As President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday easing environmental regulations, he said to coal miners standing nearby: "You know what it says, right? You're going back to work.
But it's not quite that simple.
The announcement could have mixed effects in Ohio, where cheap natural gas, mechanization and competitive renewable technologies have contributed to an industry-wide move away from coal.
"That's going to happen no matter what. That's just economics," said Brent Sohngen, an environmental and resource economist at Ohio State University.
"The fact is places like Ohio were getting dramatically cleaner anyways. This just makes it 10 percent slower, 20 percent slower."
Brent is a colleague here at Ohio State. He is also conservative (for an academic environmental economist), studies climate change, and has won a Nobel Prize*.
*Nobel Peace Prize...along with 1500 of his close colleagues as a member of the IPCC writing team.