Exports of coal surge to highest level since 1991If your interest is in the jobs the coal industry creates, remember, they are not just in the mines. There's this:
By Matthew Brown, Associated Press
U.S. coal exports reached their highest level in two decades last year as strong demand from Asia and Europe offered an outlet for a fuel that is falling from favor at home.
U.S. Department of Energy data analyzed by the Associated Press reveal that coal exports topped 107 million tons of fuel worth almost $16 billion in 2011. That’s the highest level since 1991, and more than double the export volume from 2006.
Much of the increase went to slake the thirst of power-hungry markets in Asia, where rapid development has sparked what mining company Peabody Energy calls a “global coal supercycle” that heralds renewed interest in the fuel.
The AP’s analysis showed coal exports to South Korea leapt 81 percent last year to more than 10 million tons. India saw a 65 percent jump, to 4.5 million tons. And Japan bought almost 7 million tons - a 119 percent increase - as the nation sought alternatives to nuclear power after an earthquake and tsunami resulted in the Fukushima nuclear-complex meltdown.
Exports also are up to Brazil, China and several European nations seeking high-quality coal for steelmaking, according to the Energy Department data. [link]
"Port expansions also are envisioned along the East Coast and in Texas, where Kinder Morgan Energy Partners plans to invest $140 million to expand a coal terminal in Houston. But many of those port plans are being challenged by the coal’s industry’s long-time opponents."
The irony? Fools like Barack Obama (and Tim Kaine here in Virginia) cling to their failed notions that "green energy" jobs, all six of them so far, are the way of the future. This while coal energy continues to expand and support families by the tens of thousands here and around the world. And, to top it off, the planet that Obama will tell you he's trying to clean up by destroying the coal industry is the same planet that continues to burn coal in ever growing quantities for power.
Don't want Southwest Virginia's coal, fellas? Fine. Lots of other folks do.