Yesterday's Bloomberg News essentially sums up what I found in researching that question:
He can roll back regulations, slash government jobs, pull out of global treaties and strip the tax benefits from renewable energy. But can Donald Trump make coal great again?
Probably not, say energy industry leaders and analysts.
The article then goes on to explain what industry leaders (including Robert Murray) and analysts said.
John Kemp, writing for Reuters examined coal's future:
Donald Trump's election has thrown an apparent lifeline to beleaguered coal producers but he may not be able to do much to revive the fortunes of the industry.
The U.S. coal industry has been a victim of the shale revolution and the enormous quantities of cheap gas that have been unleashed by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
There is not much a future Trump administration can do to protect coal producers, who have mostly been the victim of economic forces rather than politics and the Obama administration's "war on coal".
Over at Forbes, Tim Worstall, a free market true-believer who confesses to having voted for Trump, wrote earlier today:
There are some things that Donald Trump will be able to achieve when President-elect morphs into President. No doubt he won’t actually manage all of those things, no one ever does. One of the things that he won’t be able to achieve however is bringing back a thriving coal industry to West Virginia and other hollowed out areas of Appalachia. On this point it doesn’t matter whether he cares, whether he was making true promises, whether he’ll try, it’s just that economics is stronger than politics. And the economics here says that coal is just not about to make a major comeback. And if it does, at some future date, it’s going to be easier fields and deposits that get exploited.
Environmental Leader which carries "environmental & energy management news" has Ken Silverstein answering the question "Are Glory Days Here Again for Coal?"
Donald Trump’s surprise victory on election night is seemingly good news to both the natural gas and coal industries, which would have fewer regulations on drilling. However, that’s where there mutual interest stops. Under the Obama administration, natural gas been the bridge to get an energy economy built on renewables. To the point, it has been replacing coal and has thus led to significantly lower carbon emissions.
“Even if Trump were able to magically get rid of all coal regulations, he’d still have to find a way to reverse market trends,” writes Matt Goldberg, of the Third Way think tank. “This would require Trump to either tax natural gas for its success or hand out money to the coal industry to make coal more competitive.
He concludes that:
coal may get a second wind but it’s glory days are still behind it. Not even Donald Trump can change that.
These are not "radical environmentalist" publications -- they are mostly bottom-line business publications. In my travels around the Web, it was difficult to find any economist who believed that coal has a long-term future even with Trump as president. Despite his promise to put miners back to work and make coal great again, there doesn't appear to be any evidence that it's going to happen. And so on election day West Virginians overwhelmingly voted for a candidate's promise that can't or won't be kept and rejected one who might have forced us to come to grips with our economic future. Sadly, Trump's election victory nationwide has delayed that inevitable day when West Virginians finally realize that the state must move on. Despite what most West Virginian voters probably believe, Trump's win was the worst thing that happened to the state on Tuesday.