Appalachia Faces Steep Coal Decline — Jobs in Peril

Coal is becoming harder and costlier to obtain in the Central Appalachia Region, according to a recent article from the Associated Press. “The U.S. Department of Energy projects that in a little more than three years, the amount of coal mined here will be just half of what it was in 2008.” In 2008 there were 37,000 coal industry employees in Central Appalachia– the decline in coal production is expected to significantly lessen that number.

The Energy Department has declared that by 2015 production is expected to drop to 112 million tons, from the 234 million tons mined three years ago. The extreme collapse will have a drastic economic effect on areas such as eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, which produce about 90 percent of the Central Appalachian coal. In eastern Kentucky alone, coal production fell from 90 million tons to 73 million tons in 2009.

TECO Energy, a leading coal producer in eastern Kentucky, stated from its 2010 annual report that the EPA standards could make its “reserves no longer economic to develop.”

Learn more about Clean Energy Action’s coal supply report here: CEA Report – “Coal Cheap and Abundant, Or Is It?”

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