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Coal applauds Trump's focus on industry challenges during 2nd debate

The morning after a contentious second , coal advocatespraised Republican candidate Donald Trump for his heavy focus during the finalmoments of the event on the challenges facing the industry.

"It's not hard to figure out why Mr. Trump is doing sowell with coal families as he talks about jobs and ensuring coal has a place infilling America's future energy needs since it is our most affordable andabundant fuel source," Ohio Coal Association President Christian Palichsaid.

Trump's comments about the coal industry came in response toa question about how the candidates intend to meet the nation's energy needswhile remaining environmentally conscious and protecting fossil energy jobs.

"I think it's such a great question, because energy isunder siege by the Obama administration," Trump said. "Underabsolutely siege. The [U.S.] EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, is killingthese energy companies."

Trump has made the rollback of EPA regulations a centralcomponent of his energy policy throughout his campaign, including calls tolimit the reach andinfluence of the agency as a means of spurring economic growth.

Trump's response also echoed the industry stance on what hasweighed on the sector in recent years, with most placing much of the blame onObama administration policies. A Hillary Clinton victory in November, theyfeel, would be a continuation of those same policies.

"He is aware that everything that has been negativelydone to the industry for eight years has been administrative, without includingCongress or anyone, for that matter," said West Virginia Coal AssociationPresident Bill Raney. "He's aware of the tremendous progress that has beenmade with emission reductions from coal-fired electric generators over the pastseveral years."

While his response called for broader energy assistance,Trump specifically addressed the downturn in coal-producing states like Ohio,Pennsylvania and West Virginia, promising to "bring energy companiesback."  

"Hillary Clinton wants to put all the miners out ofbusiness," he said. "There is a thing called clean coal. Coal willlast for 1,000 years in this country."

Industry supporters continued the attack on Clinton'sposition the day after the debate, with Murray Energy Corp. President and CEO Bob Murray callingthe candidate a "disaster."

"Hillary Clinton has no plan for the coal industry —she has no plan for low-cost electricity for America," Murray said duringa television appearance. "She's all about windmills and solar panels."

Murray reiterated Trump's call for the use of "cleancoal," arguing that the necessary technology exists to reduce emissions,but lacks the support to put it in place. When asked to expand on Trump'sappeal for "clean coal" support, the campaign's Ohio office — whereMurray is headquartered — could not be reached for comment.

Coal sector supporters also took issue with Clinton'sresponse to the question, which included a call for a $30 billion package for coalcommunities impacted by the industry downturn, calling it "welfare"or tantamount to accepting unpopular federal policies.

"I can tell you, these folks don't want HillaryClinton's welfare," Murray said. "They want jobs."

Praising what he called positivity about the future of coalfrom Trump, Raney dismissed Clinton's proposal, which she initially presentedearly in her campaign.

"She wants to give the miners a government check whenwhat they really want, and all the supporting jobs as well, is to have a job,the job they had before Obama took office," Raney said.

Coal and other energy issues were absent from the firstpresidential debate, but emerged during the vice presidential debate whenRepublican candidate Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, mentioned the impactof the administration's "war on coal" four times during the first 20minutes of the event.

The final debate will be held on Oct. 19 at the Universityof Nevada in Las Vegas.