One of President Trump’s new policies is making America less great for the very people he promised to make it great for: coal miners and fossil fuel executives.
Back in March, Trump decided to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports — 25 percent on the former, 10 percent on the latter. To no one’s surprise, the two industries in question are pretty overjoyed. You know who’s less enthused? Almost everyone else — particularly U.S. coal miners, who say the levies are dousing China’s appetite for American coal with a bucket of lukewarm water.
And coal isn’t the only sector steeling itself against a trade fallout. Trump’s zeal to boost production in steel country is backfiring on the fossil fuel industry, just as people predicted. Let’s take a closer look:
- At the 2018 World Gas Conference on Monday, the CEOs of the biggest oil giants in the world, ExxonMobil’s Darren Woods and Chevron’s Michael Wirth, said the tariffs will likely slow oil and gas growth — right smack in the middle of a pretty historic shale oil and gas boom. The tariffs “run the risk of making [energy] projects less competitive,” Woods said. That’s because the tariffs raise the costs of materials for new pipelines and liquified natural gas facilities.
- Last year, Trump and China’s president, Xi Jinping, agreed to build something called the Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub — a multi-billion dollar project composed of an enormous network of pipelines, gas processing facilities, and below-ground storage. If built, the hub would sprawl from Pennsylvania all the way to Kentucky, and it would be the biggest infrastructure project in Appalachia to date. But Trump’s new tariffs, and a possible ensuing trade war, have put the project in jeopardy because they could cost China billions of additional dollars.
- America’s coal industry isn’t doing so hot domestically, but coal exports are going through something of a boom right now. Guess what Beijing just put on a list of U.S. products that could get hit with Chinese tariffs, thanks to Trump’s dedication to aluminum and steel? Yep — coal. The tariffs also put a major deal between a big Chinese coal importer and two U.S.-based companies on the rocks. The deal concerned 1 million tons of coal exports per year.
Well, there you have it. Who woulda thunk Trump would be the person to get in the way of his own dumb plan?