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2017 interview: Phil Gonet, President, Illinois Coal Association

Phil discusses Trump's election, what the US coal industry is expecting from it and the key challenges facing the US coal industry over the coming years.



Coaltrans Conferences (CC): The shock election of Donald Trump has obviously inspired a more hopeful attitude in the US coal industry. Do you share in this enthusiasm?

Phil Gonet (PG): I wouldn’t classify Trump’s election as a shock.  Perhaps a mild surprise.  Yes, Trump made many positive statements about coal during the campaign and I expect him to follow through on his promises so the enthusiasm is shared. 

The coal industry complained that the Obama Administration’s anti-coal regulations were illegal actions issued as executive orders and rulemakings to avoid Congressional action.   

This action will now backfire on Obama as administrative actions are easier to withdraw than to repeal a law enacted by  Congress. 

We expect Trump to work with Congress to eliminate the Clean Power Plan, the Stream Protection Rule, and the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule very quickly.


(CC): How has the coal industry in the US responded to the recent downswing?

(PG): The response has been a reduction in coal production and loss of workers.  Estimated 2016 coal production in Illinois is down about 19% from 2015, about the same decline as the nation.  Over 1,200 mining jobs were lost this year, nearly a third of the workforce.


(CC): What will be the key challenges facing the US coal industry over the coming years?

(PG): One of the biggest challenges is to get back to fair and reasonable regulations at the federal level.  Coal can compete as an energy source if there is a level playing field.


(CC): Thermal coal has had a good year this year, even if some of the gains made this year have fallen off in recent months. How has the higher price impacted US producers?

(PG): Since I represent all of the coal producers in Illinois, I do not comment on coal prices.







Content provided in January 2017.


 

This content is provided by Coaltrans Conferences for informational purposes only, and it reflects the market and industry conditions and presenter’s opinions and affiliations available at the time of the presentation.

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