Energy

Bloomberg Boasts Again About Closing Coal Plants As Big Coal’s Troubles Mount Despite Trump’s Promises

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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg bragged during an Arkansas rally Thursday about helping to shutter hundreds of coal power plants, marking the second time in a month he’s made such a claim.

“In New York City, we cut the carbon footprint by 13 percent,” Bloomberg said at the rally. “I’ve helped replace 304 dirty coal-fired power plants with cleaner energy.”

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The former Republican doubled down on a similar remark he made during the Feb. 18 debate in Nevada.

“Already we’ve closed 304 out of the 530 coal-fired power plants in the United States, and we’ve closed 80 out of the 200 or 300 that are in Europe, Bloomberg Philanthropies working with the Sierra Club,” Bloomberg said at the debate, referencing the work of his nonprofit.

Bloomberg has plowed roughly $150 million into a project called Beyond Coal, which is connected to the closure of nearly 300 plants.

Such campaigns result in job losses across the country. Illinois shed an estimated 195 jobs in August 2019 after three plants closed in the state.

President Donald Trump, for his part, pledged during his 2016 presidential campaign to end what he called former President Barack Obama’s war on the coal industry.

He has indeed rolled back many of his Democratic predecessor’s regulations, but the coal industry is still in decline. Trump’s deregulatory glee has not come without some hiccups.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is among a handful of attorneys general who are suing the administration to block Trump from easing restriction on power plants. (RELATED: More Than 50 Coal Companies Have Been Wiped Out Since Trump’s 2016 Victory)

James, a Democrat, argues the administration had no basis for weakening a regulation Obama brought in 2015 that placed limits on carbon dioxide pollution from coal plants. The so-called Clean Power Plan required states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2022.

Obama’s rule was expected to force more coal power plants and mines to close down, costing thousands of jobs in the process.

Nearly 40% of coal-fired power capacity had been retired or scheduled to retire as a result of market forces, technological change and an increase in regulations, according to some experts.

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