The Donald Trump administration has made a lot of noise about bringing back coal. But with renewable energy soaring, and coal plants retiring, their efforts may go in vain – and a new $64 million donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies could facilitate progress towards cleaner sources of power. Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and philanthropist, said, “The Trump administration has yet to realize that the war on coal was never led by Washington – and Washington cannot end it.”
The Trump administration has decried the so-called war on coal. Maybe they didn’t realize pollution from coal-fired power plants used to kill around 13,000 people every year. 7,500 Americans still die from the pollution yearly, but the number is down since the Sierra Club ramped up their Beyond Coal campaign in 2011. Bloomberg’s $64 million will go to that campaign.
Bloomberg said the war on coal “was started and continues to be led by communities in both red and blue states who are tired to having their air and water poisoned when there are cleaner and cheaper alternatives available.” Since 2011, 259 coal-fired stations, almost 50 percent of America’s coal plants, have shut down. Beyond Coal aims to replace coal with solar, wind, or geothermal energy.
Reuters said coal exports have increased this year, pointing to information from the Energy Information Administration, which said United States coal exports from January to July went up 62 percent, compared against the same time period in 2016. But coal-fired plants keep shuttering. Since Trump entered office, according to Reuters, 10 plants have announced closures, and just last week an energy company said they’ll be shutting down a Texas plant next year.
Bloomberg has given over $100 million in total to the Beyond Coal campaign; their original grants helped the effort grow from 15 states to 45.