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Ken Ward Jr. at Coal Tattoo has an excellent summary of new report on coal supplies in Central Appalachia. The upshot of the report is that coal production in the eastern coalfields is declining. Here is what Ken says is the key graph:
Given the numerous challenges working against any substantial recovery of the region’s coal industry, and that production is projected to decline significantly in the coming decades, diversification of Central Appalachian economies is now more critical than ever. State and local leaders should support new economic development across the region, especially in the rural areas set to be the most impacted by a sharp decline in the region’s coal economy.
The report is titled The Decline of Central Appalachian Coal and the Need for Economic Diversification. The pdf is here. The two authors are with a private consulting firm. There have been warnings for decades that the Eastern Mountains were running out of mineable coal. Ward believes this one is for real. There are 37,000 people working for the coal industry in these states. In some counties, 40% of the labor force works digging coal. That this business will decline is a big deal for Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee.