Coal Country Is Dying. All Trump Has Are Lies.

Anyone who values the truth knew that Donald Trump was lying when he promised to bring back coal jobs. But to get an idea of just how badly he’s betrayed those who put their faith in him, take a look at this recent report:

More U.S. coal-fired power plants were shut in President Donald Trump’s first two years than were retired in the whole of Barack Obama’s first term, despite the Republican’s efforts to prop up the industry to keep a campaign promise to coal-mining states.

The trajectory going forward doesn’t look any better.

The reason for the decline has been obvious to most people for a long time.

Cheap natural gas and the rising use of renewable power like solar and wind have kept electric prices relatively low for years, making it uneconomic for generators to keep investing in older coal and nuclear plants.

If Trump actually gave a damn about coal miners, he would have done what Hillary Clinton proposed and invested $30 million to help displaced miners by securing their health care and pension benefits, offering tax credits and job training, and pouring economic development money into coal mining regions. Instead, the president continues his lies and does nothing. Whether out of ignorance, complacency, or malice, the end result is that communities continue to suffer.

The industry that once defined and supported the people living there has burned out. In its place are poverty, sickness and addiction…

For people who are sick or poor, life in the Coal Region presents a special set of challenges. While they have to travel farther for care, there is no convenient public transportation network. While opioids and meth rip through their communities, there are few treatment options.

As they grow older and sicker, the number of family doctors is thinning out. Change is on the horizon, but it won’t address all the ills that plague the region.

Some people in West Virginia might remember this moment that happened when Trump visited their state:

If Trump’s policies demonstrate that he “digs coal country,” the people of those communities could benefit from a little less digging and a lot more actual support.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.