President Trump’s commitment to fossil fuels could mark a turning point in America’s energy future. Certainly, expanded federal support for coal, natural gas and petroleum would create jobs for workers engaged in field construction, coal mining, petroleum and natural gas extraction, transportation and other industries.
Much is being written about the new administration's energy policies, the choice of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for energy secretary and fossil fuels in general. There is concern about the environment, the performance of the Environmental Protection Agency and the new administration's view of an energy future for our country. All of this concern is often politicized, emotional and, frankly, it can be uninformed on both sides of the aisle.
Coal recently took center stage during the Presidential election. While President Elect Trump rode a wave of blue collar frustration with full-fledged support of the coal industry, Hillary Clinton told a national audience in Ohio that she would put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.
Editor’s Note: Don Rojem is a retired member of Boilermakers Local 169 (Detroit) who writes poetry describing his life experiences, including his work in field construction. He has been featured in Boilermaker videos and participated in the closing ceremonies of the union’s 33rd Consolidated Convention in Las Vegas in July 2016.
The most impactful action the U.S. can employ to reduce CO2 emissions is to incentivize the rapid deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS)A technologies. Unfortunately, to date U.S. federal and state policies have severely tilted the energy playing field.
To hear environmentalists and the politicians who cater to them tell it, the United States can win the climate battle by phasing out our nation’s coal industry. This thinking is not only fundamentally flawed, but it’s also keeping America from investing in the energy technology that will be needed to make a global difference in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.