The Republican National Convention paid a lot of lip service to US coal in general, and the coal state of West Virginia in particular, but it seems that words are all the industry can expect from a Donald Trump administration. The Republican candidate for President already has oil-and-gas fan Kevin Cramer (R – North Dakota) on his energy advisory team, and last week he was rumored to be eyeballing fracking mogul Harold Hamm for Energy Secretary.
Cramer dug the knife in a little deeper in an interview last week. He dropped more than a few hints last week that a Trump administration will give free rein to the natural gas marketplace, and leave coal twisting in the wind.
The Appalachian coal state of West Virginia has emerged as a hotspot for Republican votes, and RNC 2016 planners rewarded its delegates with juicy front-row seating and a prime-time speaking slot for West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito.
Capito nailed both President Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for killing off coal jobs in West Virginia. Industry analysts, though, widely agree that the real culprit behind the loss of coal jobs is the shale gas fracking boom, which has followed a decades-long trend toward mechanization in the coal industry.
Clinton in particular took a lot of heat:
The only thing we can trust Hillary to do is to double down on the same failed Obama policies that are hurting Americans that I just described.
We know she will double down on an economic agenda that’s led to the lowest workforce participation in decades.
We know that she will double down on the war on coal.
Capito assured Republican voters — and particularly, West Virginian voters — that Trump would come to the rescue:
We must carry this momentum to elect Donald Trump who speaks directly to Americans who have been devastated by the Obama administration. West Virginians know he understands their problems, shares their concerns and by golly is going to do things much differently.