A former coal miner has recorded a message taking Trump to task for his extravagant, and failed, promises to bring back jobs to the coal industry, which Trump largely said he would do through loosening environmental regulations.
Nick Mullins is a fifth-generation coal miner from the Appalachian region of Virginia. His family history in the region goes back 9 nine generations.
In a video for the New York Times, after a clip of Trump on the campaign trail promising “miners are going back to work,” Mullins responds, “Those are false promises that are only going to line the pockets of coal executives while delaying the inevitable.”
Recent reports back up Mullins. Despite Trump’s promises and bloviating, coal jobs continue to decline because it is an industry on the downswing as cleaner energy grows.
Trump, through his EPA and other agencies, is also working to loosen environmental standards. His own administration estimates that his new proposals would lead to 1,400 premature deaths each year. This has not deterred them.
Trump loves to tout so-called “clean coal,” but Mullins says, “Coal cannot be clean. We know that first hand. Acidic mine drainage is real. It’s coming out of our family’s spring. Coal slurry impoundments are real. They’re leeching into our creeks, our rivers, and our lakes.”
He describes the environmental impact of the coal industry as “a matter of life and death.”
Mullins notes the coal industry purports to support coal workers but has pursued profits “with a total disregard for our safety.” He explains, “we’re still having to fight for things like black lung benefits, worker’s compensation, and disabilities from injuries in the mines.”
One of Trump’s biggest partners in attempting to undo safety regulations has been coal baron Robert Murray. Murray has donated hundreds of thousands to Trump and his inauguration, and recently gave a million dollars to America First Action, Trump’s chosen super PAC.
Murray’s company, Murray Energy settled with the government in 2012, acknowledging responsibility for the failures that led to the 2007 Crandall Canyon mine disaster in Utah.
Six miners perished when the mine collapsed, and three emergency responders also died while trying to help them out.
That is who Trump is working for, not the men and women of coal country, as Mullins explains in his video.
Mullins comes from the heart of coal country, with family roots far deeper there than Trump’s well-off New York City background.
Mullins comes from the heart of coal country, with family roots far deeper there than Trump’s well-off New York City background. When he speaks about coal, refutes Trump’s empty promises, and advocates for a safe, stable future for American workers, his words have far more authority than any of Trump’s rantings.