Coal Age

OCT 2015

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Page 13 of 51

In addition to the new panel development, which it said will take about 12 months, BRP also noted that it wants to continue to "evaluate the market for Bowie No. 2 coal." Bowie furloughed about 150 last year when it lost a supply contract with the T ennessee Valley Authority. In all, Bowie owns three underground o perations in Utah and another in Colorado. Combined, the com- pany sold 15.8 million tons of western bituminous coal over the last calendar year. Senators Unveil Black Lung Reforms Plan Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have jointly announced the introduction of the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act of 2015, which they said will over- haul the nation's pneumoconiosis (black lung) benefits program with "commonsense steps" and changes to efficiency. The trio is b acked by Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Sherrod Brown of O hio, and companion legislation has also been introduced at the House of Representatives by U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott of Virginia, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Frederica Wilson of Florida. The group said the act will "level the playing field" for those min- ers battling black lung and seeking disability compensation for the condition. n e w s c o n t i n u e d B Y L U K E P O P O V I C H The Wages of War D A T E L I N E W A S H I N G T O N For most Americans asked to fork over a sizeable chunk of their tax dollars to support the world's biggest defense industry, the pocketbook pain is lessened greatly by the fact that our enemies are out there and dedicated to destroying us. There is resurgent Russia, wakening from its post-Soviet slumber to once again menace eastern Europe and challenge us in the Mideast. China is flexing its muscles by building bases outside its territorial waters to threaten sea lanes. Islamic fanatics take over vast stretches of Iraq and Syria, fighting our allies there and inspiring terror cells embedded here. We have little choice but to finance a military that can keep us safe from foreign enemies who seek our destruction. But for the coal industry, that fact provides little comfort, for the Pentagon offers no defense against the government that wants its destruction. Coal's worst enemy is not a foreign government but its own government. The White House is actually tougher on the domestic coal industry than it is on Russia, Syria or the Taliban. Some call it the war on coal — waged not only here, but abroad, too. The National Mining Association (NMA) has always said this charge, while understandable, minimizes the destruction these anti- coal policies inflict on the country as a whole. Fewer coal plants and production means fewer good jobs, less fuel diversity, less reliable sup- plies of affordable energy and, of course, further hardship for poorer households least able to absorb "the EPA premium." Last month, two new studies of the impact of anti-coal regulations underscored both points. From these analyses, both commissioned by NMA, we can virtually measure how coal mining and the larger economy it supports are both under attack. The first study brings home the irreparable economic harm to a dozen coal states caused by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule to curb carbon emissions from the existing coal fleet. Energy Ventures Analysis (EVA), an independent economic consult- ing firm in Washington, used EPA's own model to calculate wholesale power cost increases anticipated from the rise in natural gas demand and the capex required to replace 41 GW of coal plants that would be retired over and above what is projected without the CPP. EVA shows CPP adds $15 billion to the cost of electricity by 2022 and $214 billion by 2030. Put another way, by then, nationwide whole- sale power costs will spike by more than 20% over the projected cost without the rule. And 16 states will see a 25% increase, most likely your state if you're reading this magazine. To this tab, ratepayers will also be picking up a $64 billion bill to replace the lost coal capacity. Already, utilities will be scheduling additional plant closures and bud- geting for replacement costs in order for states to meet EPA's interim deadlines. Small wonder that 20 states so far plan to join NMA in court to stop the rule. If EPA's CPP is aimed at destroying coal's customer base, the OSM's Stream Protection Rule (SPR) is aimed at destroying its production. Recall the SPR, published in draft in July of this year, involved a mas- sive re-write of some 475 regulations that govern the oversight of sur- face mining and reclamation. The analysis by Ramboll Environ for NMA projects 268,000 jobs will be lost in mining and coal-supported employ- ment. Of these, almost 74,000 will be at risk in both surface and under- ground operations. The reason of course is the massive volume of coal that will no longer be economic to mine. The study found recoverable reserves would drop by 62.5% with lost production from SPR mining restrictions valued at $22 billion. In that lost volume of coal are deposits that support the highest number of jobs, hence more than 71% of total coal mining employment would be at risk. The Pentagon protects us from foreign governments, but who will protect us from our own? Luke Popovich is a spokesperson for the National Mining Association, the industry's trade group based in Washington, D.C. " Coal's worst enemy is not a foreign government but its own government. " 12 October 2015

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