Peak coal comes to Appalachia

The coal there was supposed to last for many more years. But that looks doubtful now. Appalachian coal is the highest quality too. It’s the same story as oil, all the easy stuff has already been gotten out of the ground. What remains is way more costly to get at.

So, if oil and coal are getting increasingly difficult and expensive to produce, then that makes moving to renewables (and probably nuclear) even more of a priority. Coal was supposed to be our dirty little ace-in-the-hole. But maybe not.

Plus, some US coal companies export it to other countries. Oh yeah, that’s real carbon-friendly. Mine it with huge machines, then ship it across  the ocean somewhere.

We really need cleaner, more efficient ways to create power.

One comment

  1. Coal is an interesting story. The state with the largest production isn’t in Appalachia– it’s Wyoming, which (in 2005) produced 1/3 of all U.S. coal, more than WV & KY combined. Twenty-five U.S. states produce coal, including Utah (ranked 13, producing 2% of the nation’s total). Acccording to Wiki, most U.S. coal (including that from Appalachia) is bituminous.

    In Utah, coal lands were sold by the U.S. Congress in 1860, primarily to the railroads who were permitted large holdings, which later sold to multi-national energy companies. Thus, little of Utah’s coal industry is controlled from within the state.

    Ironically, the same policies remain in place for energy production. Recently, an oil well appeared on our horizon– out here in the middle of nowhere. Apparently some company got BLM to grant oil exploration rights on nearby public land– no local permits required.

    If oil is discovered, the local communities (including ours) will no doubt lose their say in the direction of their development. But short-sighted federal policies have made oil a matter of national security, so who cares what the locals want?

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