CHARLESTON, WV (By GLYNIS BOARD & BENNY BECKER & JEFF YOUNG & BECCA SCHIMMEL, WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING) — At a March ceremony to sign an executive order reversing Obama-era environmental regulations, coal miners were arranged on stage around President Donald Trump as he took up his pen.
“You know what it says, right?” Trump asked the miners. “You’re going back to work.”
From his campaign rallies to White House events, President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with coal miners and promised to restore their collapsed industry.
But despite a slight uptick in industry activity, most analysts do not forecast a large-scale reversal of the long, downward trend in coal production or employment. A recent Columbia University study explains why: The regulations Trump has targeted accounted for only a small part of the industry’s downturn, and larger market forces favor other fuel sources.