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Trump ditches coal when hyping 'revolution in American energy' in SOTU speech

The Hill logo The Hill 2/6/2019 Miranda Green

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Trump ditches coal when hyping 'revolution in American energy' in SOTU speech © The Hill Trump ditches coal when hyping 'revolution in American energy' in SOTU speech President Trump did not mention coal when he declared Tuesday night that his administration has "unleashed a revolution in American energy" that has lead to historic energy export highs and economic growth.

Speaking at his State of the Union Address, Trump emphasized the United State's leading role in fossil fuel production and exportation, championing the country becoming the leading global producer of oil and natural gas during his tenure.

"We have unleashed a revolution in American energy--the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world," Trump told the crowd to applause.

While Trump reiterated his support of the industry during last year's address, pushing the benefits of "beautiful, clean coal," he didn't mention the energy source once this year.

The US became the top oil and natural gas producer in 2018. Yet Trump's estimates on the US being a net energy exporter are premature. The country is still importing more energy than it exports. But the independent US Energy Information Administration forecasts that exports will exceed imports by 2020.

Trump added that the country "for the first time in 65 years" is also a net exporter of energy--an achievement he tied into job growth.

"After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day. Members of Congress: the State of our Union is strong. Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before," he said in his speech in front of members of Congress.

The president has routinely championed U.S. fossil fuel production, linking it to the need for energy independence. That plan has frequently hinged on keeping retiring U.S. coal fire plants running. Trump during his campaign made a presidential promise to bring jobs back to that sector.

But since he took office, Trump and his administration has struggled to prop up the industry, as plants shuttered due to the rising cost of production compared to cheaper natural gas. A record number of coal fire plants retired in 2018 with a steady number expected to follow suit this year.

Other topics left out of his nearly hour-long speech included solar power, wind, renewables and climate change.

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