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Mountain Removal Coal Mining Down 62 Percent Since 2008

The mountains of West Virginia and Kentucky can much less likely to be stripped and gutted for the purposes of coal extraction that they were even a few years ago as natural gas continues its ascendance.
July 9, 2015, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Coal production mountaintop removal mining has fallen 62 percent since 2008, dropping at a faster rate that overall coal production during a period of industry decline," reports James Bruggers. The news comes a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which also found a 15 percent decrease in coal production from 2008 to 2014 in addition to several other metrics of decline for coal production in the United States.

"The government agency noted that lower demand for U.S. coal, primarily used to generate electric power, has been driven by competitive natural gas prices, an increasing use of renewable generation, flat electricity demand, and environmental regulations," adds Bruggers.

Reporting from Louisville, Bruggers noted a local example of the trend toward natural gas—LG&E recently dedicated a $530 natural gas power plant to replace a coal power plant.

The report echoes news earlier this year of the decline of the coal industry's market cap, which is down to $1.2 billion from $21.7 billion in June 2010.

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Published on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 in The Courier-Journal
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