To the Editor:
It seems timely and fitting to address “alternative facts” and “fake news” for which the Trump administration has become infamous. This example has to do with jobs in mining coal and was delivered the other day by Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Scott Pruitt, on This Week With George Stephanopoulos.
Pruitt announced that the Trump administration has presided over “a staggering increase in coal-industry employment.” “Over 50,000 jobs increase since the first of 2017, coal jobs, mining jobs created in this country,” with “almost 7,000 mining and coal jobs created during the month of May.”
Facts from the U.S. Department of Labor statistics report that the coal industry added 400 jobs, not 7,000, in May, 2017, and has added just 1,700 since last October, 2016. The mining and coal industry employs currently a total of 51,000 people and there were not merely 1,000 people employed therein before the Trump election.
It would seem ill-advised to plan America’s future energy policy around the goal of maximizing jobs in an industry that’s reputed to offer fewer jobs than the Arby’s franchise. Then, too, the solar industry employs twice as many Americans as the coal industry. Meanwhile, if one wants to live in a fantasy where greenhouse gas emissions do not trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere, one may as well pretend a scenario with imaginary jobs.
Gene H. McIntyre