Coal Miners Refuse To Learn New Job Skills, Put Faith In Trump

Many coal miners in southern Pennsylvania are refusing training in other industries, and instead are depending on President Donald Trump to revive the coal industry, which has been in decline since the 1970s.

According to Reuters, only 120 people in two counties dominated by coal have showed up for Obama-era federally-funded job retraining courses.

While coal miners are resisting retraining in new industries, new companies don’t want to move to southern Pennsylvania without trained workers.

Mike Sylvester went to a career training center earlier this year, but chose a coal-mining course:

I think there is a coal comeback. I have a lot of faith in President Trump.

Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote in The New York Times in March:

I was struck by Trump’s continued insistence that he’s going to bring back coal jobs. This says something remarkable both about him and about the body politic.

He is not, of course, going to bring back coal mining as an occupation. Coal employment’s plunge began decades ago, driven mainly by the switch to strip mining and mountaintop removal.

A partial revival after the oil crises of the 70s was followed by a renewed downturn (under Reagan!), with fracking and cheap gas mainly delivering the final blow. Giving coal companies new freedom to pollute streams and utilities freedom to destroy the planet won’t make any noticeable dent in the trend.

Trump has promised to roll back environmental regulations that cut back pollution, and is repealing Obama-era limits on carbon emissions from power plants.

A White House official and coal companies refused to comment.

(Source: Reuters, The New York Times, Photo Credit: America’s Power/Flickr)

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