As the Trump administration dismantles one of the world’s most aggressive programs to confront climate change, it is invoking the suffering of communities like this one, where the brawny coal power plant that anchors the local economy teeters on insolvency. Yet as the Trump administration declares an end to what it calls the “war on coal,” Homer City isn’t any less under siege.
Some in the local coal industry wish they had left it when President Obama was still in office.
Coal broker David Osikowicz applauds the Trump administration’s enthusiasm for his industry, but even he questions what the demise of the Clean Power Plan will do to save it. “When President Obama said five years ago that you can keep burning coal but you will go broke doing it, my instinct was to liquidate,” said Osikowicz, standing in his eerily quiet coal yard in Punxsutawney, where most of the staff has been laid off. “Unfortunately, I didn’t do that. Now reality has triumphed over wishful thinking.”
Ending environment regulations has not lead to a resurgence in the coal industry.
Other coal facilities throughout the country are also finding no salvation in the elimination of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which the Trump administration promised would reinvigorate them. A fresh round of closures expected to cost at least 850 jobs was announced by Vistra Energy in Texas this week, even as the administration launched its repeal of landmark regulations on plant greenhouse gas emissions.