Coal Production Drops, Despite Trump Efforts to Prop Up Industry

Annual production last year dropped by 2.5 percent to 755 million short tons, lower than at any point during what critics decried as the Obama administration’s “war on coal” except for 2016, when production hovered around 725 million short tons.

While the Trump administration has rolled back a range of emissions measures it believed were hampering coal, floated a proposal last summer to bail out struggling coal and nuclear plants and named a former coal lobbyist to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, coal production numbers were more than a third lower than in 2008.

The data, released Friday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is the latest sign of the economic challenges facing the coal industry, which saw domestic consumption in 2018 decline along with production.

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