Politics

President Trump, how can eliminating environmental regulations create jobs and still protect the environment?

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A coal miner worker attends the signing ceremony by President Donald Trump of Resolution 38, which nullfies the "stream protection rule," at the White House in Washington, February 16, 2017.

Credit:

Carlos Barria/Reuters

Over President Donald Trump's roughly first 100 days, we'll be asking him questions that our audience wants answers to. Join the project by tweeting this question to @realDonaldTrump with the hashtag #100Days100Qs. See more of our questions at pri.org/100questions.

#52. @realDonaldTrump how can eliminating environmental regulations create jobs and still protect the environment? #100Days100Qs

Leaders of coal, logging and mining industries often complain about government overregulation, saying it costs the communities they work in jobs. Just last month, mostly Republican lawmakers handed the coal industry a huge victory when they overturned the Stream Protection Rule that protected certain waterways from mountain top mining runnoff and debris.

Robert Murray, head of Murray Energy, has called that particular regulation “destructive and illegal.” He and other leaders in the coal industry said it would cost thousands of jobs.

President Donald Trump has been particularly focused on rolling back regulations — even declaring that for agencies to enact a new regulation, they must roll back two others.

Then there’s the case for clean water.

“All Americans, from Alaska to Appalachia, deserve common sense protections for clean water, and that’s why we just can’t send our nation back in time and let the coal industry do whatever it likes,” says Earthjustice attorney Emma Cheuse.

And, environmental advocates say, environmental regulations aren’t the job killing enemy lawmakers and the Trump administration make them out to be. While it's true about 300 coal plants have shuttered since 2008, a lot of that is due to changing prices of fossil fuels.

That’s why three of the biggest coal companies — American Electric Power, Southern Co. and Duke Energy are ditching old coal plants in favor of new natural gas plants and renewable energy like wind power.

So, our question for the the president is, how will you protect the environment while reducing regulations, and make sure that deregulation also creates jobs? Click here to tweet our question to the president.