In addition to clean coal technologies, the rolling back of regulations designed to limit the role fossil fuels play in the U.S.’s energy mix would also go a long way in sustaining coal’s future. The Trump Administration has promised to end several regulations that have restricted the coal industry’s progress and has vowed to discontinue funding for the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. Trump has also said he plans to end the Interior Department’s moratorium on leasing federal land for coal mining and has already signed a bill undoing the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule.
Despite these positive developments, coal will continue to face steep competition from natural gas and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. In 2016, coal accounted for slightly more than 30 percent of the U.S. energy mix, and states that predominantly used coal for electricity generation enjoyed significantly lower rates than states that used minimal or no coal. Renewables remain an expensive and unreliable energy source for Americans from coast to coast.
Improved pricing and political pledges to roll back burdensome regulations that have held back our industry provide promise, but we must remain diligent in keeping coal at the forefront of the energy discussion. As we know and as we’ve undoubtedly experienced, notably in the last decade, our industry is susceptible to market conditions, competition, regulations and other external forces. These factors will always be part of the landscape. But we also know, through our perseverance during those challenging times, coal plays a critical role in achieving our country’s energy, economic and environmental goals now and well into the future. That is the message we must convey through good times and in bad.
As the American Coal Council celebrates its 35th anniversary of service to the coal sector in 2017, our association is well‐positioned to continue representing coal interests in the marketplace and policy arenas. The organization has continued to adapt to energy industry trends and changing coal sector conditions. A recent change for our association was ACC’s combination with another coal organization, the Coal Trading Association (CTA). This combination was approved by members of both associations in February 2017. The combined organization will operate under the existing American Coal Council name and organizational structure and be managed by CEO Betsy Monseu and current ACC staff. Two CTA Board Directors were added to the ACC Board of Directors: Steve Watson with Arch Energy Resources, and Ginny Farrow with NRG Energy. We appreciate their engagement and commitment. We’re pleased to welcome other CTA member representatives to ACC and we encourage their involvement in our programs, committees, and initiatives.