The industry divide mirrors the broader split within the administration over the global climate deal.
By Andrew Restuccia
Murray Energy General Manager Kevin Hughes and President Donald shake hands in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Feb. 16.
The coal industry is divided over whether President Donald Trump should pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement — with some producers hoping they could gain some economic leverage if he chooses to stay.
The top three U.S. coal producers — Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and Cloud Peak Energy — indicated in recent meetings with White House officials that they would not publicly object to sticking with the international accord, particularly if the administration can secure more financial support for technology to reduce pollution from the use of coal, according to industry officials and sources close to the administration.
Some Trump administration officials have been flirting with such a strategy.
But that approach faces resistance from others in the industry, such as Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, mirroring the broader split within the administration over the global climate deal.
Peabody, Arch and Cloud Peak hope to see their policy priorities reflected in the reworked domestic climate plan that the Trump administration would probably submit if it decides to stay in the 2015 Paris deal, the sources said. Together the three companies mine more than 42 percent of the coal produced in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration.
Arch spokeswoman Logan Bonacorsi praised the administration for reconsidering former President Barack Obama's climate change regulations for power plants and focusing instead on "driving progress on advanced, low-emissions fossil fuel technologies that will provide far greater benefits over time," but she did not directly address the company's position on the international deal.