The order lifts the ban on federal leasing for coal production, as well as restrictions that were placed on the production of oil, natural gas and shale. It eliminates a number of limits that were in place on fossil fuel emissions, unraveling rules put in place during the Obama administration to limit greenhouse gasses.
But the order could also mean more smog for New York and New Jersey.
“It’s really a reckless abdication of U.S. leadership and really an existential threat to New York City and cities around the world,” said Daniel Zarrilli, senior director of climate policy and programs for the City of New York. “We are very much firmly committed to fighting back.”
“The irony is that they’re going to see more of that pollution at Trump Tower. Or, at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster [New Jersey],” added Tittel.
Some economists question whether Trump’s push to shore up the coal industry will result in more jobs. The sector has been losing market share for some time. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. coal production dropped 10.3% year-over-year in 2015, to below 900 million tons. That’s the lowest annual production level since 1986.
“It’s a false promise. Because the coal sector has been losing jobs for decades and will and even in up markets it loses jobs because that’s just the nature of the industry to try to dig out more coal with less workers,” said Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
“The actions taken by the administration will have almost no financial benefit for the coal industry, and an unlimited disregard for environmental concerns,” said Sanzillo.