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As the coal industry recovers from eight years of attacks from the Obama Administration, the federal government should not be picking winners and losers in the marketplace or creating benefits for certain regions over others.

That was the message U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, and Representative Liz Cheney, all R-Wyo., sent in a letter to President Trump today.

The delegation was voicing their objections to a proposal by Governor Justice of West Virginia to provide a $4.5 billion annual subsidy to  eastern coal producers. The proposal would provide a $15-per-ton subsidy to utilities that purchase eastern coal over coal produced in western states, such as Wyoming. 

“We strongly urge you not to take actions, such as adopting the subsidy policy proposed by Governor Justice, that would repeat the mistakes of the last eight years,” the Wyoming delegation wrote in a letter to Trump. “Now is the time to remove distortions in our energy markets. We should not be imposing new ones.”

The delegation noted that Wyoming Powder River Basin coal is the best, cleanest-burning coal in the world and already produces roughly forty percent of the coal mined in this country, with more than 170 million tons of Wyoming coal being shipped to power plants east of the Mississippi in 2016. According to the delegation, the best way to help coal miners throughout the country is by continuing the regulatory relief the Trump Administration has already provided that will allow American coal to compete in a free market.

“It would be devastating for our coal miners and their families if your administration chose to pursue policies that harmed them by distorting our energy markets,” the delegation wrote. “We know there are many additional policy steps underway at the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and elsewhere that will truly benefit the coal industry nationwide and we will work diligently to provide whatever assistance we can to facilitate the right kind of policy choices.”

Click here for copy of the letter.