We produce a product that is essential to the standard of living of every American because our coal produces 52 percent of the energy in America today, and it is the lowest cost energy, costing one third to one fourth the cost of energy from natural gas, nuclear and renewable energy resources.
Meanwhile, big investors aligned with the global push to fight climate change such as the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund had been pressuring USA utilities in which they owned stakes to cut coal use.
"People think of coal mining as some 1890s, colorful, populous frontier activity, but it's much better to think of it as a high-tech industry with far fewer miners and more engineers and coders". They say it's the administration's legal duty to regulate climate change-causing emissions.
"The letter then goes on to specify a long list of subsidies that they want", Ebell said.
President Trump and President Xi Jinping's first meeting this week is meant to establish a personal relationship and search for common ground on issues including security and trade.
"We're in the situation where the executive order takes a lot of pressure off the decisions we had to make in the near term, such as whether to retrofit and retire older coal plants", said Dale Niezwaag, a spokesman for Basin Electric. The State Department April 4 confirmed yet another missile test-fire by North Korea earlier in the day-just one day before the Trump-Xi summit-drawing a brusque response from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Obama's Clean Power Plan was originally signed to help fulfill the country's commitment to the 2015 Paris climate agreement, where the overall goal was to keep the Earth from warming by more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit - the point at which scientists say irrevocable food shortages, droughts, floods and rising sea levels will occur.
Cloud Peak and other coal companies also want Trump to reduce the United States' emissions cutting pledge, which Obama had set at 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025.
If the USA pulled out of the agreement, that would put the global future of fossil energy in limbo, Marshall said. So while natural gas has been enjoying a tremendous boon, countless coal factories have been shut down not because of regulations, but because they simply can't compete (The Motley Fool, "Not Even Donald Trump Can Save the U.S. Coal Industry", 10.06.2016). Shipments of USA metallurgical coal, used in the production of steel, have recently shown up in China following a two-year hiatus - in part to offset banned shipments from North Korea and temporary delays from cyclone-hit Australian producers.
Coal had been the primary fuel source for USA power plants for the last century, but its use had fallen more than a third since 2008 after advancements in drilling technology unlocked new reserves of natural gas. After the recent executive order, the EPA asked the United States court of appeals for the District of Columbia to delay proceedings over the law to give them time to review it.
"Stripped of major regulatory initiatives and funding, the USA can no longer wield the influence that brought global consensus in Paris, even if the US remains a party to the accords", wrote Jim Rubin in an editorial in The Hill after Trump signed the executive order.
The question remains as to why three of the largest coal companies would favor participation in an agreement (even though it has not been ratified and is legally meaningless) that, if adhered to, would place a burden on the coal industry in order to achieve its goals to reduce carbon emissions.
Several utilities also cited falling costs for wind and solar power, which is now often as cheap as coal or natural gas, thanks in part to government subsidies for renewable energy. "The U.S. risks losing out".
Another eight companies, including Southern Co (SO.N) and NorthWestern Corp (NWE.N), are "under observation" by the fund.