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 Coal Mines Tied to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Plan to Hire 150 in Kentucky

Coal companies tied to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced plans Monday to hire 150 employees at three surface mines in Eastern Kentucky.

The mines — two in Pike County and one in Letcher County — have been inactive due to a decline in the coal market, according to a news release from Bluestone Industries, a coal company with ties to the Justice family. The company said it is accepting applications and plans to begin production immediately.  

 

Justice and his family own dozens of mining companies throughout central Appalachia and owe millions in unpaid property taxes to the Kentucky counties where they operate.

The largest outstanding bill is to Knott County, where the Justice-affiliated company Kentucky Fuel owed $1.95 million as of Monday. The company owes about $284,000 to Pike County, according to the county's delinquent tax office, and more than $200,000 to Harlan County, according to Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins.

In February, the Herald-Leader found that Justice companies owed a total of $2.9 million across Eastern Kentucky, shorting school systems and local governments in a region where many counties struggle with tight budgets and population loss.

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$4 Billion a Year is Cheap if it Saves Coal Plants, Says Coal Group

A coal group is arguing that spending $4 billion each year to subsidize coal and nuclear plants is not that much for consumers to bear because it would create energy security and boost national security.

“While $4 billion per year is not trivial, it is tiny compared to other investments for national security,” according to a new paper from the pro-coal American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity that will be released Monday.

The paper goes on to explain that Defense Department spending over the past three fiscal years averaged about $645 billion per year. Therefore, “paying an additional $4 billion per year to promote national security would represent less than 0.6 percent of federal funding for the same purpose,” the paper added.

The coal group’s analysis uses a number from a recent ICF study that showed subsidizing the fixed number of coal and nuclear plants readying to close, as the Trump administration has proposed, would cost between $1 billion and $4 billion per year.

The group paired the ICF study with the national security argument for keeping the plants open that a White House National Security Council memo explained. The memo argues that ordering many of these uneconomic power plants to stay open was necessary for national security because they “have a secure on-site fuel supply,” which makes them “essential to support the nation’s defense facilities, critical energy infrastructure, and other critical infrastructure.”

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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 Alabama Coal Company Reopens, Names $2.7 Million Excavator After President Trump for Ending War on Coal

An Alabama coal company is crediting President Donald Trump for its reopening after being idle since February 2014.

In a news release, RJR Mining Company, Inc. announced the purchase of a $2.7 million Hitachi 1900 excavator that it named “Trump” in honor of the president’s efforts to end the “war on coal” started by former President Barack Obama.


Hitachi 1900 excavator named Trump

“This will be the largest capital investment we have ever made,” RJR shareholder Randy Johnson said in an attached copy of a letter sent to President Trump. “We will provide more jobs than we ever have. You have restored our confidence, our excitement, and our desire to stay involved.”

The company, based out of Cullman, said it expects to spend around $900,000 a month to operate what it says will be its largest surface mine to date. The new mine will produce both traditional steam coal and met coal, which are used to make steel.

“We are grateful for President Trump strengthening the economy, creating jobs, and encouraging investment in all sectors, including the coal industry,” said Alabama Coal Association president Patrick Cagle. “We also thank the President for ending the war on coal, but there is still work left to do to keep future administrations from targeting our industry with punitive regulations.”

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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Thermal Coal Prices Hit 6-Year High

Benchmark seaborne thermal coal prices jumped to $120.10 per tonne on Thursday, its highest level since November 2012, thanks to tight supply in key Asian export regions. Measured from lows hit end-2015, early 2016 coal used in power generation has gained 140%.

Strong consumption in China, despite ongoing efforts by Beijing to reduce reliance on coal for electricity generation, and restocking from the spot market by Japanese utilities have buoyed prices.


 

Import demand from China has been supported by hotter than average temperatures, weak hydro power output, and limited growth in domestic supply, the Australian dept of resources said in its quarterly report released this week.

Supply in South Africa has been diverted to domestic power-generating facilities, impacting exports. In May this year prices at the African nation's Richards Bay terminal topped $100 for the first time since April 2012 and was trending higher again this week at $106.25.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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 EPA Drafts Rule on Coal Plants to Replace Clean Power Plan

The Trump administration has drafted a new proposal to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, one that is far less stringent than the climate plan finalized in 2015 by former President Barack Obama.

In writing the new rule to replace Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the Trump administration is essentially accepting, for now, that the federal government is legally obligated to take action to address the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, even as President Trump has dismissed established climate science. But the new proposal is likely to spur only small tweaks to the nation’s energy system.

Details of the plan, which is being drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and is expected to be sent to the White House for approval in coming days, were described to The New York Times by industry officials who have worked closely with the agency to shape the rule.

On Thursday, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the EPA, submitted his resignation after facing 13 federal investigations into his ethics, spending and management practices. That move is unlikely to lead to a major policy shift at the agency: The new acting EPA chief will be Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who shares Mr. Pruitt’s commitment to rolling back Obama-era climate policies.

The new proposal, according to industry attorneys familiar with the plan, would recommend regulating the emissions of individual coal plants, which would call for modest upgrades, such as improving efficiency or substituting fuel. That contrasts with the more ambitious goals of the Clean Power Plan, which encouraged utilities to make broader systemic changes to cut emissions, such as switching from coal to natural gas or renewable power.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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