When Trump’s ‘war on coal’ is ‘racist,’ so is his war on African Americans
The president is still on message about the importance of fighting climate change, but he’s also pushing to cut a new $100 billion-a-year fund for developing clean energy and for coal mining.
The White House says the money will help “create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and help America move away from fossil fuels.”
The fund will fund the construction of a coal mine in West Virginia, the construction and maintenance of a new coal-fired power plant in Kentucky and other projects, and the leasing of coal mines to private companies.
The president’s climate change policies are already hurting Appalachia, where the coal industry has been battered by climate change and climate change denial.
Last week, the U.S. Forest Service reported that the region’s forests are shrinking at an alarming rate, with more than a third of the region in the state now under severe threat.
The Forest Service said that more than 1.5 million acres of land have been lost since the 1980s and that there’s a 75 percent chance of losing another 1.3 million acres in the next 30 years.
The state’s Appalachian Regional Commission, which represents the region, estimates the region will lose more than $100 million in annual revenue from coal by 2030, with coal-related jobs in the region at “record levels.”
But Trump is not just pushing to save the coal mining industry.
He is also proposing to cut the Appalachian Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which funds projects like the coal mine.
The initiative, which was launched in 1990 to help mitigate climate change by reducing CO2 emissions from coal power plants, was created to help states “meet their emissions reductions goals without increasing greenhouse gas emissions,” according to a statement from the president’s transition team.
The administration says the coal program is vital to Appalachia’s future, because it allows coal mining companies to invest in projects that help the region stay green and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
In its statement, the transition team noted that the program has helped the region reduce greenhouse gas pollution by more than 30 percent compared with 1990 levels.
But Trump has also proposed cutting the funds for the Appalachian region, which includes many of the most heavily populated Appalachian counties.
His administration has proposed to slash funding for the program by 25 percent, and to eliminate a third fund that provides grants to “advance renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean energy solutions.”
It also proposes to slash the Appalachian Energy and Environment Initiative by 25% and eliminate a second fund that offers grants to develop alternative energy technologies.
The proposal has also called for reducing the Appalachian Renewable Energy Initiative by 60 percent.
According to the Appalachian Resources Institute, “The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the renewable energy funding program are one of the largest reductions in federal assistance for renewable energy investment in decades, resulting in an average loss of more than one-third of the funds to the fund in a single year.”
The Trump administration also plans to eliminate funding for a regional coal development center that provides jobs and economic opportunities to local communities.
A White House spokesperson said in a statement that the president wants to focus on economic development, including energy security, infrastructure, job creation, and protecting the environment.
The new funds will be administered by the Department of Energy, which is tasked with developing a new Energy Independence and Security Plan that would “enhance energy independence, secure our energy supplies, promote economic growth and create jobs across the nation,” the transition website states.
The announcement comes after a number of major coal companies have announced plans to abandon coal and move toward cleaner, renewable energy sources.
The industry has also seen the rise of the so-called clean coal movement, which advocates for the removal of coal-burning power plants and the creation of new clean energy industries.
In February, a new report found that more people are actively working in clean energy than in coal.
In August, the New York Times reported that companies including Enron and Royal Dutch Shell were cutting ties with the coal sector.
Coal companies have also been working with coal companies in the past to avoid environmental regulations.
In May, Trump announced a moratorium on new coal leases and proposed to give states the ability to determine whether coal mines are in the national interest.
In September, the Trump administration proposed a $1.5 trillion cut to the Department for Energy, including a $300 billion increase in the Appalachian regional Greenhouse Energy Initiative fund.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the president said, “We will be putting our energy back into the American economy, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, protecting the air and water and helping the poor.”