By Michael Bastasch
November 30, 2017 - A top coal industry official thanked “the Lord” that President Donald Trump won the 2016 election, saying “divine intervention,” not Russian meddling, got him elected.
Chris Hamilton, the senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, was one of many coal industry representatives to testify at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing in Charleston, W.V., on Tuesday.
Hamilton told EPA officials that Trump’s 2016 victory was the result of “divine intervention” that “guided these people in this country, the greatest country in the world, to elect Donald Trump.”
Hamilton spoke at the only planned hearing to discuss EPA’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Coal mines and plants were expected to bear the brunt of the regulatory burden.
Coal industry overwhelmingly supported Trump in the 2016 election, in part, due to his stance against Obama administration regulations labelled by critics as part of the “war on coal.” Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, supported Obama-era rules on coal, and promised to expand green energy.
Clinton wanted to spend billions to revitalize coal country and retrain miners to do different jobs, but she lost any hope of coal country support when she said her policies would drive coal companies out of business.
In her book “What Happened,” Clinton said her coal gaffe was the “one I regret the most.”
Coal miners and industry officials, like Hamilton, voiced their support for Trump’s rescinding of the Clean Power Plan. Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray told EPA officials at the hearing that Trump’s policies had already saved thousands of coal mining jobs.
Environmentalists also flocked to Charleston to protest EPA’s plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan. Activists testified the rule was necessary to protect public health and fight global warming.