Montanan coal may be subject to retaliation after President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs.
Coal country has benefited from a surge in exports to growing economies like those in Latin America and Asia, but some of those countries have hinted at the idea of imposing their own tariffs on American coal.
Tariffs on exported coal are not the only way that coal country might lose revenue in the deal. Brazil is one of the largest exporters of American coal and uses metallurgic coal, or met coal, to make their steel. If the steel industry in other countries are damaged by tariffs on their exports to the U.S., then the coal-mining operations exporting to those countries may see a decline in demand.
Coal has suffered recently due to competition with natural gas and renewable energy and cities like Colstrip are already facing partial plant closures due to a wind-down in coal demand.