Coal Age

JAN-FEB 2017

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4 January-February 2017 news Working with Congress, President Trump Repeals Stream Protection Rule On February 16, President Donald J. Trump signed legislation that will repeal the Stream Protection Rule, which he called "another terrible job-killing rule." At the signing, President Trump said this action stands by his promise of saving American jobs, especially those at mines across the U.S., and eliminating "wasteful regulations that do nothing." "This rule we're eliminating it's a major threat to your jobs, and we're going to get rid of that threat immediately," Trump said. "We're going to fight for you like I promised I would in the campaign." The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate ap- proved the measure in early February that will nullify the Stream Protection Rule that was finalized by the Department of the Inte- rior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement on December 20. The rule addresses the impacts of surface coal min- ing operations on surface water, groundwater and the productiv- ity of mining operation sites. The blocked regulation would have duplicated existing reg- ulations already in place to protect Americans, a statement from the White House said. The House approved the measure, 228-194, with nine Repub- licans voting against the repeal and four Democrats supporting it. The Senate voted 54-45 in favor of the measure. In the House, the legislation was brought forth by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH). After introducing the bill, he said, "Make no mis- take about it, this Obama administration rule is not designed to protect streams. Instead, it was an effort to regulate the coal mining industry right out of business — by issuing duplicative and overly burdensome regulations, and preempting state agencies that have historically been tasked with regulating America's coal industry." The final rule updated the 33-year-old regulations with stron- ger requirements for surface coal mining operations. The rule would require companies to restore streams and return mined areas to the uses they were capable of supporting prior to mining activities, and replant these areas with native trees and vegeta- tion, unless that would conflict with the implemented land use. The rule requires the testing and monitoring of the condition of streams that might be affected by mining — before, during and after their operations — to provide baseline data that ensures operators can detect and correct problems that could arise, and restore mined areas to their previous condition. An identical resolution was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with the help of West Virginia Sen. Shelly Moore Capito. Those in the coal industry applauded Trump's actions. "President Trump has followed through on his promise to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, which was the single greatest threat to the jobs and family livelihoods of our employees that I have seen in 60 years of coal mining experience," said Robert E. Murray, president and CEO, Murray Energy. "We would also like to thank Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH) for his leadership in ef- fectuating this repeal, as well as the support of many other mem- bers of Congress." Corsa Increases Met Coal Guidance Corsa Coal offered an update on metallurgical coal produc- tion figures for 2017 and said the Acosta deep mine remains on schedule for coal production beginning early in the second quar- ter of 2017. "As metallurgical coal prices have surged over the past six months, we have positioned the company to significantly in- crease metallurgical coals sales volumes," said George Deth- lefsen, CEO of Corsa. "This increase will come from the devel- opment at Acosta, increased work hours at our Casselman and Quecreek mines, and increased purchased coal activities. Ad- ditionally, we are evaluating other permitted mines within our portfolio as we look to increase capacity utilization at our prepa- ration plants." For 2017, Dethlefsen is forecasting Corsa's metallurgical coal sales to increase by 100% over 2016 levels, using the midpoints of 2016 and 2017 as guidance. The company expects to produce be- tween 1,325,000 tons and 1,475,000 tons of met coal and 625,000 to 725,000 of steam coal in 2017. For the first quarter of 2017, Cor- sa's metallurgical sales — 275,000 tons-350,000 tons — are 90% committed at an average realized metallurgical coal sales price of $166/ton, representing an increase of 66% over levels in the fourth quarter of 2016. "With the low levels of capacity utilization at our coal prepa- ration infrastructure, a portfolio of low mining cost permitted and permit-in-process mines, and an emerging sales and trading platform, the building blocks are in place for strong growth in the years ahead," Dethlefsen said. With coal miners looking over his shoulder, President Trump signs a bill repealing the Stream Protection Rule.

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