Nov 14, 2016 by


Stuff that matters

promises, promises

On the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump vowed to make the industry great again. “If I win we’re going to bring those miners back,” he said to an audience in West Virginia before donning a miner’s hat and doing a little working-in-the-coal-mine dance.

But for the coal industry — which donated about $223,000 to Trump’s campaign — reality is less rosy. Sure, shares in the bankrupt coal company Peabody soared nearly 50 percent the day after Trump’s victory. But that’s just Wall Street’s knee-jerk response. The fact is, the coal industry’s future is — at best — flat, according to analysts.

Over the last eight years, coal’s portion of the American electricity supply has dropped from half to a third, a result of falling natural gas prices, declining demand from China, and regulatory efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The best Trump can do, says Bloomberg News, is halt coal’s steep decline.

But even though Trump can’t save Big Coal, he can severely damage the planet by enabling the industry. He has promised to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, ignore the Paris climate agreement, and end investments in renewables. Just as coal can’t be revived, the planet can’t either.

Bakken business

Trump and his key advisors stand to profit from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Their financial ties are detailed in Antonia Juhasz’s report for Grist about what Donald Trump’s win means for the controversial pipeline, which would run through Standing Rock Sioux sacred lands and under their primary water source.

  • Trump has personally invested between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners — the very same company that’s constructing the pipeline.
  • Trump has an additional $500,000 to $1 million holding in Phillips 66, which would have a 25 percent stake in the completed Dakota Access project.
  • Energy Transfer Partners Chief Executive Kelcy Warren donated $103,000 toward Trump’s campaign and a further $66,800 to the Republican National Committee after he became the party nominee.
  • Harold Hamm, a top Trump campaign advisor and leading candidate for energy secretary, is the CEO of Continental Resources, whose oil would be carried through the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • John Paulson, another campaign advisor, is heavily invested in the Bakken oil and gas industry. And that’s just the start for fossil fuel connections on Trump’s team.

The day following Trump’s victory, the stock value of Energy Transfer’s parent company surged 15 percent as the pipeline’s future went from uncertain to a sure bet. The project was 84 percent complete as of Thursday and could be green-lighted by Obama even before Trump’s inauguration.

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