Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2018

Currently: 80° — Complete forecast

Letter to the editor:

Coal industry can’t be saved

Despite the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, neither EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt nor the Trump administration can save the coal industry.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that the repeal will not necessarily bring back coal jobs.

In 2008, coal-fired plants generated 50 percent of all U.S. electricity; today that number has dropped to 30 percent.

The decline of coal is largely due to the rise of cheap natural gas, in addition to wind and solar energy projects.

The Clean Power Plan was yet to be implemented when it was repealed. Nonetheless, due to market forces coal-fired generated electricity could drop by more than 20 percent over the next 15 years according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Already, of the currently operating 706 turbines at coal plants, 163 of them are set to be either retired or converted to natural gas by 2030.

Saving the coal industry has often been equated to saving jobs, but mechanization long ago replaced the jobs of many coal miners. In 1980 the coal industry employed 228,000 workers; today that number has fallen to 50,400.

Rolling back environmental protections does not save jobs, it simply harms our environment and slows down improvements in our energy infrastructure.