Our president is accused of throwing wild punches but some of them have landed squarely on the jaws of coal’s critics. Here’s a ringside look.

In just a little over a month in office, Trump, EPA administrator Pruitt and Interior Secretary Zinke have taken bold steps to systematically dismantle the elaborate regulatory prison that team Obama locked the coal industry in. Who ever knew elections had so many liberating consequences? No wonder China’s party leaders don’t allow them.

First, we saw Congress and then the president move against the stream rule, the Office of Surface Mining’s gift to itself. Through this massive regulation, based on a fanciful reading of the agency’s legal authority, OSM hoped to acquire regulatory powers over mining operations that have long rested with state agencies. OSM would have also duplicated EPA’s authority to set water quality standards and, that way, create an expanded role for itself despite the dwindling number of coal mines it is properly empowered to regulate.

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