U.S. coal production down 26% – first half of 2016


Just showing how up-to-date coal-based energy really is

Coal production fell in the first half of 2016 dropped 26% from the same period of 2015 on widespread output curtailments especially in the massive Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana…

This output drop has been foreshadowed by the idling of dozens of coal mines across the U.S. in the first half of this year.

In terms of overall drop in production half year-over-half year, the Powder River Basin was the hardest hit, dropping about a third from 199.2 million tons produced in the first half of 2015 to only 134.2 million tons in the first half of this year. That 65 million ton drop represents more coal than that actually produced in the first half of 2016 in any of the three other major producing regions: Illinois Basin, Central Appalachia and Northern Appalachia.

Look elsewhere for jobs, folks. Learn to do better with your life.

4 thoughts on “U.S. coal production down 26% – first half of 2016

  1. Just4record says:

    Cheap shale gas produced by fracking has driven the decline in coal production in the United States during the last decade, researchers at the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University have found.
    Power plants, which use 93 percent of the coal produced nationally, have been operating under the same EPA regulations signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. Proposed new rules since then have all been challenged in court and not implemented until June 2016, when the EPA’s restrictions on mercury and other toxic emissions were approved by the U.S. Supreme Court.
    Consumption of coal continued to grow under those 1990-era EPA rules until 2008, and then went into steady decline, dropping by 23 percent from 2008 thru 2015.

    • Molly Maguire says:

      “Shale gas, not EPA rules, has pushed decline in coal-generated electricity, study confirms” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161007105548.htm
      Never the less: “In a significant victory for Murray Energy Corp., Judge John Preston Bailey from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia ordered the EPA to submit a plan within 14 days to evaluate how its air pollution rules relate to job losses as required by Section 321 of the Clean Air Act.” (Bloomberg BNA) http://www.bna.com/epa-ordered-review-n57982078771/ “James Goodwin, senior policy analyst with the Center for Progressive Reform, questioned how the analysis will ultimately benefit Murray Energy or the larger coal industry. Though Bailey ordered the review, Goodwin said that Murray Energy never explained how conducting the review will prevent further job losses.“I don’t see what the coal industry or petitioners get out of this other than making EPA look bad, which isn’t a remedy,” Goodwin told Bloomberg BNA. In his order, Bailey had said that the results of the EPA’s evaluation could “have the effect of convincing the EPA, Congress and/or the American public to relax or alter EPA’s prior decisions.”
      Robert Murray, President and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation praised the favorable court ruling and called it a job saver http://wajr.com/coal-executive-praises-favorable-court-ruling-calls-it-a-job-saver/ Also “Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-WV) released a statement following the district court ruling. “By forcing the EPA to account for jobs lost, we will lift the curtain on the fact that the EPA’s anti-coal regulations are killing our jobs,” wrote Jenkins. “West Virginians deserve the truth and transparency from the EPA, not more ideologically motivated regulations that are putting our men and women out of work.” In February, a 5 to 4 vote by the U.S. Supreme Court halted the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan which has been viciously criticized by Murray and other coal industry leaders.”

  2. Meanwhile says:

    The proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal port in Longview, Washington would be the largest coal export terminal in America and ship 44 million tons of coal each year from mines in Montana and Wyoming overseas. The Army Corps just released its own glowing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the project that glosses over many of the environmental consequences and completely ignores the impact the project would have on Northwestern tribal rights and climate change. http://flatheadbeacon.com/2016/10/03/army-corps-engineers-gives-coal-terminal-favorable-review/

    • Pipedream says:

      Wyoming lawmaker envisions coal slurry pipeline http://www.wyofile.com/wyoming-coals-future-gillette-senator-looks-past/ “The line would carry coal, mixed with water into a slurry that could travel along a pipeline to potential ports on the west coast, with Asia  – Korea, Japan and possibly China  as the end goal – given the markets as they now stand. No route has been firmly discussed, and for now the idea remains just an idea. However, one possible destination could potentially be the Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, Washington, a proposed coal port which is still in the environmental impact consultation.
      Meanwhile coal-exports to Asia have remained a niche industry for the U.S. according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Coal exports are low because of the less-competitive pricing of coal from the U.S. versus competition from India, the Koreas, Indonesia, Australia and other coal-exporting countries. “When U.S. exports increase it usually means the global market is past its peak,” according to a recent IEEFA report.
      Also coal’s recent decline is widely considered to be more a result of market competition from cheap natural gas prices than a regulatory problem. Natural gas surpassed coal as a provider for U.S. electricity generation in 2015, and researchers have since cemented the relation between shale gas and coal’s decline. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161007105548.htm
      In 2012, U.S. exports to China hit their highest volume since 1990, at over 10 million tons a year. Then exports started dropping, to 8.2 million tons by 2013, 1.7 million tons in 2014 and only 230,000 tons in 2015. That’s a 97 percent decrease.
      Meanwhile, China’s import numbers dropped over the same period, but at a much lower rate – a decrease of only 40 percent. When demand drops in Asia, and the markets become oversaturated with coal, “the U.S. gets thrown out, because they’re the least competitive” according to an IEEFA analyst. Also, if President-elect Trump does manage to end the Clean Power Plan intended to curb carbon emissions, that might prolong the life of some existing coal-fired power plants, but it won’t make refurbishing aging plants or building new ones any more attractive to utility companies or financiers …unless of course the subsidization of those plants is increased.

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