U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Coal: still the lump in our stockings

Coal: still the lump in our stockings

When I was a child, if I didn’t behave at Christmastime, I was threatened with something like this from my mother, “If you don’t shape up, young man, you’ll wind up with coal in your stocking.” In those days, many homes had a coal furnace in the basement, and chunks of coal were plentiful.

Today, that’s an antiquated image. Coal’s use in the home has been in decline for decades, and it’s on a downward trend for use in power generation as well. Fifteen years ago, it powered half the country; today, it powers just 30 percent of our electricity, as utilities switch to cheaper, and more readily available, natural gas.

Yet the Trump administration clings to coal despite its...