In the second decade of the 21st century, the U.S. coal industry is facing unprecedented challenges. While for many years coal provided nearly half of U.S. electricity, in the spring of 2012 that share dropped to below 40% and is expected to continue falling (Energy Information Administration, 2012).1 Coal production is increasing not in Appalachia, the primary U.S. source for coal historically, but in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin (Goodell, 2006). Market competition from the natural gas industry combined with well organized climate and anti-mountaintop removal (MTR) campaigns have significantly curtailed the production of new coal-fired power plants in the United States (EIA, 2012). Under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency appears to be somewhat more amenable than the Bush administration to regulating carbon emissions as a pollutant, and more interested in enforcing Clean Water Act provisions applicable to MTR mining (Broder, 2012). Combined with sharp reductions in the number of coal mining jobs due to the increased efficiency of coal mining techniques, these circumstances have put the coal industry in Appalachia in a precarious position.
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- Corporate Ventriloquism: Corporate Advocacy, the Coal Industry, and the Appropriation of Voice
Peter K. Bsumek
- Palgrave Macmillan UK