A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: With King Coal’s reign about over in the Commonwealth (and elsewhere), it’s on to natural gas

To paraphrase that great American intellectual, Sarah Palin, how is that beautiful, clean coal stuff working out for ya? Well, not so hot, thanks. Cloud Peak Energy, the nation’s third-largest coal mining company, headquartered in Wyoming, where the mineral is still as plentiful as kudzu in Georgia, has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. It was one of the last of the nation’s big energy players...

Rural Blog: New data indicates too little money set aside to clean up, reclaim abandoned mines

According to national data compiled and published for the first time yesterday, the coal industry may not have enough money set aside to clean up and reclaim abandoned mines, Mark Olalde reports for Climate Home News. “Mining companies and state governments hold just $9.2 billion nationwide to ensure mining land is reclaimed if operators go bust,” Olalde reports. “Experts told CHN...

Rural Blog: Coal production down sharply in 2016; Wyoming still No. 1, but Kentucky drops to 4th

The national decline in coal production and employment continues, but with differing effects among the states. Wyoming was still the biggest coal producer in 2016, and West Virginia remained No. 2, but Illinois supplanted Kentucky at No. 3. Like other leading states, Wyoming faced incredible lows in 2016. Coal production in the Powder River Basin in 2016 reached its lowest levels in 20 years, reports...

Rural Blog: Appalachian coal production, jobs at lowest levels on record, EIA report says

Coal production in the U.S. has reached its lowest level since 1986, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The region hit the hardest is Appalachia, where production is at its lowest level since 1978, the year EIA began collecting data, Jodi Delapaz reports for Agri-Pulse. (EIA graphic: Average number of employees by mine type) Coal production in 2015 was down 10.3 percent...

Rural Blog: Feds’ forecast shows major decline in coal production with or without Clean Power Plan

Appalachian coal production is forecast to decline by 79 million tons by 2040 under President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and would decline by 50 million tons without the plan, says a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The report “shows that coal production in the Appalachian region, which has declined steeply since 2000, is projected to see the smallest reduction in production...

Rural Blog: U.S. coal production may have bottomed out and now is on the rebound, experts say

U.S. coal production recently hit historically low level, but is rebounding, and investors seem to think it has bottomed out, BB&T capital markets analyst Mark Levin said in a note to clients last week. Tim Loh of Bloomberg reports on that, adding: “Some coal stocks are rallying as a recovery in natural gas prices brings the power-plant fuels closer to parity.” With a chart, Bloomberg...

Rural Blog: Coal production in first quarter of 2016 hits lowest level since 1981 strike year

Coal production in the first three months of 2016 was the lowest quarterly level since 1981, when the industry had a major strike, but the decline appears to be accelerating. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that coal production declined 17 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015, the largest quarter-to-quarter drop since 1984. The biggest proximate cause was a warmer-than-expected...

Rural Blog: Burning of coal to generate electricity down in all but two states

From 2007 to 2015 the amount of coal burned to make steam to generate electricity fell in every state except Alaska and Nebraska, after peaking about a decade ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a recent report, Benjamin Hulac and Elizabeth Harball report for ClimateWire. “Combustion of steam coal reached its apex in 2007, but it has declined nationwide 29 percent since then,...

Rural Blog: Energy Information Administration says U.S. coal production falling faster than expected

“Coal production in the U.S. is falling, faster than expected and long before the U.S. Clean Power Plan, which was stayed by the Supreme Court, has come into effect,” Chris Mooney reports for The Washington Post. A report from the Energy Information Administration found that coal production in March was down 4 percent from February and 36 percent lower than the previous March. Production...

Kentucky water systems produce consistently ‘high-quality drinking water,’ study shows

The Kentucky Division of Water recently completed a study of public drinking water data to determine if heavy metals such as arsenic and chromium were occurring in public drinking water at concentrations that may cause health concerns.   The results?   “The analysis revealed that heavy metals are not occurring in public drinking water systems at levels that cause health concerns and affirmed...