PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Remember Candidate Trump campaigning here in western Pennsylvania?
“Producing more American energy is a central part of my plan,” Trump declared at one event. “I’m going to lift the restrictions on American energy.”
And who can forget his promise to put coal miners back to work and promote natural gas drilling.
“And we’re going to start making things in Pennsylvania again,” he declared.
On Election Day, Trump carried every county but one in western Pa., the key to his winning the state of Pennsylvania.
On Friday, KDKA political editor Jon Delano sat down for an exclusive interview with former Texas governor and now Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and asked the key question.
Delano: “You’re the guy who has to deliver…”
Delano: “… on some of the promises that the President made last year. So how do you see things going?”
The first topic was coal.
“When you’re being strangled, the first thing you’d like to see is for them to take the pressure off your throat,” said Perry.
That, says Perry, is what the administration is doing through regulatory reform.
But he also noted that energy labs like the National Energy Technology Laboratory in South Park are also experimenting on cleaner ways to burn coal.
“The emissions are low because of the high temperatures, the high pressure that they’re able to use in the plant,” noted Perry.
“This is an economically viable plant.”
As for natural gas fracking, Perry says watch for growth.
His approach to permitting is the same he used in Texas.
“Here’s the rules. You meet the rules. Here’s your permit. It should be that straightforward.”
Already, says the Secretary, we’re “seeing some real results.”
President Trump has only been in office for six months, so it’s really too early to judge whether he’s kept his promises to western Pennsylvania.
But in the end, in the long run, it really will depend on Energy Secretary Perry as to whether those promises are truly kept.