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coal

One of the many things Donald Trump promised during his campaign was that he would boost the country’s coal industry. Soon after he won the presidency, though, it became clear to some experts that the future of coal in the U.S. was dim; that natural gas, wind and solar were pushing it out of the market.

The coal industry found an ally in Trump’s pick to helm the Department of Energy: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

From Texas Standard:

While the Trump administration says the "war on coal" is over, market forces are having their say when it comes to the fossil fuel, closing plants in several Texas communities.

Texas' largest generator of coal-powered energy, Luminant, says it is ceasing operations at two plants in the state. The company says Texas' competitive energy market and cheap natural gas  make these older coal-fired plants unprofitable. Another Texas coal operator has already announced plans to close two facilities.

The U.S. power grid could become less reliable if too much electricity comes from renewable energy and natural gas, according to a study from the Department of Energy.

But not everyone is buying it. Environmentalists suspect the Trump administration is just trying to prop up an ailing coal industry.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for the study in the spring. The report doesn't say there is a grid reliability problem now — only that one could develop if more coal and nuclear power plants shut down.

President Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. will leave the Paris climate deal.

Here are five things that could be affected by the decision.

1. The coal industry

Even coal companies had lobbied the Trump administration to stay in the agreement.

Rick Perry's Energy Legacy Is More Complicated Than You Think

Dec 13, 2016
Abby Livingston / Texas Tribune

As he said farewell to the Texas Legislature in January 2015, Rick Perry couldn’t help but reflect on how energy technology and policy had transformed the state’s landscape — and fueled its economy — during his record 14 years as governor. 

Wikimedia

At least seven coal-fired power plants in Texas could face closure in coming years because more renewables and cheap gas makes coal power too expensive. That’s according to a new report commissioned by the environmental group Public Citizen.

Victor Palomares / KUHF

NPR aired an interesting story on Monday about how the coal industry in Texas is paying for science teachers to attend a camp where they learn all about mining.