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Coal Report for May 10, 2017

Image courtesy of Phil_Bird at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Phil_Bird at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Despite President Trump’s promises to put coal miners back to work, Kentucky’s coal industry still saw a loss in coal jobs for the first quarter at a 3.3% drop statewide. According to Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet, eastern Kentucky coal jobs fell 4.6% in the first quarter. However, Kentucky Coal Association president Tyler White said that the numbers were promising. Continue reading Coal Report for May 10, 2017

Coal Report for May 3, 2017

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The water infrastructure bill which was passed last year through Congress allowed for states to set up their own systems for issuing coal ash disposal permits. However, critics of the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards have said that the regulations have made it more costly and difficult to handle waste from the burning of coal at coal fired power plants. Monday, head of the EPA under President Trump, Scott Pruitt issued an advisory to states saying the the administration was working on plans that would give the states more flexibility in determining how they dispose of coal ash. Continue reading Coal Report for May 3, 2017

Coal Report for April 26, 2017

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Justice Low Seam Mining Inc., a company owned by West Virginia governor Jim Justice, has been cited in relation to the February 27th death of Jason Kenneth Matthews at the JC “Jim” Justice II Prep Plant in McDowell County. The citations were issued by West Virginia’s Office of Miner’s Health, Safety, and Training. Matthews, age 43, was killed when he fell onto a conveyor belt and then into a coal-waste bin after climbing a ladder to repair a plate filter press used to dewater coal waste inside the preparation plant. Matthews had been working at the plant for about three months. A mechanic helping Matthews assess the problem, Ralph Sparks, told investigators that Matthews was not wearing a fall protection safety harness at the time of the fall. Inspectors issued five notices of violation. Two of them concerned failing to implement a comprehensive mine safety program by not providing training records for Matthews and Sparks. Two others said the operator had failed to ensure that employees wear safety harnesses and that all ladders be properly secured. A fifth notice said the operator did not report to the state, in writing and within 24 hours, the full details of the accident. Investigators also issued a “special assessed notice of violation” that said the mine operator had failed to ensure compliance with a rule that repairs and maintenance not be performed on equipment until the power is off and the equipment is blocked against motion. The report said that, in this instance, the power was on to the filter press and the conveyor belt was in operation at the time of the fatality. The penalty of a special assessment involving a death can be as much as $10,000, but the fine has not yet been determined.

Chris Beam, the new president of Appalachian Power Company and Wheeling, W.Va. native, has announced that the company does not intend to build any new coal fired power plants, but instead intends to focus on renewable energy sources to meet the demands of potential customers. Companies like Amazon and Google, who can bring jobs such as warehouse and call center work to distressed areas seeing a loss of jobs with coal’s downturn, are increasingly demanding access to renewably produced electricity. Charleston Gazette-Mail was told by Beam that the company would continue to burn coal in its existing coal fired plants now and into the future. They would definitely, however, not build more. He said that instead of more coal plants, the company is planning to add their wind generation capacity in the south region of West Virginia. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s CEO Bill Johnson announced April 18th that the nation’s biggest public utility is not going to reopen any coal fired power plants under the Trump administration, and by the end of 2018, the utility will have retired five of its original 11 coal-fired power plants. Johnson said in an interview with The Associated Press (quote),”Our statutory duty is to produce electricity at the lowest feasible rate. And when we decided to close the coal plants, that was the math we were doing. We weren’t trying to comply with the Clean Power Plan or anything else. What’s the cheapest way to serve the customer? It turned out to be retiring those coal plants.” (end quote)

April 21st was the first day since 1882 that Great Britain had gone a complete 24 hours without using coal to generate electricity. The last underground coal mine in the country closed in December 2015, though open cast mining still occurs. Britain is hoping to phase out all coal fired electricity generation by 2025 in favor for cleaner burning natural gas and renewables. Other European nations are already coal free in terms of power generation. They include Switzerland, Belgium, and Norway. 30% of electricity in the U.S. still comes from coal, however, Vermont and Idaho are both coal free states with California set to join them in the future.

The Coal Report is a weekly production of WMMT. It is assembled from newspapers and press services and reports coal-related material as these sources give it. It does not represent the opinion of WMMT on the matters discussed. Our aim is to reflect both local developments regarding coal and the big picture we’re a part of. For feedback, comments, or questions, email [email protected]

Coal Report for April 19, 2017

 

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Dennis Fillinger, age 62, of Harts, W. Va. lost his life April 6th to injuries sustained while working underground as section foreman for C K Coal Corporation’s Mine No. 5 in Mingo County in southern West Virginia. On February 23, Fillinger was struck by a piece of rock “approximately 3 feet wide by 2 feet long by 3 to 4 inches thick,” the Mine Safety and Health Administration reports. He was administered first aid and then transported to a local medical center, where he remained hospitalized until his passing. Fillinger had 38 years’ total experience in coal mining, but had worked only 10 weeks at the C K Coal operation. WMMT would like to send our condolences to Fillinger’s family, friends, and co-workers.

 

A Coal Company Is Planning A Major Solar Project on a Former Kentucky Strip Mine

 

How Asian Politics Could Affect U.S. Coal

 

The Coal Report is a weekly production of WMMT. It is assembled from newspapers and press services and reports coal-related material as these sources give it. It does not represent the opinion of WMMT on the matters discussed. Our aim is to reflect both local developments regarding coal and the big picture we’re a part of. For feedback, comments, or questions, email [email protected]

Coal Report for April 12, 2017

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It may seem somewhat paradoxical, Kentucky’s Coal Mining Museum located in Harlan County being powered by solar, but as of last week work began to install solar panels that the museum operators hope will save them between $8,000-$10,000 yearly in costs. Brandon Robinson, communications director of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, which owns the museum, told WYMT-TV (quote), “It is a little ironic. But you know, coal and solar and all the different energy sources work hand-in-hand. And, of course, coal is still king around here.” (end quote) Tre Sexton the owner of Bluegrass Solar located in Whitesburg who is installing the panels told EKB-TV (quote) “I know the irony is pretty prevalent. Continue reading Coal Report for April 12, 2017

Coal Report for April 5, 2017

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Joseph W. Partin aged 33 lost his life at the Green Hill Mining No. 51 surface mine March 30th, when a 15 foot tall section of rock collapsed.  Partin was performing maintenance work.  Federal inspection records reveal no serious violations at the mine since 2005.  This is the second death occurring at eastern Kentucky mines in 2017, matching the total deaths for all of 2016.  WMMT offers our condolences to the family, friend, and co-workers of Mr. Partin.

Black Lung Update: Federal Researchers Seek Allies in Appalachia

Lawmakers Ask Trump for More Black Lung Funding

The Coal Report is a weekly production of WMMT. It is assembled from newspapers and press services and reports coal-related material as these sources give it. It does not represent the opinion of WMMT on the matters discussed. Our aim is to reflect both local developments regarding coal and the big picture we’re a part of. For feedback, comments, or questions, email [email protected]