The Basin: Where coal is life, Trump seen as savior

In the coal town of Gillette, Wyoming, residents feel hopeful with Donald Trump in the White House, but experts urge caution.
43:32 | 05/18/17

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Transcript for The Basin: Where coal is life, Trump seen as savior
Yeah. I've worked in coal mine for thirty years. If I had my children as a single parent. Then. There's no job that I could do with college education. Paid me anywhere close to this. I raised my kids and give them good life. The company is lap and then I'll become. I'm heading out to that. Call mind to start my twelve hour days ships. Com on I swear it's seen as heroes. Energy production. And as the last administration. Their priority became renewables the entire public perception changed based on. So we've seen a lot of ups and downs and Angela but nothing like a last year that we had. Everything. Was so up in the air for our entire community. Coal miners do. But difficult and demanding. We like what we do and we are proud of what we do. I don't think people understand. What it looks like TV ads slamming coal mining. Someone thousands of miles from here where it could slip there light switch on and have no idea. It's because we work. In the coal mines in Wyoming. Most Americans do things Cole still comes from apple so they have that traditional idea of the underground coal miner. With the dirty face pick axed. Nicole really hasn't been mine life. Almost fifty. Since the majority of Cole's been coming out of modern minds. And Wyoming mining is very different as far fewer people involved as far more Mac and I. It's a different type of mining is actually open pit mining vs underground mind. Some people called the powder river basin kind of a freak of nature. The honorable invasive will be supported or. All he went home with no good life. Gold music world are. There are twelve. Nature minds in the powder river basin in Wyoming those top two each of those mines produced more coal than the entire state of West Virginia. On the river basin. That's foods. A war on earth won't boost that's lol so. So that's less well you know this fire. And were martyred polish off the surface. You know this old joke that all you need to mine in the powder river basin is a three. Work on the poster child for energy development council cold of course is always. We're here. Ranch south to let. Him in Lee. Founder basin. Kind of bone mineral capital of the world. From want to tell me. We've been here for the family house. Almost 200 years. Hopefully we'll be hearing from and I can. And who do. Stern just a condom in the tracks. Railroad. Then it kind of promoted itself to be you know count down. Then you had real room there and railroad needed cold. And that was. Kind of start. In a way it's a company town. In the way it's the boom town. Everybody knew that cools him hearing but they never imagined when. Come out to me. Here at the home state cold it bothered the mining of coal goes on spring summer fall and winter. Hundreds of tons of dirt are removed daily to expose the age old bad of coal their goal thousands of tons of coal. One of nature's greatest servants harnessed for the youth of man. The goal for light. Pulp and he. Community has a huge role here at Gillette and that's. Why we are involved in its as. I. It is best predominant employer of our community. We have oil ukrainians all it is natural gas and a lot of other minerals. And. The clean air our opinion in the late 1970s. Required existing power to control them. Sulfur dioxide and I'm cold in the very low in salt who really made news Wyoming very competitive. Then in the industry here has been. Just be the focal point of this community for at least the last 3040 years. Live didn't Gillette Wyoming citizens October 2000. Most of the people in this house are affected directly by home. Yeah buckskin hate being. This way. Pride and drugs or why. There to bio. Hunter yeah are you. Antelope it's cold creek. For narrow road Pope Paul the sounds of the. What I'm fine yeah. Let's ask. Colson who. And I think. The coal miner. Excited to dig into this. For Gillette. I mean staying cupcake. Most of the jobs are based around call us if you're not employed by apple company. You know someone who winds or. Here's somehow tied to one of the mine. Right. It was yeah. People come Dunn who forget there every day. Stress the commander of your time except when they miss a few pins but other nothing that people have very a good time. We're getting set up for our league tonight it's the cal portable in the morning some of the league members have been ominously loop. Are. Analyst definitely going. This week several creative ways to get on and it was full of our people now we're down to sixty. Fifteen teams and it's it's just went because of the economy. I actually took a year off of bullying and honestly literally imported. I spent five and half years that black and their coal mine until the layoffs last year in April. Com I was part of a mass. Layoffs in the powder river basin that was 500 in. Please some odd people in 24 hours. An asset I think was the black is darkest days still left and consequently you know all the other businesses that rely on the coal industries they had to lay off. We've lost all the bowlers through the layoffs we've lost some horrible hours we've source like. Closing your business one night a week was but you still have Aldridge. The ruling is favored union square in Rhode island city and it. Without us these years and having played a lot of their income mean they're knocking available anymore. I saw a guy spreads it got laid off. You know it was that was unheard of ten years ago a lot of people that we've worked list for multiple years. I've gotten let go. And in fact that a lot lot of people's morale was really down Passat see your friends opens things are pleased side job. Who's news Gary time and he didn't know from one week to the next if you're gonna keeping. Known around here Coles came. Call him hacks in town because it impacts everybody did. Build a whole community if you if you remove the source of that. You have nothing we can't take our livelihood is what makes our economy. Livable. I mean that's what drives our economy as a paid your taxes this will be his first tools. Our school week cuts. The complete victory class we don't have jobs as educators without the students and is good. Families don't have job in the coal miner where being even working that involves. I'd be real properties as you forty bowls of days three years ago and again on holidays now. When you see people leave your community because there's no jobs here it makes you. Puts a heavy burden on your shoulders feel like. What do we do deserve the. Yeah. Okay. Own ordinance. I think we'll see my life a little planning a new normal now this. I personally have a problem. Extremely high paid. Upper upper management. All companies they seem to what were. What I love most mindless people. And there why he continued because of the kind of work to street sense to me. We have to. We have seen. Take care of each other because. Our lives depend on snow we. Didn't come off famine. I I think we've let me have it expected some layoffs. But not to that extent it was devastation that I had never seen anything like I'd never seen full time employees laid off. I never expected it night and missed. A long time it was it's staggering to me I was. Sad I was sad for my friend's son Michael and. That's our free flu scare. Each family that we've been dramatically that we beautiful last week definitely not an hour our favorite live me. And how it's being. It is very good with little flags. Flu may. Diners. And your family. Outweighed. It was just didn't I hear this sound. This victory. My grandmother fit in it and we'll explain coming years and was laid off. Being asked you Lou again only and there are a short time he was also laid off. My two sons and lines clue where in supporting industries. Relayed knot. I'm telling you and you still live blocks and they struggled trying to figure out. You know what their next move was there anything on the intellect that they were going to be able to do. And our grandchildren and three of them electricity. And one of them is my daughters this weekend he didn't sound so. It but don't talk about that honestly. Hey there yeah. Accept so let's got a hanky. Ran out of the there's even a strong delay. Those other great things that community did too turnaround began there because it's. Extremely. We'll meet community. I would say it was a perfect storm last year wis low natural gas prices low oil. Prices. Hand it was one. Winter and not that hot summer so there wasn't much of the demand for coal plus price was slow and weak had. Obama administration. Putting on more regulations on industry. A lot of people who have worked in the mines out all their lives are you know even for a few years felt they were being vilified by the administration. So that that was really difficult for us because we are still doing the same. We're still some shipping out seem call and we're still powering the same power plants. But it would it felt different and it felt very personal and was it was personal to all of us because he felt not only attack on. What is our livelihood. But on whom we honor and what we do. President monolith and it was really. Really scheduled for people. They know what was happening. One of his platform and become an on. Was used in the shut down coal. You all over the last place and now back everybody. Anywhere from train to the coal miners to the power plant. When he had Hillary do it and then Hillary wanted to do notices saying. Lived in Gillette Wyoming since October 2000. I currently work as. Mean this electrician and Bel Air mind for contour coalesced. When it comes to driving the equivalent so the trucks are like driving a two story house. But it's no different than when your kid in the sandbox with your little plea deal for a always wanted to drive on you just didn't realize it was going to be that made us. Blacks have a daughter and my daughter's twelve. My son is eighteen. Didn't you can make any woman. I hope not to Oakland I I hope they actually what I do now I hope I provide a better future for them so they can do. Exactly what they were. A. My life has changed from when I was in the oilfield to. My life as a group and it's like I've got things that I never had before him. My birthday present to myself as a 12100 colored. With a is Beretta 92 but I sent an off to Wilson comment. On us. This. Was my presently so. Is Beretta 92 a one. Without coal mining I wouldn't have been able to purchase any of these. My daughter I got her her first hunting rifle. Last year on her birthday so she can come running with me. Last fall and when she got her first year she was very proud and it was a very proud dad this will be the imminent shooting on Saturday. But we do let's first I'd EPA match and a lot of rumor are actually coal miners. There are. As good as you. I. Last year was probably the worst year. Since I've been working at the mine. As far as morale being alone they've gone through walls wools in the coal industry and passed mostly because of market. But not because of an administration. Making there regulations. Enforcing their regulations. When he declared an oar and coal it did feel like a personal attack. Today we're here to announce. America's clean power plant a plan. To your asthma make. And the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change. President Obama tonight unveiling an aggressive new plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions tonight some Republicans vowing to fight the president's proposed rules. Claim this plan is a war on coal. To secure a polls. Communities across America been losing coal jobs for decades. I want to work with congress to help them. Not to use them as a political football. A factor. It would become a second order factor certainly hasn't helped some market competition has been the primary reason for recent coal production declines. Okay and the reason for that is basically the natural gas is much cheaper the fracking boom really kind of came on line and around 2008 maps when you started seeing a lot of natural gas production. The natural gas market. Begin to flood crisis began to plummet. And natural gas and coal compete with one another in the production of electricity in that decline in natural gas prices displace. Coal and in electricity production. But there are other reasons as well renewable generation has really increased in the past few years and that is also I'm displaced. Coal production of electricity. I'm the third thing is just the fact electricity market isn't growing. And so when a market is a growing. And have more sources kind of coming into the market. More cheaply renewables natural gas than you end up with less room for. Nice I'll put it on. But back. Here every men. I looked okay got a good to see I get elected. You're gonna see what happens it's gonna happen fast at madame. Miners get ready because it going to be working your asses off all right. While mean why's that highest percentage that voted for Tom when he started talking about just. Building back up the American economy and making sure that the American. People. Have some to be proud. That's what got me. Most of the Republicans here Angela. Yes they went for trial. They supported because they know Cole is lifeblood. I have spent a lifelong Democrat. I voted for Obama and his first term. Speaking on popular network but I have found lifelong Democrat and this year. I changed my party affiliation so that I could vote for try. For me personally was never anything trump said. He was what his opponents and. I'm the only candidate. Which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into cold country. Because we're got to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies. Out of business whether it was taken out of context not when Hillary Clinton came out and said. We are gonna put a lot of coal miners on board that felt very personal to us we have enough about. How can a president decide which. Businesses should survive and which ones should be put out of business and we felt like we were on the on the losing end of that. And I wouldn't call myself a trump supporter. And supporter of Wyoming Combs. We went from a downtown last. We had present presidential candidate that says that shut down coal mining to having any candidate. This is made on here with you and your fortieth. Avenue do so now know that whether that happens. With that didn't say they gave us the whole. A. Residents. Delivered and a number of key promises that he made during the campaign. And has. Stops in at the leading. It was pretty miserable in the coal industry under the Obama administration so we've certainly notice a difference with the trumpet. Ministry president trump taking swift action to roll back much of president Obama's climate change policies. The president signing a sweeping order today coal miner standing right beside him. My administration. Is putting an end to the war on coal. But so far the trump administration hasn't been able to do a lot they've been able to reverse some executive orders that the previous administration and it. It's it's much harder. Time to affect market. Conditions. With the stroke of pan and it is to change executive orders. On the election of the president really didn't change fundamental market conditions. Although it might change people's expectations of the future a little. We are. He had and sent. Well I think the people that work in the coal mines think that trump is going to be the answer to their prayers. I think they think he's going to you know bring back the jobs and it's gonna be just like the heyday. But I don't think that's gonna happen. I probably should keep my mouth shut and keep out of trouble booked. I think part Hillary's comment on mr. trump in very popular him than to let area was looked on played them. Praying to get the coal companies through bankruptcy. Then here comes somebody along tent for bankruptcies. And he still crafting in his gold toilet. I think that was part of the admiration that they hand forming. There are not very many Democrats and Campbell county we are two of them. We're just tell. Kind of go. Brand had an illegitimate and it really coming it has that and I think you need to. Royal day was born and raised here and stuff so. Came out then the rest is history we got married in. 1969 and so it's going to be 48 years this year we have four kids two girls to boys. My thanks for. We've. Inadvertently. And the sacrifice and number of things. My living here in. Coal sold. I don't dislike coal miners. I dislike cold. There's a big distinction and my mind anyway 1970s is when the big coal mines. Here started. From that point onward it has affected our grazing permits over there next to the coal mines also. No health of our cattle and can. I girl's. Guys like fittings. We've lost some are grazing. Over and neo thunder basin countries were the coal companies and discovered there's all kinds of good cold. With the cavs that we put over there. For many a year they would get sick really sick. The vets that coal dust pneumonia from breathing in the fold. Dust and coal dust and some years we lost a whole lot of cabs. We just don't like to take moms and babies over there anymore because. We have so much trouble with accounts. The Correll that we have over there. So I'm of metal asked them in the air and somebody from all of the paint off of the cool. I get to the point where you get frustrated with of them coal mining. My grandparents. Plan of the trees in here. Then before of the minds. Our Paul it was more water there was a lot lot of willows and hear him rose bushes along bank's country. Now that's goal. The big thing that's cool thing is done is reminding those who have taken in the water on the street. They've cut deals for so supplied the spring creek and now we'll. The springs are all dry. Spring waters will. Whenever it slowed in the spring. I've seen this creek here running well quarter of a mile wide. In the place or two in the drive time of year you would still have. Water. In the creek between the springs. Noon now I just totally gone there. The water situation is probably one thing that just made the biggest difference on us. Just the feel horrible because. Without water main tip leads the league you know we exist. You know. Water and crafts you know the cows. Drink the water need to grass produce the calf forests you know. And without water great right now we've had to drill wells. And pump wells. Because we can't depend on the water in the creek I told you the book hasher that are house's them. We couldn't use of the ball last summer because there is no water in it we don't have a well Obama pastor. It's want to little flying there isn't anything that you can do about it so. Virtually everyone. In the area is happy with the payrolls. And local minds and everything else. And Dole's move them thing. Don't like to think about it. That damages that are being done. Yeah. I. Mommy nights are very big outdoors people we love our outdoors we love. Hiking hunting fishing and so we want to keep our land has pristine and clean. As when you know our parents and grandparents were there. So when a coal mine comes here and well Rick we make sure they clean up after they leave. Reclamation is the process by which plan that has been mine is returned to a condition that is at least as good as if not better than it was before we are actually very admire mentally conscious. If you look at our reclamation plans most of the minds here in the powder river basins have we've actually gotten several awards because of the regulation. We've lived here. We wanted to be clean want to be put back the way that it was and we do a very good job of doing. And when you put it back to back to get the wildlife and comes back. Elk deer and bobcats coyotes and owls views from all those. We are stewards. Of our lands here and we take pride in and when we're done mining we put the land back and we hand it back to our farmers and ranchers in the wildlife. Do you think about that. BS. That's the. How many antelope were there before the coal mine. Months the question. There's a fuse that and learned to accommodate the activity but there's an author curtains. There he is too weak. You go over there and didn't see. Several hundred. Down low fares just a pile of game in the area. And now. Dwellers. They've got a few taken point say geez they were there. We're easy to get along with live Manilow. The L fact of the coal mine can girl film grass along. All able mine area it's tonight she's no doubt about it but. It doesn't replace the water. I'm gonna jump in here because I am strongly we need to get rid of them we need to stop burning coal. We need to go to renewables some very unpopular opinion around here but I think I hate coal hate the smell of coal. I think it's bad further our environments. And yes they're gonna lose some jobs but you know what people need to see the writing on the wall. We don't have the conversations with her neighbors about climate change because we know. That they will jump down are throats a lot of people do not believe in climate change in this state. They think it's it's fake news or something you know. And cold doesn't have anything to do with it and stuff sometimes you want to. Cry and then you have to laugh to. Survive it. My opinion and climate change this is enough facts we have and on the resource research and the test and gathered all the data to prove that its a act. Until this science is done better. Really skeptical Allen on whether we're contributing to due to global warming I think. And if they're truly is to do they're just need to be more better facts. That scene blood. Or to pools. Read about an article. Boats conditions. Bugs. But it seems like. Gripping article in the desert throat. In other words blitzes full. Are. CU nations visited at climate change global warming. No and. Community that studies or science there are warned that 19%. On that arc and managed. That indeed she went activity that's kind kind. It's and I. I'm starting greenhouse gasses and in particular so YouTube for decades. And not as if we've put more of these gases in the atmosphere won't. That would otherwise go to space. Will be absorbed and thinking this is there is well established physics. So first of what we know that humans have in who used to being out. Access to apathy. So you feel is currently higher than it hasn't been it's been a thousand years this is an arm problems include resident I spores. Artists not only is occurring and there have been turned. The number of today's increase actually global independent after. Man what's happening. I natural causes. So it's send off the field forthcoming Ellison's. And not me she was coming Enron's so when are we doing something to earth. And that there's drinking there's. This doesn't mean Japan. Intact ecosystems. But basically. This life livable. For a long time poll has been the me contributor. Who emissions. I'll see you two have contributes 44%. Of also the munitions problem that word. Cash. A. It's not an issue of good wolf it's just looking at evidence. And making conclusions based evidence. There is going to be. Regulation of carbon in the future there's no question that. Therefore in a today the only technology that we're aware. That would substantially address people's concerns that climates here too is carving captured. So carbon caps. To create electricity. Carbon capture is right at its smallest steps. From the industrial aspect directly behind me it is what is going to be. And integrated test Danner it will probably. Take that next. And 120 years. To perfect such things so carbon capture it's still speculative at this point. How successful that that can be and we have not baby cash that this stale. And milk maybe Tony years for leaning right to do business in the meantime wind and solar. Will continue to get cheaper I don't know if the funniest me just say it shouldn't just. Go to the nobles right away. We'll be chemical producers and environmentalist I'm sure there's a lot of animosity there's a lot of frustration. Environmental swung shut us down Kohl wants to keep producing. But wants this educate them but they're not accepting the education. So yeah there's a lot of frustration with. It's just like anything is like doing a three year old a lot of times kinda stubborn so there are ways. I think. Everybody both coal producers. And in my terminals can do this. Talk to each other sit down. Take the time to learn before you satcher judge. You think you have to be physically. The fence. Coal miners physical industry stays strong. And now probably stay here. If not may be forced to move fine work. Heavy build up. I was hoping this is going to be. So. Not real happy if I have to. You gotta do what you gotta do. As far as where I see myself going in the future I'm hopefully it's there right here with the job. But. Until then go and enjoy it while us. We can. Co exist with renewables. And I think there's a place for cool on I think there's a place. For that and in our country and of course is missing around. Coal miners are tired. And intelligent. Hardworking. And employable and adaptable. We've gone through so much. To get. Where we're at in the coal industry. I could see it. The miners doing anything they want. Comparing. Back. They have I don't cook. Currencies was due. She could. Car accident. When your daughter certainly. It's for and. I wouldn't want my grandchildren to be minors it's hard life and it's demanding and it's. It's it's hard on families. I missed a lot of things that my kids to because. I worked night shifts. Sign that some school programs and and Kelsey help me raise my son in seven years younger so it it was a typical life and and I would like them to have something that was. Less difficult and less demanding on their personal lives and want and how often work that hard. To music. Fairly quickly. And our panelists I believe and I people that I was sad and so it is time. Tell where. Sundays. Are easy wish list for the most part. News.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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