While coal production is most commonly thought of as occurring in the western United States and Appalachia, there is significant coal production in the interior of the US, including a swath extending from Texas through the Great Plains and Midwest all the way to Canada.
The United States Geologic Survey (USGS) breaks the Interior of the United States up into four regions: Texas (which includes some of Louisiana), Eastern Interior (Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky), Western Interior (Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas), and Mississippi (Mississippi and Arkansas).
May 28, 2014
When the Obama administration began the push for restricting the pollution being released from coal plants, one of the nation’s heaviest coal polluters alleged that they would face devastating consequences as a result.
Three years later none of these allegations have occurred. Instead, the Homer City power plant is now a success story on how some of the dirtiest and oldest coal power plants can lower their pollution levels in accordance with the EPA rules. Not only will the plant in western Pennsylvania meet the new restrictions but also they will be doing this without increasing the electricity bills for their consumers.
May 15, 2014
Another coal miner was killed on the job while working at the MC No.1 Mine in Franklin County, Illinois. The incident happened on Wednesday when the coal miner became trapped between a machine and a coal rib at the Sugar Camp Energy complex.
This is the second fatality at this complex in less than seven months and the sixth mine fatality in 2014 according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
May 5, 2014
A “trench warfare” is beginning in at least 18 state capitals across the country between industry groups looking to prevent further regulations looking to curb greenhouse gas emissions and a new and formidable opponent in the renewable-energy interest lobby. Companies such as Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries and major coal companies such as Duke Energy and Peabody energy are joining together in attempts to preempt the EPA’s power plant rules.
Places such as Kansas, which have traditionally relied on fossil fuels as a key in economic stability, have recently become a battleground for wind proponents and renewable energy advocates. What were once bastions for coal interest lobbies and other fossil fuel advocates are now ripe battlegrounds for the clash of well-funded renewable energy and fossil fuel interest groups.
Read article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/a-battle-is-looming-over-renewable-energy-and-fossil-fuel-interests-are-losing/2014/04/25/24ed78e2-cb23-11e3-a75e-463587891b57_story.html
April 24, 2014
After the devastating February 2nd spill that released toxic sludge for over 70 miles on the Dan River, Duke Energy is under pressure to remove all coal ash that borders North Carolina’s rivers and lakes. Environmental groups are citing the need for Duke Energy to remove all of their coal ash to lined landfills in order to avoid the environmental degradation that occurred on the Dan River.
Duke Energy is alleging that this removal of coal ash would cost over $10 billion dollars and take decades to clean up. Furthermore, Duke Energy has stated that the majority of these costs for paying for coal ash clean up would come from its electricity customers.
April 21, 2014
The Powder River Basin in 2013 listed the top nine coal producing mines in the United States. However, the amount of mines in the Powder River Basin situated in the top twenty five highest producing mines shrinked as compared to twenty years ago.
The decline in the amount of Powder River Basin mines being in the top twenty-five is the result of large mining projects taking hold in New Mexico, Texas, Indiana and Ohio. Nevertheless, the scale of coal production in the Powder River Basin’s Black Thunder mine and the North Antelope Rochelle mine are the largest producing coalmines with growths as high as 400% since 1994.
April 18, 2014
Murray Energy Corporation stated Wednesday that the coal giant will no longer provide medical coverage for the over 1,200 retirees who worked for Consol Energy. Murray purchased Consol’s five West Virginia coal mines 16 months ago.
The termination of medical coverage will impact 1,200 former Consol Energy coal miners and 161 households in Pennsylvania alone. Murray Energy has cited this decision as a response to the struggling coal industry facing proposed regulatory reforms, legal actions and the growth of the Natural Gas industry.
April 17, 2014
Rainforest Action Group, BankTrack and the Sierra Club today released a report that Barclays and Citigroup are the top funders for dangerous coal practices. Barclays has been cited as the top funder of mountain top removal while Citigroup comes in as the top funder for power utilities that burn coal for electricity.
The report also highlighted that JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. have significantly reduced the amount of funding for mountaintop removal. This is an improvement for JPMorgan which last year was cited as being one of the top funders of coal related projects.
April 13, 2014
Forbes discusses the challenges faced by the coal industry in dealing with regulatory and legal battles that are likely to curtail expansion. With the boom in the natural gas industry, coal companies are facing decreased demand and the need to retrofit their operations to meet the upcoming carbon limits or shut down.
Companies such as Consol Energy are selling coalmines (5 by Consol) in order to become more active in the natural gas market. Additionally major players in the coal industry (American Electric, Duke, First Energy and Southern) are being forced to shut down coalmines because of natural gas competition, regulatory carbon limits and upcoming legal battles.
April 10, 2014
National Geographic discusses the argument that clean coal is nothing more than a myth. The article discusses the idea of capturing the CO₂ and how long can these deposits actually store the carbon dioxide.
There is evidence from leading Geophysicists that often, the injection of the carbon dioxide is put into reservoirs with brittle rock. This leads to small earthquakes, which cause cracking in the overlying shale rock and leads to CO₂ leaking from the storage facilities.
Read article at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/coal/nijhuis-text
March 27, 2014
A coal miner from Indiana was killed while working at the Gibson Mine owned by Alliance Resource Partners. This is the third coal mining related fatality of the 2014 calendar year.
The victim was working on an Auxier Welding Inc. belt feeder when the cat frame pivoted upward and pinned the victim between the cat track and the frame of the feeder.
February 4, 2014
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released findings related to coal leasing and the need for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to enhance the appraisal process. GAO found that the BLM consistently failed to explain the rationale for accepting bids for coal leasing on federal land that at least initially were far below the actual fair market value presale estimates.
The report stated that the state offices of the BLM did not allow independent review of these leasing agreements with coal companies. Additionally, GAO cited that the BLM failed to take advantage of an independent third party appraisal within the Department of the Interior (Office of Valuation of Services). Lastly, GAO was highly critical of the BLM’s failure to provide even limited information to the public on federal coal leasing.
Read article at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-140
See document at http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/659801.pdf
May 31, 2011
The results of the April 2011 MSHA “impact” inspections have been announced, resulting in a total of 161 citations and orders being issued against eight different coal mining operations. All cited mines were in the eastern region of the US, including Shoemaker and Randolph in West Virginia, the No. 2 and #68 mines in Kentucky, as well as one mine in each of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama.
Among the worst offenders in the sweep were the Vision Coal’s No. 2 mine, which received 37 citations and orders that documented (among other things) that Vision wasn’t properly drilling bore holes to test for methane, and that it was creating a risk of a collapse by not following its ceiling reinforcement plan. Inman Energy’s Randolph mine received 25 citations, 21 of which were the most serious “S&S” citations indicating an immediate danger to the mining crew. The impact inspections grew out of an increased enforcement push by MSHA after the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine. Impact inspections target mines that have a history of violations.
Read article at http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2011/05/31/msha-announces-results-of-latest-inspection-sweeps/ and http://www.wfpl.org/2011/06/01/two-kentucky-mines-cited-in-msha-inspections/. Read MSHA press release at http://www.msha.gov/MEDIA/PRESS/2011/NR110531.asp See the list of inspected mines at http://coaldiver.org/documents/master-inspection-list-targeted-enforcement-msha-april-2011
Reports from MSHA Office of Accountability reviews of MSHA inspectors in regions 3 and 4.
Reports from MSHA Office of Accountability reviews of MSHA inspectors in region 8.
Part 1 of 2: /documents/msha-internal-audits-region-8-2010
Part 2 of 2: /documents/msha-internal-audits-region-8-part-2-of-2-2010
Reports from MSHA Office of Accountability reviews of MSHA inspectors in region 9.
Reports from MSHA Office of Accountability reviews of MSHA inspectors in region 10.
Summary of coal safety and health, released by WikiLeaks. Report RL34429
Document summarizing geology of arsenic in coal and its significance in mining and burning.
A public information booklet about coal mine subsistence, what it is, its effects and the concept of “planned” subsistence. Circular 573
PowerPoint summarizing what is proposed in the related rule, a series of new regulations designed to decrease the prevalence of black lung disease in coal miners.