The following Fact Checker article is from the Washington Post’s email newsletter of that name dated June 9, 2017:
Is this the renaissance of the coal industry? President Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt sure make it sound like it is. But the facts tell a different story. This week, we dug into two talking points by Pruitt and Trump on coal jobs and mines reopening.
Pruitt said in one interview: “We’ve added almost 50,000 jobs in the coal sector. In the month of May alone, almost 7,000 jobs.” The problem: There are only about 50,000 jobs in coal.
In other interviews, Pruitt more carefully referred to “mining and coal” or “coal jobs, mining jobs.” Notice how Pruitt emphasizes “coal” while trying to slip in a reference to “mining.”
That’s because Pruitt is actually using mining jobs figures going back to October 2016 — a net gain of 47,000 (and net gain of 6,600 from April to May 2017). Since Inauguration Day, the net gain of mining jobs is nearly 33,000.
But most of the gain in “mining” jobs has nothing to do with coal. So, rather than the gain of 47,000 jobs touted by Pruitt, the reality is that 1,000 coal jobs have been added since Trump became president. For the month of May, the gain was 400 jobs, not 7,000.
We awarded Pruitt Four Pinocchios.
Are coal mines reopening, as Trump says?
Last week, we told you about the many false or misleading claims by Trump in his speech announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement on climate change. This week, we took a deeper look at one claim we didn’t fact-check the night of his speech.
Trump said the Paris agreement “effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America,” hurting the future of the U.S. coal industry, which is actually starting to open up mines for the first time in many years. Is that true?
The agreement doesn’t actually block U.S. ability to develop “clean coal,” which isn’t actually a thing. He’s referring to a specific technique called carbon capture and storage, which has been developing in the United States even after it entered the Paris agreement in 2015.
Are mines reopening? Certain ones are. And these mines are not the focus of the Paris agreement. They produce metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel. The Paris accord focuses on thermal coal, which is burned for steam to produce heat and electricity. We awarded Three Pinocchios.