Coal Stocks Get a Bump as Trump Signs Climate Executive Order

President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to roll back much of the Obama administration's efforts to combat climate change in hopes of spurring growth in energy jobs in the United States.

Trump signed the order at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he was joined by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Vice President Mike Pence and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The president celebrated the moment as a start to a "new era in American energy and production and job creation."

"The action I'm taking today will eliminate federal overreach, restore economic freedom, and allow our companies and our workers to thrive, compete and succeed on a level playing field for the first time in a long time," Trump said.

He addressed the 25 coal miners who attended the signing at the EPA office. "Come on, fellas. Basically, you know what this says? You know what it says, right? You're going back to work," he said.

Eleven industry leaders and 20 members of Congress were in attendance as well.

The order will mandate a review of the Clean Power Plan, a measure that restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants, and lift a 14-month-old moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. It also seeks to scrap regulations on methane emissions and fracking and White House guidance on incorporating climate change into federal projects.

CONSOL Energy (CNX) , one of the last big publicly-held coal pure-plays, rose 11.8%. The Pittsburgh-based firm's shares are off 17% since the beginning of 2017, but are up almost 50% from their year-ago level, at which time the market was discounting Trump's chances to win the presidency.

CONSOL caught the market's attention in February when Directors Alvin Carpenter and Bernard Lanigan, Jr. both doubled down on their bets in the company's shares. That was Carpenter's first open market purchase in over a year, aside from shares granted as compensation. Meanwhile, Lanigan made several purchases at that time, his first since he joined the board in 2015.

Shares of Arch Coal (ARCH) , the world's sixth-largest coal producer based on volume, rose 1.2% on Tuesday. Its shares are down 12.2% for the year-to-date. In October Arch exited Chapter 11 with more than $300 million of cash on its balance sheet after cutting its debt by 93%.

Peabody Energy (BTUUQ) , which is nearing an exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will likely look to relist sometime later this year, was up 10% on the over-the-counter market Tuesday following the announcement.

The Market Vectors-Coal ETF (KOL) was up about 1% for the day as Trump signed the order.

Trent Mell, president and CEO of Toronto-based First Cobalt Corp., said while the order will certainly have an effect on some companies in the short-term, in the long term, for many businesses, the cat is out of the bag in moving towards cleaner energy. "I don't think anything that the Trump administration can do is going to put the genie back in the bottle," he said.

The order was widely criticized by progressives and climate advocates concerned about its long-term effects.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said it represents an "existential threat" to the city. "We're already experiencing rising seas and hotter weather, with the last three years on record as the hottest yet. At the same time, the effects of climate change will fall disproportionately on our most vulnerable communities, exacerbating inequality," he said.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he will lead a coalition of 23 states, cities and counties opposing the order.

"Addressing our country's largest source of carbon pollution -- existing fossil fuel-burning power plants -- is both required under the Clean Air Act and essential to mitigating climate change's growing harm to our public health, environments, and economies," the coalition said in a statement. "We won't hesitate to protect those we serve -- including by aggressively opposing in court President Trump's actions that ignore both the law and the critical importance of confronting the very real threat of climate change."

-- Greg Morcroft and Tom Terrarosa contributed to this report.

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