February 27, 2018


In his recent State of the Union, President Trump claimed that “We have ended the war on American energy—and we have ended the war on beautiful, clean coal.” This has been a talking point for the president, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, and other politicians for several years. Is there any truth to the idea of a “war on coal”?

To mark the release of the Winter 2018 Issues in Science and TechnologyCharles Herrick and Ana Unruh Cohen discussed how US greenhouse gas regulations affect the coal industry and other energy sectors. They looked at what other factors have led to a decline in the country’s coal use, and how these forces might shape US energy production in the future.

NYU Washington, DC hosted this event as these experts explored past and present environmental regulations in the United States, and what the current situation means for the future.


Charles Herrick

Charles Herrick

Dr. Charles N. Herrick has consulted extensively with a wide range of US government agencies, providing analytical input and strategic direction on issues including climate change adaptation, acid rain, sustainable fisheries management, environmental indicators and public right-to-know, and control of invasive species. A leading expert in program evaluation, he designed program theories of change and evaluation frameworks to characterize a wide variety of program delivery mechanisms, process outputs, outcomes, and impacts for major foundations, government agencies, and nonprofit service-delivery organizations, including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Sloan Foundation, Health Canada, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control.

Ana Unruh Cohen

Ana Unruh Cohen

As the managing director of government affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the NRDC Action Fund, Dr. Ana Unruh Cohen is responsible for developing and guiding federal advocacy direction with the president’s administration and Congress. Before joining the organization in 2017, she worked for more than 13 years on Capitol Hill, focusing on energy and environmental policy. Most recently, she served as the director of energy, climate, and natural resources for Senator Edward J. Markey.

Unruh Cohen’s Hill experience also includes working as the deputy staff director of the Natural Resource Committee Democratic staff; the deputy staff director and chief scientist of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming; and a legislative assistant in then-Representative Markey’s personal office. In addition to her time in Congress, Unruh Cohen was also the first director of environmental policy at the Center for American Progress.

Unruh Cohen holds a bachelor’s in chemistry from Trinity University and received her PhD in earth sciences from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She is based in NRDC’s Washington, DC, office.