Trump says he'll protect Ohio coal industry

Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner in the US presidential campaign, is standing in favour of the coal mining industry in Ohio.

At a rally in Dayton, OH on Saturday, the bombastic businessman took aim at the EPA's regulations targeting Ohio's coal and steel industry.

“They are a complete disaster, we are going to change things around,” Trump said ahead of the state's March 15 primary. “We have to protect your coal industry which is being decimated” by EPA regulations, he added. “And we have to protect your steel industry.”

The EPA reference is partly to the Clean Power Plan passed by the Obama Administration. Under the plan, new rules require that states lower their carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The regulations could mean some coal-fired power plants will have to shut down in order to meet the limits. The Clean Power Plan has been widely criticized by the US coal industry as kicking coal miners when they're already down from low prices and a global supply glut. According to federal data the industry has shed over 7,500 jobs in the last year, and a study in April of last year concluded that the industry lost 50,000 jobs between 2008 and 2012 due to increased regulatory initiatives as well as inexpensive natural gas which competes with coal.

"They are a complete disaster, we are going to change things around."

Ohio is one of 24 states that are challenging the Clean Power Plan in federal court.

In the United States, 42 coal companies had declared bankruptcy since 2012, as of last June, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.