Trump vows to help coal if elected president

Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE promised during Sunday night’s debate to help the coal industry, saying he would act as president to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from “killing” the sector.

“We are killing — absolutely killing — our energy businesses in this country, and I’m for alternative forms of energy, including wind, including solar, but we need much more than wind and solar,” he said.

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Trump said he supports “clean coal,” alluding to technologies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. Clean coal is expensive and not widely commercially available. 

He accused federal environmental regulators of hamstringing the coal industry.

“We have to guard our energy companies,” he said. “The EPA is so restrictive that they are putting our energy companies out of business.”

Coal has been in a steep decline amid decreasing demand and low natural gas prices.

Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPavlich: Mueller’s indictment of the media Poll shows 36 percent support Trump's reelection, 43 percent prefer generic Democrat How the Clinton machine flooded the FBI with Trump-Russia dirt … until agents bit MORE were asked Sunday about energy policy for the first time during their head-to-head contests this cycle. Both reiterated the positions they have laid out so far during the campaign, with Trump promising to support fossil fuels and rein in government regulations and Clinton saying she would create more renewable energy jobs and combat climate change. 

She called natural gas a “bridge fuel” between renewable energy and heavily polluting fuels like coal. She noted she has proposed a plan to pump money into economically-distressed coal communities around the country.

“I have a comprehensive energy policy, but it really does induce fighting climate change because I think that is a serious problem and I support moving toward clean, renewable energy as quickly as we can,” Clinton said.