coal

Mending Mining Country: Three Ways Trump Could Help Miners And Coal Communities

May 16, 2017
From White House video

At a March ceremony to sign an executive order reversing Obama-era environmental regulations, coal miners were arranged on stage around President Donald Trump as he took up his pen.

“You know what it says, right?” Trump asked the miners. “You’re going back to work.”

From his campaign rallies to White House events, President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with coal miners and promised to restore their collapsed industry.


Can coal make a comeback? That’s the title of a new report from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

Researchers there analyzed the factors leading to the coal industry’s sharp decline over the past six years and assessed the Trump administration’s efforts to revive it.  


How Asian Politics Could Affect U.S. Coal

Apr 12, 2017
Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

With Australia coping with the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and China turning back imports of coal from North Korea this week as apparent punishment for missile tests, U.S. coal exporters are hoping for a boost.

But analysts aren’t predicting a coal comeback. 


Benny Becker - Ohio Valley ReSource

Danny Ferguson didn’t like what he saw happening in Lincoln County, West Virginia, where he grew up. The downturn in the coal industry had hit hard, and young people had few job options beyond some fast food places.

“We don’t have nothing else for them to be employed,” Ferguson said. “Lincoln County is in bad shape and Coalfield seemed like the only one willing to take a chance in that area.”

Owensboro Municipal Utilities is switching to a different source of energy after more than 100 years of burning coal.

There’s a lot of talk - and hope - among some Kentucky residents that coal will make a comeback. But Owensboro Municipal Utilities says it’s seen the writing on the wall and coal will be completely phased over the next six years. 

Sonya Dixon is a spokeswoman for OMU.

“This is a monumental change in the way that OMU has done business. You know, we have burned coal for the last 117 years and obviously, this is a shift, but we feel it’s a positive one in the best interest of our customers.” 

Lawmakers in both Kentucky and West Virginia are working to loosen mine safety regulations. From the Ohio Valley ReSource, Glynis Board has details.

Kentucky.com

A bill changing the mine inspection requirements emerged from the Senate Natural Resources Committee Wednesday. The measure offers flexibility to the State Division of Mine Safety in carrying out its inspection duties. Charles Snavely, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary, explained the bill.

“The proposed statute maintains the six required inspections annually, but it allows the division, actually the commissioner, to replace up to three of those inspections with mine safety analyst visits.” 

Trump's EPA Pick Questioned In Confirmation Hearing

Jan 19, 2017
West Virginia Public Broadcasting/Associated Press

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt faced questions from Senators in his confirmation hearing Wednesday. 


Benny Becker - Ohio Valley ReSource

At the age of 38, a coal miner named Mackie Branham Jr. was diagnosed with progressive massive fibrosis, a debilitating and terminal form of an illness that was supposed to be a disease of the past — black lung. But Branham is among many miners afflicted by a resurgence in the disease, and officials are just beginning to realize the scope of the problem. A review of health clinic records shows roughly a thousand such cases, many times more than federal officials had thought existed.

 

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth

Some 10,000 signatures were delivered to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s London office Monday asking the majority leader to support the Miner’s Protection and Reclaim acts.

Coal's Role in Kentucky Elections

Nov 8, 2016
Washington Post

As Ohio Valley ReSource's Jeff Young reports, support for the ailing coal industry motivated voters in key races across the Ohio Valley region. 

Key races across Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia went to candidates who showed strong support for coal.

Ex-Coal CEO Blankenship Argues He's Wrongly Imprisoned

Oct 26, 2016
Ashton Marra/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday in the appeal by former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. Blankenship was convicted last year of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws in connection with a 2010 disaster at a West Virginia mine.

As reporter Ashton Marra, of the Ohio Valley ReSource, tells us, the panel of judges focused on just one of four of Blankenship’s arguments to overturn his conviction.

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch/NPR

(Note: This is one of two stories on this topic produced as part of a collaborative effort between The Ohio Valley ReSource and NPR)

The Democratic candidate for governor in West Virginia has never held public office. Jim Justice is instead running on his record as a businessman. He runs coal mines, farms, and a luxury resort, andaccording to Forbes, he’s also the wealthiest person in the state, worth $1.56 billion.  

Kenn W. Kiser, morgueFile.com

Coal-producing states are preparing for arguments next month in the federal appeals court case known as West Virginia v. EPA, challenging the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  

The case has major implications for the country’s policy on climate change. But some experts and industry leaders say the outcome is not likely to bring coal back from its decline in the power market.

 

Diversifying Power 

kentucky.com

The U.S. Department of Labor is funding a grant that will help some coal miners in Eastern Kentucky as WEKU’s Brian Burkhart reports.

As coal restrictions and diminishing reserves have left thousands of miners without jobs, the grant of 3.4 million dollars will help retrain those affected by the job losses.    


Focus On Business: Bill Bissett on Kentucky Coal

Feb 8, 2016

Near the end of 2011, about 19,000 people were employed by Kentucky coal mines and preparation plants.  By this past October, the number for all of Kentucky was down to about half that.  The decline was worse than that in the Eastern coalfields.  Nationwide, production dropped as much as 10% in this past year and companies have been filing for bankruptcy.  Tom Martin discussed these issues with Dr. Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association.  

Lexington Herald-Leader

  On this week’s show, we'll discuss the downturn in Eastern Kentucky coal mining, other challenges to the mining industry and hopes to rejuvenate or replace this important element of the Commonwealth's economy.