Find the Political Will

This month, like last month and the month before, Coal Age is publishing several stories that report the frustration that coal executives are feeling as they endure the excessive overreach by federal regulators. During February, at the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration’s annual convention, North American Coal Corp. CEO Robert Benson spoke at the Coal and Energy Division luncheon (see News, p. 9). At a little less than 30 million tons per year, North American is the ninth largest coal producer in the U.S. Benson’s message to young engineers in the audience that day was to take control of the negative political narrative that dogs our business.

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Spills Overshadow EPA’s Dubious Science

Each year for the February edition, Coal Age collects and publishes data on American longwall installations (see U.S. Longwall Census, p. 26). Readers should note two interesting trends. The first is that, year-on-year, total U.S. longwall production grew by 1.2% to 185 million tons from 183 million tons. During a period where total U.S. coal production shrunk to its lowest levels in 20 years, these installations showed growth. It’s a small number, but it’s a positive number. The other significant change is that Murray Energy now operates the most longwall faces in the U.S. — a position that CONSOL Energy has held since Coal Age began tracking this information in the mid-1980s.

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Fundamentals for Coal Look Good for 2014

By Steve Fiscor / Editor-In-Chief

What do you call a ship full of climate researchers stranded in the ice at the South Pole? A good start to a new year. Seeing those folks entertain themselves on live television via Skype, one had to wonder what it’s like when they are actually working. Is it that dissimilar? With a photo op like this, why didn’t Al Gore and his minions seize the opportunity to rescue them? Probably because they saw the debacle further debunking global climate change.

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Controlling the Narrative

Have you seen ExxonMobil’s Energy Lives Here campaign? With the high amount of natgas propaganda on network television, they are hard to miss. One of the commercials asks: If you could see energy, what would it look like?

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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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