CA-Black-Transp

Great Properties Change Hands

After months of rumors, CONSOL Energy finally announced that it had sold several longwall mines (See Murray Energy Buys 5 CONSOL Longwall Mines, News, p. 5). This was the second time this year that a leader in the longwall mining sector sold tier 1 assets to a medium-sized producer. In July, Arch Coal sold its Canyon Fuel mines to Bowie Resources. This deal, however, is much bigger in several respects.

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The EPA Makes Bold Moves

As expected, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Clean Air Act standards to cut carbon pollution from new power plants. The move was motivated by President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. While the EPA proposal offers some flexibility, new coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 lb of CO2 per MW-hour. The technology needed to meet these standards does not currently exist, which effectively rules out coal for future power production. The EPA then went one step further by announcing its plan for a “Listening Tour” for controlling carbon pollution from existing power plants. Ironically, the Listening Tour won’t be coming to Coal Country.

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American Politicians Could Learn from the Australians

Australia’s stalled mining sector is poised for a fresh boost with the recent election of a conservative government headed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who championed a platform that included scrapping a deeply unpopular carbon cap-and-trade scheme and a mining resources rent tax.

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Coal Markets Showing Signs of Improvement

sfiscor2012It had to happen sooner or later. After taking a beat down for about 18 months now, old King Coal is finally seeing some signs of market improvement. Of course, this comes after U.S. operators dialed back production and laid off thousands of miners.

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Gifts for the Energy Business

Last month, I had the great pleasure of being in West Virginia again. The purpose of the trip was to cover the opening of Alpha Natural Resources’ Running Right Leadership Academy, which is the cover story this month (See Alpha Academy, p. 24). On several occasions, we have approached Kevin Crutchfield, CEO and chairman for Alpha,  to discuss the integration of the Massey Energy operations. Each time, he politely declined. He and his 11,700-member team have been busy as one could only image.

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