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Clinton: Steel can come back, but coal ‘is a different issue’

Clinton: Steel can come back, but coal ‘is a different issue’
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhy does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Republican legislators target private sector election grants How Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 MORE is optimistic about reviving the American steel industry, but she told a Pennsylvania TV station the task will be harder with coal. 

Speaking to Pittsburgh’s KDKA on Saturday, Clinton said “coal is a different issue” because there’s no clear path for increasing its production and using it for clean energy.

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“We’ve got to figure out: Is there a technology that can create clean energy from coal?” she said. 

Clinton supports spending more on carbon capture and sequestration technology, a way to burn coal for electricity while also reducing carbon emissions. 

But the technology is expensive and not yet used in the United States. She told KDKA that traditional coal industry communities are going to need to reinvent themselves and move beyond mining. 

“We can do that with infrastructure, with advanced manufacturing. We can do that with clean energy,” she said. “So I’m excited because there are lots of examples of what’s working.

Clinton and vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats back up Biden bid to return to Iran nuclear deal Overnight Defense: Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers | Diversity chief at Special Operations Command reassigned during probe into social media posts Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers MORE (D-Va.) took a bus tour through rural Pennsylvania over the weekend to try appealing to the blue-collar, middle-class voters that have flocked to Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE so far this year. Trump has promised to help industries like steel and coal, but he hasn’t offered many policy specifics on how to do that. 

Coal has been hit hard by declining demand due to the rise of cheap natural gas and, the industry says, government regulations; the American steel industry is suffering through weak global demand and potentially unfair trade practices from China.     

Of steel, Clinton said, “We can certainly bring back steel jobs because once we really handle the unfair trade practices that have undercut our steel industry, causing layoffs and plant closures, we’re going to make it really clear to the rest of the world we’re not sitting by and watching our steel industry go any further down.”