The Sierra Club and Kentuckians for the Commonwealthhave filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in hopes of blocking a surface mine permit in eastern Kentucky. Coal company Leeco, Inc. (a subsidiary of James River Coal) is seeking the permit for a valley fill at the Stacy Branch mine on the border of Knott and Knott counties. A valley fill is created during mountaintop removal mining--the mountain is partially removed to reach coal seams, and then the dirt and rock (or "overburden") is disposed of in valleys.
A recent deal to send millions of tons of Appalachian coal to India could bring billions of dollars to Kentucky coal producers over the next twenty-five years. But it’s not very good news for climate change. The deal will ship up to nine million tons of Appalachian coal to India for the next 25 years. This is a lot of coal—nine million tons is actually about equivalent to the amount of coal purchased by the state of Virginia in 2010.
Nine million tons of Appalachian coal will be heading to India this year, after a new deal was announced yesterday between several Kentucky coal producers and an Indian company. This is good news for the struggling Kentucky coal industry—but it may not be enough.
A state official said Gov. Steve Beshear was set to announce a partnership on Wednesday which could reverberate throughout the coal industry in Kentucky. State Rep. W. Keith Hall told the News-Express on Tuesday that officials were expected to announce a coal mining partnership between a Kentucky group and the Indian government which could result in as much as 6 million tons of Kentucky coal being shipped to India each year. The partnership, Hall said, is expected to last as long as 25 years.
The New York Times has a story up today about a contentious mine in Owensboro, Kentucky. The Daviess County Fiscal Court voted earlier this month to allow a surface mine proposed by Western Kentucky Minerals. The mine would abut a Girl Scout camp: Camp Pennyroyal. Now, the decision is being appealed. But in the meantime, it's pitting residents against each other.
Alpha Natural Resources--a coal company with mines in eastern Kentucky, as well as throughout Appalachia--reported its second quarter earnings yesterday and the news wasn't good. The company had a net loss of $2.2 billion in the second quarter of 2012. That compares to a $50 million loss for the same period last year.