The Reality of Coal Mining Jobs

Sightline Daily

Think about coal miners and you probably envision old Americana images: soot-blackened union guys with picks slung over their shoulders. But the truth is, modern-day coal mining is highly mechanized and it employs relatively few workers, many of them non-union. Consider the coal companies in the Powder River Basin that extract nearly 500 million tons of coal each year with just 7,000 workers.

Former Coal Miner to Obama: Set Strong Carbon Pollution Limits on Coal Plants

Sierra Club Compass

The following is testimony from Nick Mullins, a former coal miner from Virginia, given Thursday before the Environmental Protection Agency public hearing in Washington, DC, on carbon pollution standards. My name is Nick Mullins and I am a 4th generation former underground coal miner from Southwestern Virginia. The proud heritage of the coal miner has been soiled by the greed of an industry that knows no bounds in its exploitation of decent, hardworking people. 


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Patriot Bankruptcy Puts Retired Miners in Life and Death Struggle

Sierra Club Compass

In my many years in Appalachia, I''ve worked, traveled, prayed, broken bread, and raised a glass with a good many retired coal miners. Now, many of these retired miners, who sacrificed so much to provide for their families and power the homes of millions, are facing the unthinkable - the retirement and health benefits that they rely on are in jeopardy, due to the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal. Coal mining is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations.

The News Just Keeps Getting Worse for West Virginia (and It Doesn't Stop There)

Sierra Club Compass

" For the 300,000 people affected by the coal chemical spill from two weeks ago, I bet that's very reassuring. And it gets worse -- how about this article featuring a former WV coal miner, Joe Stanley, who says : "I watched the coal industry poison our water for years. We've been dumping this stuff into unlined ponds and into old mines for years," he says. "This I don't know, your guess is as good as mine."

One Volunteer's Story of the West Virginia Elk River Chemical Spill

Sierra Club Compass

Running alongside the Little Coal River in Boone County, West Virginia is the sleepy town of Van. Dustin, the son of a coal miner, grew up at the foot of Cook Mountain, named for an ancestor of his, in a place called James Creek Hollow. " Now, Dustin is going as far as he can for his neighbors; donating his time to make sure that communities across the Coal River Valley have the water they need. Coal Consequences Dirty Fuels Health

The Coal Industry’s Falling Productivity

Sightline Daily

Interesting factoid: an hour of labor produces about 25 percent less coal today than it did a decade ago. Declining labor productivity means rising costs and slimmer profits for coal companies—adding to the woes of an industry that’s already reeling from slumping demand. But it’s not like the coal industry is doing something wrong to make productivity fall. But as the easy coal gets mined out, it gets harder and harder to get new coal out of the ground.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Others March to Save Historic Mountain from Mining


Any greenie will tell you that mountaintop removal mining is a bad idea. Not only does the practice— which involves blowing the top of mountains off with explosives— destroy acres and acres of forest and habitats for many (sometimes endangered) species of animals, but the end result is often more coal to be burned in CO2-emitting power plants. In 1921, a battle took place at Blair Mountain between 10,000 coal miners and the mine operators.

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Still More Bad News for Ambre

Sightline Daily

The bad news for Australian coal miner Ambre Energy has been flying fast and furious for the past few weeks. Back in late June came the revelation that the company’s Morrow Pacific coal export project faces high costs and dim financial prospects —which was inadvertently confirmed by the company’s North American CEO. million in outstanding reclamation and lease bonds for the mine that are held by Cloud Peak. Photo credit Joe Gratz, cc.

Coal Use Declining Across U.S. Due To Natural Gas

Eco Friendly Daily

Coal has been used globally for centuries, helping to assist nations prosper with the cheap fuel source. Unfortunately coal is also responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollutants. Climate change, acid rain and smog can all be linked to the use of coal. But due to the accessibility and cheapness, coal has remained the go-to energy source for many nations across the world, including the United States.

Would-be Coal Exporters Scheme To Avoid Paying Worker Benefits

Sightline Daily

Amid all the “jobs, jobs” cheers from Northwest coal export proponents, two of the biggest players in the debate have embarked on a scheme to weasel out of paying retirement and health benefits to their workers. In a nutshell, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal spun off companies that became Patriot Coal, saddled them with as much of their worker-benefit and environmental liability as they could get away with, and then watched as Patriot went bust. This is appalling.

Uncertainty, Rising Costs Cloud Indian Coal Sector After Landmark Supreme Court Rulings

Sierra Club Compass

India’s coal bubble is perilously close to bursting. While an ultimate decision still looms, the combined weight of these initial rulings reaffirms one thing -- it’s time to diversify away from coal. Of the three rulings, the most talked about came in response to public outrage over sweetheart deals for private mining companies that provided access to coal mine leases for next to nothing.  Meanwhile, another coal project seeking finance from the U.S.

The Conservative Case for a Carbon Tax: Q&A with Jerry Taylor

Conservancy Talk

I would prefer using them to 1) indemnify the bottom quintile of wage earners so that their net tax payments, in aggregate, do not increase as a consequence of the tax, 2) provide some sort of job training or early retirement options for coal miners and 3) use the remainder to cut corporate income tax rates. GhG emissions), methane from natural gas systems, landfills and coal mining (about 6 percent of U.S.

Weekend Reading 3/11/11

Sightline Daily

I love coal. Winters tells the story of his work in coal mining as a young man, and he gives us a good flavor of the industry, and whats wrong about it. I finally dug into "BCs Dark Dirty Secret: Big Coal and the Export of Global Warming Pollution," recently published by the Victoria-based Dogwood Initiative. I take this to be the go-to source for understanding the provinces surprisingly large coal industry. Skip to content.