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Robert Samuelson: What Really Happened To Coal?

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The coal-mining jobs that President Trump thinks were destroyed by government regulation — adopted to combat air pollution and global warming — were actually lost to old-fashioned competition from other American firms and workers. Eastern coal mines lost market share to Western coal, which was cheaper. And natural gas grew at coal's expense because it had low costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

That's the conclusion of a new study by economist Charles Kolstad of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, as reported on the Conversable Economist website. Kolstad's conclusion mirrors the finding of Glenn Kessler — The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" — who disputed the recent claim by Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, that Trump's policies had increased coal employment by........

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