Many coal plants have already started or even finished transitioning into natural gas plants to stay alive, even though the Trump administration is trying to bolster support for the coal industry. Coal isn't the moneymaker it used to be. In 2008, the U.S. got about half its power from coal, but that's now fallen to 31 percent. And of the roughly 700 coal plants operating in the U.S., 122 are more expensive to run than alternative energy sources, and 163 are scheduled for closure or conversion to natural gas.
Class discussion: Should the government try to keep coal power plants going? Why or why not? President Trump promised to bring back jobs in the coal industry. Is that possible? How many Americans are employed in coal mining? How many are employed in renewable energy? Why is natural gas replacing coal? What has made natural gas much cheaper than it once was? What are the different impacts on the environment and human health by coal, natural gas and renewable energy?