Over the last two years, President Trump has made every effort to rescue America’s ailing coal industry, opening public lands to mining, weakening limits on pollution, and potentially eliminating protections for miners. It hasn’t worked. Utilities continue to shutter coal-fired power plants, and mining firms continue to shed workers.
Desperate to throw a lifeline to the coal sector, the administration has considered directly subsidizing coal in the name of national security. Coal-fired power plants, they say, are essential to grid security, as they are uniquely able to withstand a cyber attack or a natural disaster and continue to generate power on demand. But as experts have pointed out, nothing could be further from the truth. As it happens, locally sourced renewable power, not coal, promises the most resilience in the face of a catastrophe.