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Will Donald Trump’s pro-coal policies put miners’ lives at risk?

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Fabelhaft in reply to guest-omnnmei

Enjoy your low cost non-US natural gas. It's costing us fortunes in subsides to frack the stuff we're (US) getting out of the ground, and we're not sure how much of it there is. Put in a good word for us (US) with the Russians -- if you know any. Tell them the American people are innocent of their US geopolitical-bluster, and to keep influencing as many US elections as they can.

Fabelhaft in reply to guest-omnnmei

Do you live in US? If you do, everytime you turn on the stove -- if gas, say a quick prayer. If electric and the electricity is generated by gas, say a longer prayer. Either; but before saying amen, thank the Lord for coal.

Fabelhaft in reply to JayB3

The Progressives attack on coal is political; it slows the demand for alternative (Progressive industries) energies. It will be unhealthy, dangerous, inefficient, whatever is convenient to channel BTU dollars, out of what are lowest per cost BTU, to their industries friends.The quest to develop other sources as a fall back to dependence on finite sources, is the only good in the Progressive scam to grab cash for their friends. With all the printed money about, they'll be looking for ways to 'mandate' funneling into their coffers.

rusholmeruffian

Nobody wants Appalachian or Illinois Basin coal, and nobody's going to unless the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments are repealed by Congress--which isn't going to happen. Powder River Basin coal has much lower manpower requirements to extract and power plants burning it don't need scrubbers (which are expensive and frequently break down) to operate. Even if this insane proposed Department of Energy rule that would reward power plants for having 90 days of fuel on site (which even most coal-fired generators don't have--average stockpiles are 50-70 days, and low railroad rates have made even smaller stockpiles possible) were somehow to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and then make it through litigation (both exceptionally improbable), PRB coal would eat up almost all of the additional demand.

What happened in 2017 is that there were some dead cat bounces in prices for metallurgical coal (the collapse in the demand for which is as big a factor in the poor health of coal mining firms as fracked natural gas), which led met coal mine owners to ramp up production in existing mines. Met coal almost exclusively is mined underground. The more hours you have people in an underground mine and the more coal you pull out of it, the more people are going to die in accidents; it's an inevitable hazard of the business and the principal reason that coal miners make as much money as they do for a relatively low-skill job.

John Eh....

There does seem to be a perverse logic in making mining Appalachian coal more economical by reducing safety standards. As miners fall prey to mining hazards, the number of miners seeking a rather fixed number of jobs will be reduced. Assuming the jobs remain and enough miners are eliminated, Appalachian mines would inevitably see full employment again. America will be greater again (?), and the number of unemployed underground miners will be diminished as will the total number of living, able-bodied miners. I do have some serious doubts that this is the solution miners and their families seek, but it is a solution of sorts none the less.

gGQBfnCAym in reply to California Man

They hate Jeremy Corbyn and The Economist has never supported socialism. But it's true that elements of the far left fetishise heavy industry, which gives them something in common with Trump. But I would be more interested in how pointing out that the coal regulator is getting rid of a regulation protecting miners from black lung equates to being a socialist. Or your views on the substantive points made about health and safety, and why removing them would be a good idea.

BLURR

On so many files, TRUMP has adopted the position that whatever was done before needs to swept aside, and so many of his appointees are basically given the task of dismantling rather than building or rebuilding. The consequences of this strategy are not being considered but in terms of coal, TRUMP is flogging a product that no one wants and that has no market. I feel for the coal mining communities but their future is likely not going to be rosy but more bleak: few jobs will appear as production, if any, can be ramped up just through automation, with fewer checks those working may be exposed to more risks and with the destruction of healthcare other problems will appear.

guest-lwoooin

If the language used by 'JaB3' and 'omnnmei' to simply hurl childish insults at each other (assuming they even understand each other which may not be the case), is what passes for discourse in the USA, then one can see why that nation's position in the world is dropping. Little or no attempt to justify or substantiate the insults whoops I mean statements made.

Looking impassively, it does seem that the USA has problems, very largely of its own making. For decades at least It has paid itself too much, expected too much. Whilst its competitors (such as China) are not, one could argue, very nice people, those competotors have a right and responsibilty to improve the lot of their own people (although in part they go about it in a not-very-nice way that puts the US's nose out of joint). Net result is US imports from its competitors the goods it's failed to produce itself. As apart of this coal is becoming an outdated fuel for environmental reasons and, when it is rquired, increasingly mined using technology not people. One has great sympathy for the pople in 'rust belt' and old mining areas.

And the poor people of the USA have been failed by its political syatem. The Democrats (who perhaps should be looking after manual / 'working class' people totally failed to do so (certainly not H Clinton), and so they voted for a smart but illiterate/ ignorant snake oil salesman (has orange hair I believe) who somehow conned them into thinking he was their salvation. The few (very few) reasonable things now being done by the salesman (eg reducing the 30% corporation tax - altho' he's gone far too far) don't tel., us he's smart; anybody could do it; they tell us how stupid (and self regarding) the rest of the US political establishment is. Is there any hope it'll change?

guest-omnnmei

The notion that a silver spoon, spoiled brat who inherited his money, and scammed ordinary folks with a fake university is going to look out of ordinary workers is laughable.
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The sad thing is many of these miners probably voted for the orange face a'hole. I wonder if they'll be so stupid the second time around.

guest-nomijsa

The Trump administration’s rollback of workplace health and safety rules is taking place at the same time that the rate of deaths per 100,000 workers is slowly increasing, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 4,500 workers in the United States die on the job each year.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) proposed a three-month delay in the effective date of a rule designed to improve miners’ safety and health. The rule required certain mine operators to conduct workplace inspections to identify hazards before work begins in an area, notify miners of hazardous conditions that are not corrected, and record the work sites examined, the adverse conditions found, and the date of each corrective action taken. Under Trump, MSHA is facing a $3 million cut to its budget on top of a previous $8 million cut. This budget decrease will reduce the number of safety inspection in U.S. coal mines by nearly 25 percent.

The Trump Administration view is exemplified by the following quote: “People are designed to deal with dust. People are in dusty environments all the time and it doesn’t kill them.” The lungs have a mechanism to grab onto silica dust and physiological evidence suggests the lungs of workers can handle the current limit set in 1971,

gGQBfnCAym in reply to California Man

They hate Jeremy Corbyn and The Economist has never supported socialism. But it's true that elements of the far left fetishise heavy industry, which gives them something in common with Trump. But I would be more interested in how pointing out that the coal regulator is getting rid of a regulation protecting miners from black lung equates to being a socialist. Or your views on the substantive points made about health and safety, and why removing them would be a good idea.

Tokarian in reply to gGQBfnCAym

Good points and well worth repeating in the hope that California Man will grasp the gist of it. I never cease to be amazed by the capacity of some Economist readers to grasp the wrong end of the stick. I wonder sometimes if some of the comments are generated by machines in response to certain stimulus words in the original text, a bit like the machine - written text featured in TE end-of-year double issue.

guest-omnnmei in reply to JayB3

Talking about laughable - your parroting of Faux News bullshit is right up there.

JayBZero, you voted for the orange faced idiot who was a game show host, right? Hey, sucker, Putin tooled your ass. You've eaten so much of Sean S for Brains Insannity's bulls--t you're parroting the Faux News party line. Just one example of your ignorance, clueless fool: unemployment was already low when Putin put his puppet in the White House. The stock market had been roaring upward under Obama for years. Your Fake News bogeyman Obama who haunts your Deep State of mindlessness left office far more popular than serial lying Orange Asshole entered it.
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Obama's unrelenting assault on on the Constitution and rule of law? Really? Here's how I punk Faux News and Putin dupes, idiot boy: I make them come up with facts. Here goes Sean Insannity parrot:
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State four examples of Obama's purported assaults on the Constitution and cite in proper legal citation form the corresponding federal court cases declaring the "assault(s)" to be unconstitutional. I'll wait, punk.
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Dumpista, Putin is going to tool your uninformed gullible ass again in 2020. You're that stupid. You'll get duped again.
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Trumputin 2020 -- the Kremlin's choice.