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Editor: 

This is an open letter to Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton. 

If there’s any good news for coal these days, it’s that you both have promised relief for coal communities hit hard by market forces and the president’s regulations. Donald Trump, you say you’ll put coal miners back to work. Hillary Clinton, you pledged to put coal communities back on their feet.

The upheaval underway in the power sector, and the depth and duration of the regulatory assault on an industry struggling with market competition, will not make either promise easy to keep—even assuming the sincerest of intentions. In the past five years, coal fields have lost more than 67,000 jobs paying an average of $83,700 annually with good benefits.

But one thing is plain. No promise of relief for miners and their families is possible without a sustainable coal industry that is strong enough to play a part in the energy transition now underway. Without coal producers, there are no jobs capable of supporting families. And without good paying jobs, there is no realistic prospect for a viable economy to replace the one destroyed, let alone a community that families want to live in.

However, there is one sure way that you, as president, could begin to make good on your promise: Stop digging the regulatory hole deeper.

Here is a free, three-step guide for your first term—to end the carnage in the coal fields:

Pull the plug on EPA’s costly Clean Power Plan. (Direct job savings: 40,000 by 2035. Environmental cost: too insignificant for EPA to measure.)

Stop the Department of the Interior’s unnecessary Stream Protection Rule. (Direct job savings: at least 40,000 and possibly 77,500. Environmental cost: insignificant, say state agencies.)

End the moratorium on federal coal lease sales. (Direct job savings: up to 60,000 supply chain jobs now in jeopardy. Environmental cost: none, say the Department of Interior’s own reports from Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota.)

You won’t be able to bring all of the jobs back. But thanks to your predecessor, you can easily stop the rest from disappearing.

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LUKE POPOVICH, National Mining Association

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