Coal

President Trump made coal jobs a core of his presidential campaign, repeatedly vowing to bring back "beautiful" coal despite the industry's decades-long decline. And in pockets of the U.S. during Trump's first year in office, it may well have felt like a turnaround was underway.

A review of data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration shows 1,001 more U.S. coal jobs last year compared with 2016, although energy analysts say the reasons are short term and have nothing to do with White House policies.

Vectren, via WKYU

The Evansville energy company that serves 145,000 customers in southwestern Indiana has released a transition plan that phases out most coal-fired power and replaces it with natural gas and solar.

Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

At a recent conference in Lexington, Kentucky, economists and community leaders gathered to talk about the state’s current budget crunch and possible economic future.

Peter Hille, president of Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, said Kentucky and other Appalachian states need to do more to build a new economy and move from dependence on a single source.

Still from White House video

President Donald Trump made coal a central theme of his first year in office. So after a year in office, what does his record tell us? The Ohio Valley ReSource series, “One Year, Under Trump,” looks at what the president has done on some of the region’s key issues. As Becca Schimmel reports, despite the coal-heavy rhetoric, the area’s industry has seen only minor change in employment.

A federal energy regulator has rejected a proposed rule that would have subsidized nuclear and coal plants, helping those fuel sources compete with cheaper natural gas and renewables.

The rule was described by the Department of Energy as a way to promote the resilience of the electric grid — that is, its ability to provide reliable energy in the face of disruptive events like bad weather.

U.S. coal mines recorded 15 workplace deaths in 2017 only a year after they hit a record low, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration data released on Tuesday.

In 2016, just nine deaths occurred in U.S. coal mines.

West Virginia mines saw eight deaths, Kentucky had two, and one each occurred at mines in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Mimi Pickering, WMMT

  One evening this past November, angry customers and public officials filled a high school auditorium in Hazard, Kentucky, and took turns pleading with three members of the state’s public service commission.

Arnold Paul, via Wikimedia Commons

The coal industry cheered the Trump administration’s EPA at recent hearings in West Virginia for the agency’s move to repeal the Clean Power Plan. The Obama-era rule would have reduced greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. 

iStockPhoto

An employee at a Kentucky coal mine has been sentenced for violating the federal Mine Safety and Health Act.

Kenn W. Kiser, morgueFile.com

Several lawmakers from the Ohio Valley region have joined a bipartisan push to fund what’s called carbon capture and storage. That technology can strip CO2 from power plant emissions. But it is also extremely expensive. Glynis Board of the Ohio Valley ReSource reports that the mounting urgency to address climate change has caused some who were skeptical of the technology to take a fresh look.

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