Coal Age

JAN-FEB 2017

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18 January-February 2017 news continued c a l e n d a r o f e v e n t s April 10-13, 2017: 19 th Annual Electric Power Conference & Exhi- bition, McCormick Place West, Hall F1, Chicago, Illinois. Contact: April 11-14, 2017: 25 th International Mining Congress and Exhibition of Turkey- IMCET 2017, Antalya, Turkey. Contact: UCTEA Cham- ber of Mining Engineers of Turkey; Tel: +90312 425 10 80; Email:; Web: April 30-May 3, 2017: Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM), Montréal, QC, Canada, Contact: Web: 2017/Home.aspx. May 7-9, 2017: Haulage & Loading, Wigwam Resort, Phoenix, Arizona. Contact: Web: June 13-15, 2017: Longwall USA, David L. Lawrence Convention Cen- ter, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Contact: Web: August 29-31, 2017: AIMEX, Asia-Pacific's International Mining Exhi- bition, Sydney Showground, Sydney, Australia; Contact: Web: www. September 13-15, 2017: Bluefield Coal Show, Brushfork Armory-Civic Center, Bluefield, West Virginia. Contact: Bluefield Chamber of Com- merce; Tel: +1-304-327-7184; Web: bluefield-coal-show. AEP and FirstEnergy, a major IOU based in Akron, already have retired several thousand megawatts of coal generation in Ohio, mostly because of stringent federal Environmental Protec- tion Agency regulations. Bills Introduced in KY Seek to Help Coal Production Kentucky lawmakers are pursuing several bills and resolutions in the 2017 General Assembly this winter in hopes of reversing the state's sliding coal production, which continued to plummet in 2016 in the face of low natural gas prices that resulted in coal-to- gas switching by some electric utilities, stringent federal govern- ment regulations and flat electricity demand. While final 2016 production figures were not available by the end of January, Kentucky appeared likely to finish in fifth place for the year, falling behind Pennsylvania and Illinois in addition to Wyoming and West Virginia. For years, Kentucky has placed in the top three in terms of coal output, trailing only Wyoming and West Virginia. Kentucky produced only 31.5 million tons of coal through the first nine months of 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Informa- tion Administration. That was less than the other four states. The eastern Kentucky coalfields in Central Appalachia have en- dured widespread mine closings and layoffs over the past four or five years. Last year, some mines in western Kentucky, part of the high-sul- fur Illinois Basin, also were curtailed or closed. The only major new steam coal mine planned for western Kentucky is Paringa Resources' Poplar Grove underground continuous miner operation in McLean County, although initial production is not expected until 2018. Although the new Trump administration and its stated sup- port for coal has fueled guarded optimism among Kentucky coal producers and officials, legislators like Kentucky State Rep. Jim Du- Plessis and others are pushing legislation to spur coal's recovery. In theory, such legislation should face fewer roadblocks in the state House of Representatives and Senate this year because both are now under control of the GOP and Gov. Matt Bevin is a Republi- can. Indeed, it is the first time in decades that Republicans have held a majority in the legislature while also retaining the governorship. DuPlessis is chief sponsor of House Bill 165, which would revive a state tax incentive to encourage Kentucky's utilities and industries to use more in-state coal. The measure provides a state tax credit of $2/ton on all additional Kentucky coal purchases. It is not retroactive, meaning companies that already use Kentucky coal would not receive a credit on their existing purchases. Con- ceivably, though, the credit could persuade some companies to buy Kentucky coal in the future instead of coal from other states. DuPlessis believes the bill has a good shot at winning final ap- proval this year. Possibly arguing against that thesis, however, is the fact this year is a short session for the General Assembly, with lawmak- ers expected to adjourn in late March. After being filed on January 7, H.B. 165 still was in the House as the calendar flipped to February. H.B. 117, another piece of pro-coal legislation, would allow an income tax credit of $1,000 for companies that hire unemployed coal miners. It has been assigned to the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee. Finally, House Resolution 28, also introduced on January 7, broadly urges Congress to lift restrictions on the coal industry. It cites "the decline of the coal industry" that has [that] has had pro- found impacts on the coalfields of eastern and western Kentucky, on state budgets and on the ability of the commonwealth to com- pete with new economic opportunities." If the resolution eventually is approved, as expected, it would not carry the force of law. Chancellor is Back in Coal Steven Chancellor helped transform Indiana-based Black Beauty Coal Co. into the largest steam coal producer in the Midwest de- cades ago before selling it to Peabody Energy Corp. and leaving the coal business in the early years of this century. But now he's back, apparently unable to resist coal's siren-like call even though the industry is only now undergoing a nascent recovery from some of its darkest days as represented by the past eight years of the anti-coal Obama administration. His timing may be prescient. Long a political fundraiser of note, Chancellor, an Evans- ville, Indiana, native, most recently hosted a major fundraiser at his Vanderburgh County, Indiana, mansion for then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, the Republican governor of Indiana. With Trump, who said he is pro-coal, as the United States' 45 th president, this could be a good time for Chancellor's newly formed White Stallion Energy to grow if the industry rebounds. Chancellor said in an interview he believes mega-business- man and reality TV star Trump will be an "enormous friend" to energy, including coal. "This guy is going to create jobs," he said. "And he knows if you're going to create high-paying jobs those jobs for the most part are in the energy industry and the indus- tries that consume a lot of energy." "I'm happy to be back," he said about the industry that en- abled him to make his original fortune. As chairman of Black

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