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Editorial: Level playing field for miners

The Journal editorial

It has been pointed out that many of the miners who lost jobs because of former President Barack Obama’s war on coal and affordable electricity will never go back to digging coal, regardless of how energetic new President Donald Trump is in reversing the assault.

That is true enough. For one thing, many power plants that once burned coal were scrapped and replaced by gas-fired units. Utilities will not say goodbye to that investment merely to build costly new coal-fired units.

But Trump can and should do more than put a stop to the government’s attempts to shut down mines and coal-fired power plants. There is another side to the equation.

It is billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to the wind- and solar-power industries, combined with withdrawal of funding for clean coal technology.

Requiring many solar- and wind-power generating stations to operate without subsidies would doom them. They cannot compete on a level playing field.

On the other hand, with reasonable funding of clean coal research, new methods of burning that fuel in an environmentally acceptable way can be found. The Obama administration had no intention of helping to keep coal a viable energy source. The president and ultra-liberals surrounding him wanted to kill coal.

Trump already has done much to roll back the war on coal. Good for him for keeping that promise. Now, he should turn to restoring the level playing field that is all miners ever wanted.

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