President Donald Trump will sign several executive orders that will effectively undo a great deal of former President Barack Obama’s efforts to destroy the coal industry in what he deemed was critical to combating climate change.
The ultimate goal of the executive order is to put American jobs above environmental protection and tighten the Environmental Protection Agency’s focus on air and water while rolling back Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which implemented in 2015.
A White House official familiar with Trump’s latest executive order said the Trump administration believes the government can both “serve the environment and increase energy independence at the same time.”
Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Scott Pruitt praised Trump’s order as a potential boon for the economy that will free large corporations from being restrained under rules designed to protect the environment.
“For too long, over the last several years, we have accepted a narrative that if you’re pro-growth, pro-jobs, you’re anti-environment; if you’re pro-environment, you’re anti-jobs or anti-growth,” Pruitt told ABC News. “We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment. And the executive order will address the past administration’s efforts to kill jobs across this country through the Clean Power Plan.”
“It’s going to create jobs in the oil and gas sector,” Pruitt told Fox News. “For too long, over the last several years, you’ve had certain industries, certain sectors of our economy that were within the crosshairs of the EPA.”
He added: “That is not going to happen anymore.”
But there does appear to be some roadblocks in the way for Trump to completely undo Obama’s Clean Power Plan initative.
“Undoing the rule will not be straightforward,” said Notre Dame professor Bruce Huber, according to the BBC. “For the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reverse course, it will have to propose a new rule, with all the lengthy procedures that entails. When President George W. Bush tried to reverse course on some of President Clinton’s signature environmental regulations, those efforts took years and were not entirely successful.”
And there are some jobs that don’t appear to be coming back en masse, not matter what type of deregulation Trump delivers.
For example, the coal industry has been decimated by lack of demand for the energy source in favor of other forms of energy.
Former State Department climate adviser Andrew Light, who now works for the World Resources Institute, told BBC that both of his grandfathers were coal miners, but that his grandchildren shouldn’t expect to follow in their forebears’ footsteps.
“They were paid by the tonne for the coal they pulled out of the ground, but those jobs are gone, and technology has moved beyond that and I hope it’s the case that voters in the coal states will recognize that their jobs aren’t magically coming back because of this executive order,” Light said.