Posts Tagged ‘coal miners’

King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 4: Bargaining for Delay

This week’s post in my ongoing series focuses on the third stage of grief, bargaining. The U.S. coal industry continues to get hammered by a series of terrible earnings reports, an ongoing wave of bankruptcies, and falling bond prices. Since my last post, Alpha Natural Resources has been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because of consistently and unusually low stock prices, and Arch Coal executed a 10-1 reverse stock split in an effort to delay the same fate. In the bargaining stage, the grieving person typically looks for ways to avoid the ultimate fate, or buy time. For the coal industry, the bargaining stage manifests itself as industry supporters trying to delay any attempt to limit pollution from coal, including action to reduce carbon emissions. Read More

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King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 2: Financial Risk and the Economics of Coal

This post continues my series on King Coal’s Stages of Grief, and focuses on more denial—this time about economics. Yesterday the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted that the production of coal from mountaintop removal (MTR) mining has decreased by 62 percent since 2008. And last month, Bank of America released its new Coal Policy, committing to phasing out financial support for mountaintop removal coal mining. Read More

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King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 1: Facing the Facts

Coming from a coal mining family, I’m well aware of the seemingly vast coal resource underground and how extracting that resource has helped boost local economies, including the one where I grew up. As the reality of climate change sets in, however, and the impacts of burning fossil fuels become all too real, it’s clear that the status quo is not sustainable. Looking at the recent incredible growth in wind and solar, the boom in shale gas from fracking, and headline after headline full of bad news for the coal industry, I began wondering, How does it feel to be a coal miner right now? And more importantly, how do we ensure the future is hopeful for them as well? It’s a deeply personal question to me. Read More

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President’s Budget Helps Create New Opportunities for Coal Communities

Yesterday was a big day for policy geeks in Washington, DC—the annual release of the President’s proposed federal budget for next year. As reporters and analysts alike pore over the numbers and talking heads comment on the political headwinds, it’s clear that addressing climate change remains a major part of the President’s agenda. It’s also worth emphasizing that the president is making a coordinated and focused effort to invest in coal mining communities. Here’s how. Read More

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Coal Mining and Public Health: How the Coal Industry, Lawyers, and Doctors Have Betrayed Miners and Their Families

Recent news reports about coal mining have pulled me back to thinking about workers—having spent the bulk of my pre-UCS career in occupational health (teaching in medical schools and working for our country’s workplace health and safety research agency, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health/NIOSH). With the critical focus on climate change and the need to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases and other dangerous pollutants from coal-burning power plants, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the health impacts coal has on the brave souls who mine it and on their families who share in their suffering. Read More

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Surprisingly, West Virginians Support Raising Taxes on the Coal Industry–Even in Coal Country

What a week. President Obama delivered a major speech on climate change on Tuesday, directing the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out its obligations under existing law and limit carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants.

As a scientist studying climate change, I’m excited by the President’s leadership. He articulated the reality of the problem that we face, and why it’s so important that we act today to prepare for climate change that’s already locked in and protect future generations by cutting emissions. Read More

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Patriot Coal: Broken Promises

It isn’t often that prominent environmental leaders and coal miners find themselves on the same side of an argument. But that’s exactly what happened in the case of now-bankrupt Patriot Coal Company. Read More

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