Daryl Fear reports (“Last minute rule to make coal industry cleaner met with praise, criticism”) on p. 4 of the Washington Post, Tuesday, December 20, 2016, that the Obama administration has promulgated an old rule that requires surface mine operators to restore land to its original contour after mining is finished. This could prove challenging in mountainous areas, like in southern West Virginia or eastern Kentucky where “mountaintop removal” has been widely practiced.
I could not find the story on the Washington Post site, but there was an image copy on pressreader this morning, here.
Is this a regulation that Donald Trump will try to repeal on Day One?
Underground coal mine jobs (which are very dangerous to start with) have been phased out as surface mining requires fewer workers. Furthermore, utilities, following normal free market incentives, are tending to switch to natural gas (the “Pickens Plan”) as cleaner and cheaper. Trump has talked about bringing back “clean coal”. Decentralization of the power grid (for national security reasons) is cheaper with renewable forms or possibly even with small underground fission reactors (Taylor Wilson) than with older fuels like coal. Trump should wake up to this.
Picture: From new Rt 48 on eastern edge of coal country in W Va, W of Moorefield (mine, July), 2016).
Update: Dec, 21
But Obama can make his removal of offshore (Atlantic and Arctic) lands from future federal leases stick, CNBC story.