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Most recent coal mining news items

Another Illinois miner killed on the job

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).

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Powder River Basin Coal: Unions Getting the Squeeze

May 14, 2014

Union workers are facing dire prospects in maintaining their unions in the Powder River Basin coal-mines. Of the 16 coal-mines operating in the Powder River Basin, only 3 are still unionized. Additionally all 3 of these remaining unions primarily work on reclaiming mined land, rather than on high volume producing coal mines.

This shrinking of unionization in the Powder River coal beds highlights the goal of the coal companies to keep the union out of the highest grossing and most productive mines.

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Two miners killed at Boone County operation

May 13, 2014

Two coal miners working for Patriot Coal died Monday evening while working at Patriot’s Brody Mine No. 1 in Boone County, West Virginia. This brings to the total of five coal miners dying nationwide on the job so far this year.

Eric D. Legg, 48 and Gary P. Hensley, 46 were both “retreat mining” in that they remove coal pillars in the mine that hold up the roof. In this instance, the roof collapsed on top of both workers and neither coal miner survived.

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Montana lawmaker criticizes Washington’s coal-power plan

May 12, 2014

Washington state recently proposed to curb carbon pollution by eliminating imports of coal-fired power. Though coal only accounts for 13 percent of Washington’s electricity, coal accounts for almost 80 percent of the Washington utilities’ emissions of carbon dioxide.

In response, U.S. Representative Steve Daines has directly addressed Washington governor Jay Inslee to override this proposal. Daines stated that limiting imports of coal would significantly harm Montana jobs and the economy of the entire state.

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Stanford to Purge $18 Billion Endowment of Coal Stock

May 8, 2014

Stanford University is the most recent case of universities in the United States electing to remove fossil-fuel stocks from their endowments. Earlier this week, Stanford announced that they had become the first major university to address the impacts of coal on climate change and choose to no longer associate university investment with fossil fuel related companies.

Recently there has been news out of Harvard University that pressure from the student body has also pressed for divestment of endowment stocks in fossil fuel companies. So far though, Stanford is the lone major university that has chosen this tactic along with 11 other smaller universities.

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Photos: coal train derailment in Maryland

May 5, 2014

Over 8,000 tons of coal derailed in Bowie, Maryland last Thursday morning. This is the third major Mid-Atlantic spill for the CSX railroad in under a week. The incident highlights the dangers of transporting fossil fuels over rail lines that can have devastating and hazardous consequences on humans and wildlife.

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A battle is looming over renewable energy, and fossil fuel interests are losing

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.

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Decker Coal Mine rehires 32 employees laid off last year

May 4, 2014

Decker Coal Mine located 35 miles northeast of Sheridan, WY on the Montana/Wyoming border recently announced they would be rehiring 32 employees who were laid off last year. There were over 59 coal miners fired last year at the Decker Mine.

These rehiring’s come at a time when first quarter profits are down throughout the Powder River Basin and impending curbs on coal plant emissions being discussed on a national level.

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Morning Energy Roundup: A bad start to 2014 for Wyoming coal

May 1, 2014

At the close of the first quarter of 2014, the four largest coal companies working in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming all posted losses. The reasons being attributed for these losses are the bad weather and rail interruptions that have slowed down the shipments of coal out of Wyoming.

Nevertheless, coal executives with Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, Cloud Peak Energy and Peabody are all optimistic that next year will see significant improvement in contrast to the losses incurred during this first quarter of 2014.

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U.S., Chinese relations strengthen through coal

April 28, 2014

Chinese delegates recently visited the Cordero Rojo mine in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin as part of a three-day tour of Wyoming to increase U.S., Chinese relations. The visit highlights China’s demand for American coal and the massive growth of the energy sector in China.

China is the biggest coal customer in the world and uses four times the amount of coal annually as the United States at over 4 billion tons of coal a year. The government affairs manager for Cloud Peak Energy, Jason Begger emphasized the biggest challenge in getting Wyoming coal into the hands of the Chinese is the challenges of exporting the coal out of the northwest. This article underlines the point that the supply of Wyoming coal is contributing to the vast economic growth of China’s industrialization.

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