Donald Trump has made no secret of the fact that he’s a big fan of coal. In fact, that’s part of what put him over the top in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
And while critics say that coal’s days are over — that natural gas and renewables are the wave of the future — the coal industry is showing signs that it’s not dead quite yet.
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau released last week shows that coal had its most profitable quarter in two years, according to CNS News.
The bureau, which has tracked coal profits and losses since 2000, reported that coal mining concerns with more than $50 million in assets took in after-tax profits of $1.957 billion.
As for the same period last year, under the Obama administration, coal companies in the same category racked up $27.075 billion in losses. That’s a pretty significant turnaround.
In fact, coal companies hadn’t posted a profit in that category since the third quarter of 2014, when they managed to earn a healthy $10.258 billion.
Of course, it only took one quarter to hit losses of $17.057 billion, and the coal industry’s fortunes bottomed out with a loss of $84.023 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015. That made last week’s Census Bureau report some pretty good news for the coal industry — and it only got better from there…
The Census Bureau report came on the same week as a major mine opening in Pennsylvania — one that Trump not only touted on his Twitter account but managed to show up for via video link.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune, the Acosta Mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania was the Corsa Coal Company’s first new mine in six years. The mine will likely be a boon for a struggling county that voted 3-to-1 for Trump last November; according to Fox News, the company said 400 people applied for the 70 positions that the mine has created.
In addition to mentioning the opening on Twitter, the president appeared via a video link during the opening ceremony — on the day former FBI Director James Comey had the nation’s capital riveted by his testimony in the Senate, no less.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be speaking with you on this great, great day. The miners of Pennsylvania are mining coal again,” the president told the audience.
“Washington may be 180 miles down the road, but I want you to know each and every day I’m fighting for you and all the forgotten men and women of America,” he added.
The speech was part of what the White House dubbed “Infrastructure Week,” a push to gain support for the president’s $1 trillion infrastructure initiative.
The day before, during a speech in Cincinnati, the president said the plan would bring similar prosperity to all of American industry.
“The theft of American prosperity has come to a screeching halt and a new era of American greatness is about to begin,” the president said before an audience of coal miners, steel workers, farmers and other industrial types, according to Fox News.
“It is time to recapture our legacy as a nation of builders — and to create new lanes of travel, commerce and discovery that will take us into the future.”
It’s a bit early to determine whether the plan will have the desired effect, but we’ve already seen some optimism in the coal field. Will that translate to American industry as a whole? We’re going to have to wait and see.
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Source: Conservative Tribune