In the last few weeks, statements from elected officials in West Virginia highlighted the urgent need for economic diversification in the coalfields. It led me to wonder, has acceptance of the reality of this energy transition finally reached the coalfields? Read more >
February 5, 2016 1:16 PM EDT
October 28, 2015 3:40 PM EDT
A news story posted yesterday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail hit my inbox at least five times this morning. The article acknowledges something we’ve been talking about for quite some time—the reality that the coal industry is simply not going to return to its heyday of years past.
What’s surprising about the piece is not the message—it’s the source. The person making this point was the president of West Virginia’s largest electric utility. It reminded me of my King Coal’s Stages of Grief series from earlier this summer, and led me to wonder, have we finally reached the acceptance phase? Read more >
July 31, 2015 12:10 PM EDT
In my ongoing series looking at the decline of the coal industry, we come to maybe the most painful stage of grief: depression. It’s also the most personal. I can only imagine how someone like my brother, a coal miner, must feel facing an uncertain future and seeing layoffs all around.
In this post we’ll take a look at how job losses in the industry have affected communities around Appalachia, and we will point toward some positive steps forward, toward the final stage: acceptance and hope for a better future. Read more >
July 24, 2015 2:52 PM EDT
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 >
July 10, 2015 8:25 AM EDT
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 >