Donald Trump signed a new anti-labor law Thursday that will protect coal jobs in the face of a massive economic collapse and the threat of global warming.
The law, known as the America-First Act, gives Congress five years to decide whether to approve the legislation, which Trump signed in the Oval Office.
The bill requires all new coal mining jobs in Trump’s new coal-dependent states to be outsourced to countries with lower labor costs and less environmental concerns, while keeping the coal companies’ top executives in the United States.
Trump has said he will sign the bill.
“If you’re going to create jobs in America, you’ve got to have competition,” Trump said at the signing.
The administration is also expected to issue a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. coal industry that will give states more leeway in environmental and workplace protections and give them a new tool to fight pollution from coal mines, according to the memo obtained by Politico.
The memo from the Department of Labor, however, does not provide specific details about how that would work.
It does not say whether states will be able to negotiate with the Trump administration on their own with the goal of avoiding environmental or workplace regulations, or whether they will be required to adopt federal rules.
The coal industry and its allies are hoping the administration will take a softer approach to the coal industry, and they’ve been lobbying to block the bill from moving forward.
Trump signed the legislation into law with a thumbs up from his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also serves as his top adviser.
The Trump administration has said that it will only enforce the new coal law if states can show that they have taken steps to comply with the law.
The move comes as the Trump Administration has already faced backlash from environmental groups for its environmental policies, including its decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
Trump’s decision to sign the new anti and anti-pipeline legislation was hailed by some environmental groups as a win for the coal and pipeline industries.
The United States is one of the few nations that does not have a binding climate treaty.
“The Trump administration is doing what it can to stop the dangerous trend of climate change and protect our precious water, air and soil,” said Mark Holden, president of the Sierra Club.
“By protecting our country’s clean water and clean air, this new anti–pipelines bill will ensure that Americans will never again face the devastating impacts of climate disruption on the future of our planet.”