President Trump vowed to make “Coal Great Again” and restore the industrial heartland. But it seems as Trump’s many campaign promises to coal miners have been broken, as there’s hardly a peep from the administration about the imploding industry.
Take, for instance, a new report from A.P. News, that details how Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior, recorded its lowest coal cargo volumes in three decades during the 2019 shipping season.
Greg Nemet, a public affairs professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said coal shipments in the port have plunged as the demand for renewable energy has soared in recent years.
“It’s really a competition between coal, natural gas, and renewables. It’s cheaper to make electricity with natural gas and with solar,” Nemet said. “Coal really can’t compete with either of those.”
A.P. said 8 million tons of coal moved through the Twin Ports, the lowest volume since 1985.
U.S. coal production has plunged from 1.2 billion tons in 2008 to 597 million last year. Despite Trump’s promises to revive the industry, production continues to decline.
Trump was silent last year after a significant bankruptcy wave devastated the industry.
Deteriorating coal industry fundamentals and escalating environmental, social and governance concerns, led to the recent bankruptcy of Peabody, the world’s largest coal producer.
Trump routinely pumped the coal industry, calling it “indestructible” and telling everyone on social media that “coal is back.” Here he is in 2017 famously telling people that “We are going to put our coal miners back to work.”
And to make matters worse for miners, the Trump administration isn’t about saving the industry:
“Coal as a percentage of U.S. electricity generation is declining and will probably continue to decline for some time,” Sec. Dan Brouillette told the Atlantic Council. “The effort that we’re undertaking is not to subsidize the industry and preserve their status, if you will, as a large electricity generator. It is simply to make the product cleaner and to look for alternative uses for this product.”
The hopes of a coal rebound were all for election purposes. The industry is imploding, as it’s clear that, according to Trump, the stock market is more important than the real economy.