Scott Pruitt, the climate-change denier charged by President Trump with making the Environmental Protection Agency less protective of the environment, traveled to Pennsylvania last week to kick off E.P.A.’s “back to basics” agenda and tell a group of worried coal miners that the Obama administration’s “war on coal” was over and that he and Mr. Trump would lead a revival of the industry.

He may have chosen the wrong coal mine at which to make his pitch. The Harvey Mine, in Sycamore, Pa., is part of the Bailey Mine Complex, the largest producing underground mine in North America. The complex employs 2,000 people and is clearly vital to the local economy.

What’s not clear at all is that it represents the future of the local economy. Like a lot of mines, Bailey has had its share of environmental violations, including some that led to a $3 million fine last year from the pre-Trump E.P.A. and the Justice Department for polluting Ohio River tributaries. But the much larger question mark hanging over Bailey is that its parent, Consol Energy, wants to get out of the coal mining business and focus on its more profitable natural gas operations. Consol told Bloomberg News in March that it had engaged two financial firms to help find a buyer.

The mine, once sold, could stay in business for a time, which would be good news for the miners who heard Mr. Pruitt’s pep talk. Still, coal’s long-term outlook is poor, less because of environmental regulations than market forces, including competition from natural gas and increasingly costCost: The consumption of resources such as labour time, capital, materials, fuels, etc. as the consequence of an action. In economics, all resources are valued at their opportunity cost, which is the value of the most valuable alternative use of the resources. Costs are defi ned in a variety of ...-effective renewable sources. Loosening environmental laws won’t make coal cheaper than natural gas, and it certainly won’t make it cleaner. Which is why Consol’s management, as clearheaded as Mr. Pruitt is delusional, wants to exit coal.

Mr. Pruitt also used the occasion to restate the administration’s environmental agenda, which was set forth in Mr. Trump’s energy independence executive order last month and which basically involves demolishing or amending beyond recognition every useful thing the Obama administration did to improve air and water qualityDrinking water quality has a micro-biological and a physico-chemical dimension. There are thousands of parameters of water quality. In public water supply systems water should, at a minimum, be disinfected—most commonly through the use of chlorination or the use of ultra violet ... and reduce emissionsEmissions of greenhouse gases, greenhouse gas precursors, and aerosols associated with human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, land-use changes, livestock, fertilisation, etc. (IPCC) of the greenhouse gasesGreenhouse gas emissions cause dangerous anthropogenic climate change. Emissions include CO2, fluoridated gases, methane which are emitted by human activity such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, and water vapour. that cause climate changeClimate change is a lasting change in weather patterns over long periods of time. It can be a natural phenomena and and has occurred on Earth even before people inhabited it. Quite different is a current situation that is also referred to as climate change, anthropogenic climate change, or ....

At the top of the hit list is Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which targetsTarget period: For multi-year goals, a period of several consecutive years over which the mitigation goal is to be achieved. The last years of the goal period. Target year: For single-year goals, the year by which the goal is to be met. The last year of the goal period. Target year emissions: ... old coal-fired power plants and is the most visible symbol of the “regulatory overreach” from which Mr. Pruitt promised to deliver “the hard-working coal miners who help power America.” Those miners would be far better served by honesty and a serious effort to trainRail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods, by way of wheeled vehicles running on rails. It is also commonly referred to as train transport. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the ... them for a world in which coal plays an ever-smaller role.