Energy

Trump Declares The ‘War On Coal’ Officially Over In First SOTU Speech

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
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President Donald Trump touted his ending of the “war on coal” during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

“In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history,” Trump said in his first SOTU address.

“We have ended the war on American Energy — and we have ended the war on clean coal,” Trump said. “We are now an exporter of energy to the world.”

Trump has made “energy dominance” a central part of his economic agenda, rolling back Obama-era regulations and offering up more public lands and waters for energy exploration.

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Shortly after taking office, Trump signed legislation to repeal an Obama-era mining rule, and he also issued an executive order rescinding a moratorium on federal coal leases.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reviewed several regulations expected to hamper coal industry growth, including rescinding the Clean Power Plan (CPP). EPA said repealing the CPP would cut $33 billion in compliance costs.

The coal industry experienced a slight recovery in 2017, largely due to an uptick in exports abroad. However, analysts said Trump’s deregulatory efforts “brightened” coal industry prospects.

“Measures introduced by the Federal government provided optimism to the sector,” the International Energy Agency reported. “Some regulations were reviewed and the financial environment for coal mining improved. The country’s first new coal mine since 2011 was opened in May and other projects were announced.”

Trump also referenced booming energy exports in his speech. The U.S. has exported energy for decades, but it’s only in recent years that the country has gotten close to being a “net” exporter of energy.

The U.S. became a net natural gas exporter for the first time in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Oil exports are on the rise as well, and are expected to to continue to increase.

EIA projected the U.S. becoming a net exporter of all energy as early as 2020, depending on the price of oil and economic growth.

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