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Trump made reviving the coal industry, and the declining communities that depend upon its jobs, a central tenet in his presidential campaign and has rolled back Obama-era environmental regulations to give the industry a boost.
But the effort has had little impact on domestic demand for coal so far, with U.S. utilities still shutting coal-fired power plants and shifting to cheaper natural gas — moving toward a lower carbon future despite the direction the White House is plotting under Trump.
Unreleased full-year coal employment data from the Mining Health and Safety Administration shows total U.S. coal mining jobs grew by 771 to 54,819 during Trump’s first year in office, led by Central Appalachian states like West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania — where coal companies have opened a handful of new mining areas for shipment overseas.
“You know, West Virginia is doing fantastically well,” Trump told Reuters in an interview this week about the state, which gained 1,345 coal jobs last year, according to the data. “It’s great coal.”
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