New U.S. coal consumption figures show industry’s decline

Dec 5, 2018
Economic forces will determine the future of coal, even if environmental regulations are loosened.
A piece of coal is held up at the Savage Energy Terminal on Aug. 26, 2016 in Price, Utah.
George Frey/Getty Images

Are Republicans softening on carbon taxes?

Sep 12, 2018
A few GOP lawmakers are bucking the party line by backing a tax on CO2 emissions.
The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia, in 2009.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Coal plant operating costs are a long-held secret

Sep 7, 2018
A Washington state Superior Court judge may order the release of information a utility says contains trade secrets.
Piles of coal sit in front of PacifiCorp's 1,440-megawatt coal-fired power plant in 2017 in Castle Dale, Utah.
George Frey/Getty Images

Can looser regulations save the coal industry from market forces?

Aug 21, 2018
The Environmental Protection Agency released details today of its plan to replace the Obama-era rules governing carbon emissions from power plants. The EPA’s proposals differ radically from the old Clean Power Plan. They give a lot of concessions to the coal industry. President Donald Trump has long promised to end what he calls the “war […]
A truck dumps coal at a coal prep plant outside the city of Welch in rural West Virginia on May 19, 2017.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Trump, Perry propose a lifeline for coal and nuclear sectors that critics say is unnecessary and would be harmful

Jun 5, 2018
The latest directive would allow the Energy Department to use a complex wartime law in the interest of national security.

Some former coal towns turn to nature tourism as a new economic driver

Feb 28, 2018
Tourism economy around natural beauty is starting to replace extractive industries in some former West Virginia and PA coal towns.
Cyclists cross a bridge over the Youghiogheny River, veering off the Great Allegheny Passage, to check out downtown West Newton.
Courtesy of Rick Armstrong

Why investing in coal companies may not help the people living in coal country

Jan 11, 2018
When we subsidize coal companies, does that make it back to the people living in coal country? In her reporting for Quartz, economics writer Gwynn Guilford found that the answer may be a loud, resounding “no.” For her article “The 100-year capitalist experiment that keeps Appalachia poor, sick, and stuck on coal,” Guilford reported on the […]

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Coal subsidy sinks after federal committee votes “no”

Jan 9, 2018
The Federal Energy Regulatory Committee voted down a proposal from the Department of Energy offering financial support for power plants that keep a 90-day supply of fuel stock on site (basically coal and nuclear plants). The FERC said the cost to consumers far outweighed any possible grid security benefit of the measure.

Trump’s promises have some coal miners optimistic — so they’re staying in the industry

Dec 27, 2017
While some coal miners continue looking for work in the industry, others look to careers outside of coal for more stability.
Low natural gas prices will likely continue to keep the coal market weak. Above, a coal mound in Shelbiana, Kentucky.
Photo by Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

GE to cut 12,000 jobs as demand for fossil fuel power stations falls

Dec 7, 2017
General Electric Co. announced today it’s cutting 12,000 jobs in its core power business worldwide, as demand for coal and other fossil fuels softens. It’s the latest move by new CEO John Flannery to cut costs and turn things around at the struggling conglomerate, whose stock plunged 44 percent this year. GE Power is the company’s […]