'Just Mining Is Not Going to Create Jobs in the Long Run,' Interior Official Says

President-elect Donald Trump should go witness first-hand the effects of coal mining in Appalachia before embarking on his plans to ramp up coal production and scrub environmental regulations, a high-ranking Interior Department official tells Bloomberg BNA.

abandoned coal mine tressle

(An abandoned railroad trestle crosses a Harlan County creek near Closplint, Ky. in 2013. Along Kentucky’s jagged eastern edge the cheapest, easiest coal to mine was carved out decades ago. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

 “He’s got another couple of months before he is sworn in. I would ask him to go to coal country to see the abandoned mine lands,” said Joseph Pizarchik, director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

abandoned coal mine tunnel

(An abandoned coal conveyor that once moved coal at a U.S. steel mine in Harlan County rusts in the woods in Lynch, Ky. in 2013. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Pizarchik says the real problem isn’t regulations. The real problem is that coal isn’t the cheapest energy option. Competition from natural gas has helped put some 60 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants out of service permanently over the last five years.

abandoned coal mine strewn

(Remnants of an abandoned coal mine stands on Black Mountain on the border of Kentucky and Virginia near Lynch, Ky., in 2013. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Stephen Lee has the story in Interior Official to Trump: Go See Devastation in Coal Country.