West Virginia Governor Jim Justice — a recently rebranded Republican and coal and real estate millionaire — says that initial chats with Trump about his idea for a coal payment plan have been productive.
Here’s the plan: The Department of Homeland Security will pony up $15 for every ton of Appalachian coal burned by U.S. utilities, thus keeping the industry — and the communities that rely on it — alive. Justice says these payments are necessary, because West Virginia coal would be too expensive to compete otherwise.
But, issues. For one thing, $15 a ton is expensive. In 2016, 110 million tons of Appalachian coal were burned — meaning a subsidy would’ve cost the United States $1.65 billion. For another, the