BECKLEY, W.Va. — The energy policies of the presidential candidates are as different as their campaigns.
During Sunday night’s debate, Republican candidate Donald Trump listed clean coal technology and reining in the Environmental Protection Agency as cornerstones of his energy policy.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, said her administration would explore more clean energy and spend $30 billion in aid to economically challenged coalfield communities affected by the decline of the coal industry.
Trump went first and gave an answer satisfying his supporters. He said the energy industry is “under siege” by the Obama administration. Furthermore, EPA regulations are “killing energy”
Clinton will continue that policy, he said, resulting in putting mines out of business and leaving miners jobless.
The businessman’s solution to the declining coal industry is financially questionable. “There is a thing called clean coal. Coal will last for a thousand years in this country,” Trump said.
However, energy economists said clean coal technology, which captures coal’s carbon, is too costly to be a feasible alternative to renewable energies or natural gas. One such power plant built in Kemper County, Miss., to capture the carbons, is witnessing the cost. According to Bloomberg, the plant’s initial 2006 price tag of $1.8 billion has risen to $5.2 billion a few years later. The electric it produces will cost more than $6,800 per kilowatt versus $5,500 for nuclear energy and $1,000 for a modern natural gas plant, the magazine reports.
Trump said under his presidency, energy companies would return. “They’ll be able to compete, they’ll make money, they’ll pay off our budget deficits, which are tremendous,” he said.
He also said the EPA is “so restrictive,” the agency is putting energy companies out of business. “We have to guard our energy companies,” he said. “The EPA is so restrictive that they are putting our energy companies out of business. All you have to do is go to a great place like West Virginia or a place like Ohio, which is phenomenal, or places like Pennsylvania and you see what they’re doing to the people, miners and others, in the energy business. It’s a disgrace.”
During Clinton’s two-minute response, she outlined her plan to make the nation energy independent, but first she responded to Trumps plan by saying, “that was very interesting.”
It wasn’t until the end of her allotted time, that she addressed her coalfield revitalization plan. The former senator said, “I also want to be sure we don’t leave people behind,” meaning coal miners and their communities.
“I am the only candidate from the very beginning of the campaign who had a plan to revitalize coal country, because those coal miners and their fathers, and their grandfathers they dug that coal out … They turned the lights on and they powered our factories. I don’t want to walk away from them …”
She said globally, coal prices are in decline.
Clinton also said the U.S. is energy independent for the first time. To stay that way, the country must explore renewable energies to “give us more power and freedom…”