by EPA regulations, he added. “And we have to protect your steel industry.”
Coal mines have been bleeding jobs recently, losing more than 7,500 jobs in the last year alone, according to federal data.
The slow bleed, according to energy insiders, is due primarily to a cornucopia of overarching EPA-administered regulations targeting the coal industry in the Appalachia area.
The increased regulations and rules are a result of efforts made by the Obama administration to get tough on the fossil fuel industry for supposedly contributing to so-called man-made global warming.
A study in April found the coal industry lost 50,000 jobs from 2008 to 2012 due to the regulations, as well as the advent of inexpensive natural gas.
The Appalachia area, which includes large portions of Ohio, has been crippled by natural gas and EPA regulations. President Barack Obama told NPR in an interview in December that opposition to his coal policies by people in the Appalachia is “perfectly legitimate.”
“If you are living in a town that historically has relied on coal and you see coal jobs diminishing, you probably are going to be more susceptible to the argument that I’ve been wiping out the economy in your area,” Obama said during the interview.
He added: “If somebody tells you that this is because of Obama’s war on coal, well, you know, that’s an argument you may be sympathetic to. And that’s perfectly legitimate.”
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