President Donald Trump spoke via video Thursday for the opening of a new coal mine outside of Pittsburgh, saying it’s proof that he is keeping his campaign promise to create jobs for miners and create industries to benefit the U.S. economy.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be speaking with you on this great, great day. The miners of Pennsylvania are mining coal again,” Trump said in the video shown at the event with miners, executives and dignitaries, according to the Tribune-Review.
“Washington may be 180 miles down the road, but I want you to know each and every day, I’m fighting for you and all the forgotten men and women of America,” Trump said.
Corsa Coal Corporation is expected to create 100 jobs for the operation that will supply coal for the manufacture of steel.
“Under a tent perched hundreds of feet above a freshly dug coal pit, about 200 miners, business leaders, and politicians celebrated amid the surge of enthusiasm for the industry,” the Associated Press reported. “Mining headgear lay atop red, white, and blue table cloths labeled ‘Make Coal Great Again.’”
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who endorsed Hillary Clinton, said the state awarded a $3 million grant for the project.
“We have not always capitalized on our standing as one of the world’s leaders in these resources, but we’re changing that,” Wolf said.
Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt have targeted federal regulations that make production of coal subject to harsh water protection policies and other restrictions.
“One by one, we’re eliminating the regulations that threaten your jobs, and that’s one of the big reasons you’re opening today: Less regulation,” Trump said at the recent Rose Garden ceremony where he announced that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris climate change accord. “We have withdrawn the United States from the horrendous Paris climate accord, something that would have put our country back decades and decades, we would have never allowed ourselves to be great again.”
“The metallurgical coal being pulled from the new mine is a niche market that makes up only between 5 percent and 10 percent of coal production and operates independently of the market for power-generating coal,” AP reported. “Analysts emphasize that the new mine doesn’t reflect a long-term revival in the coal industry as a whole, which continues to struggle.”
But Corsa’s chief executive, George Dethlefsen, said Trump has made the entire mining industry feel more optimistic about the future.
“The war on coal is over,” Dethlefsen said. “Easing the regulatory burden, lowering taxes, stimulating infrastructure spending, balancing out the interest of economic growth versus environmental policy – it’s very good for coal.”
Corsa hopes to open another metallurgical coal mine next year, and another mine in 2019.
“I won’t lie, we doubted if we were going to have jobs, if the company was going to make it,” said Matt Owens, a mine safety coordinator who got into coal after his factory employer shut down a decade ago. “But they did.”
R.J. Harris of Harrisburg’s 580-WHP, said the mine opening is a “shot in the arm” for the Keystone economy, Fox Insider reported.