It is a tale of two photographs, one light and airy, the other kind of, well, dark.
On Wednesday, the feature photograph on the Bureau of Land Management’s homepage was an idyllic shot of what appears to be a sunrise over pretty green bluff, witnessed by a pair of backpackers.
But seemingly overnight, there was a noticeable change. Gone were the boy and man from the wild land that the BLM controls, and in its place was coal. A great wall of carbon literally blacked out the old sunny view.The photo speaks volumes about the way the Trump administration is prioritizing the land. The BLM, under the Interior Department, controls more than half a billion acres, including national monuments and wilderness areas that humans visit and where a variety of animals roam, but the feature image is all about coal.
It follows President Trump’s campaign promise to bring back the coal industry and his recent executive order lifting a moratorium on new coal leases. It also follows the issuance of a lease to mine 56 million tons of coal in Utah.
At the signing ceremony for his executive order, Trump showed that he is a champion of the development of fossil fuels, even when one product is bashing the other. “We will unlock job-producing natural gas, oil and shale energy. We will produce American coal to power American industry,” he said.
It was a puzzling ad lib, considering how nonpartisan industry analysts view the future of coal. “Too many companies are still mining too much coal for too few customers,” which is a fundamental problem for the industry, said the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
As for Trump’s claim that mining more coal will employ more workers, the IEEFA isn’t so sure. Job losses will continue, “related in part to the coal industry’s long-term business model of producing more coal with fewer workers,” it said.
This federal agency’s homepage just went dark. Really dark. Literally as black as coal.