You read that right: West Virginia is producing less and less coal. A new report from WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research says that our coal production will drop 39% from an industry high point in 2008. And the effects could be disastrous.

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How Big Is The Drop?

  • Industry high point in 2008: 158 million tons
  • 2014: 115 million tons
  • 2015 predicted: 98 million tons
  • 2035: 96 million tons… yikes.

Why the drop?

The AP says the report identifies several familiar reasons for such a drop:

  • Weak export demand
  • Less use of coal for electric, more coming from Natural Gas
  • Changes in power plant emission rules
  • “Worsening geological conditions” that make extraction in Southern West Virginia more expensive.

And get this – the AP says: “The dismal projections don’t even account for a federal proposal to stem carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, part of President Barack Obama’s plan to stem global warming.”

The southern part of the state is expected to be hit much harder by the drop.

Check out: The Unforgettable Sound a WV Coal Train

Check out: What is Retreat Coal Mining? Why is it Deadly?

20150529_coalRead the full report from WVU (PDF).

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