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Trump can't bring back coal jobs, but he can reward coal companies

It doesn’t matter how much faith coal workers put in Donald Trump: coal jobs are not coming back. The continued availability of natural gas and the general economics of coal plants have cause more than 300 plants to close in the last decade. Without those plants, there is simply nowhere to burn additional coal. And no one—no one—is building a new coal burning plant.

But just because Donald Trump stiffed every coal miner with his false promises doesn’t mean he can’t deliver for the owners of coal mines. In particular, Trump can allow streams to be destroyed despite regulations that were supposed to protect them.

The Stream Protection Rule revisions would be one more piece of the conservation puzzle. The original regulations, enacted more than 30 years ago, were intended to protect streams and their ecosystems from waste discharged during coal mining operations.

But those rules have fallen short, because rulings made in the 1980s allowed mine waste to be dumped in streams as “fill.” Multiple attempts have been made to alter this ruling, including very specific changes that were supported by Democrats in the House and Senate for more than a decade. President Obama is using the rules built into the Clean Water Act itself to finally close this loophole. But Trump could force it back open.

The revised rule has remained in bureaucratic limbo for months, and now some activists are worried the delays will make it easy for Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress to stop it from going into effect. 

Trump can't bring back coal jobs, but he can reward coal companies

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