Yet, coal miners also should not assume their jobs will return if Trumpâs regulations take effect.
The new order would mean that older coal plants that had been marked for closings would probably stay open, said Robert W. Godby, an energy economist at the University of Wyoming. That would extend the market demand for coal for up to a decade.
But even so, âthe mines that are staying open are using more mechanization,â he said. âTheyâre not hiring people.â
âSo even if we saw an increase in coal production, we could see a decrease in coal jobs,â he said.
Legal experts say it could take years for the Trump administration to unwind the Clean Power Plan, which itself has not yet been carried out because it has been temporarily frozen by a Supreme Court order. Those regulations sought to cut planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants. If enacted, they would have shut down hundreds of those plants, frozen construction of future plants and replaced them with wind and solar farms.
Throughout his campaign, Mr. Trump highlighted his support of coal miners, holding multiple rallies in coal country and vowing to restore lost jobs to the flagging industry. At a rally last week in Kentucky, Mr. Trump vowed that his executive order would âsave our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work.â
While the number of coal mining jobs has dropped in the United States, they do not represent a significant portion of the American economy. Coal companies employed about 65,971 miners in 2015, down from 87,755 in 2008, according to Energy Department statistics.