Capitol Comments

Climate Adaptation

Twenty-Three regulators and legislators from around the country attended the CSG “Building Relationships Between Regulators and Legislators” Policy Academy on September 13-15 in Washington DC. The policy academy provided a forum for state regulators and legislators to engage and collaborate with each other on energy resource planning. In addition to participating in breakout discussions, attendees heard from representatives of the electric utility industry, industry associations, academics, think tank researchers, and others about...

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced on Monday that the Trump Administration would begin the official process of rolling back the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which limits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Speaking at an event in eastern Kentucky, he said, “Here’s the President’s message: The war on coal is over.”

The CPP would have required states to devise plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The plan gave states specific targets for reducing...

Climate Adaptation

Three major hurricanes have hit Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico recently and the damage was far extensive than had been planned for. The unprecedented catastrophic disasters are projected to have stunning price tags—anywhere from $65 billion to $190 billion for Harvey, $50 billion to $100 billion for Irma, and $40 to $80...

The coal industry has been on a bumpy ride in recent years. The industry has seen a wave of bankruptcies and mine closures in the face of falling demand and efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Jobs losses in the industry have led to economic devastation in already struggling communities across eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, and southwestern Virginia.

Bringing back coal mining jobs and reviving the coal industry is at the top of President Donald Trump’s energy agenda. But it is unclear whether the federal government has the power to disrupt a complex set of trends that have to do with market forces and technology, in addition to regulations.

This brief first looks at the current state of the U.S. coal industry. It then discusses a variety of trends that have impacted the coal industry over the past several decades as well as in the last few years. While environmental regulations have certainly played a part, this brief argues that there are other, likely stronger influences at work. The brief closes by discussing the outlook for coal’s future.