CA-Black-Transp

Before Obama’s Team Can Move Forward, They Will Need to Undo the Bush Legacy

As the Obama administration gets its sea legs under it, many in the coal industry can’t help but wonder what impact it will have on them. This month for the first time, the new administration started to actively engage the coal mining business. The new leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voiced its opinion on mountaintop mining (See News, p. 8 and Dateline Washington, p.16). Also this month, Coal Age exposes some of the nasty internal politics that took place at the Department of Energy (DoE) over the FutureGen project (See FutureGen, p. 46). Meanwhile, everyone is waiting to see who President Obama will appoint to head the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

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Who Will Pay for Cap-and-Trade?

The Obama administration during February offered a glimpse of what the country can expect with its 2010 budget blueprint titled, “A New Era of Responsibility—Renewing America’s Promise.” The 142-page document can be found at: www.whitehouse.gov. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) section would probably concern the coal industry the most. In it, the president gives many of the details for a cap-and-trade climate change program. The complete FY 2010 budget request is scheduled to be submitted to Congress in April.

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Mining Media’s Conferences Educate and Offer an Edge

Many coal executives today stress over the stock price as much as coal prices and production figures. The cyclic nature of mining is probably one of the more nerve wracking aspects of the business. The speed that executives and investors receive information now hastens the cycle, but also decreases the size of swing. That’s why we are seeing coal mining companies posting record revenues and then talking about austere measures in their market outlook.

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U.S. Coal Miners Post Great Numbers in 2008

The facts speak for themselves. The U.S. coal industry mined a record amount of coal in 2008, somewhere north of 1.17 billion tons, while simultaneously posting impressive safety statistics. Acknowledging the fact that even one fatality is too many, coal-related deaths fell to a 3-year low of 29 during 2008. The third quarter figures, available from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), give an incidence rate of 4.27 for the entire coal industry (approximately 86,000 workers) indicating that on-the-job injuries should also reach the lowest level in three years.

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