Coal mining in the United States


Coal mining in the United States

Coal mining in the United States is a major industry, and reached an all-time high of 1.06 Gt (1.17 billion short tons) in 2008, being mined in 25 states. The US was a net exporter of coal in 2008, with the surplus of exports over imports equalling 4% of the total mined.[1]

2007 coal production by region (US Enegy Information Administration

Contents

Coal mining areas

Twenty-six states produce coal.[2] The major coal-producing states are (in descending order as of 2000, with annual production in thousands of short tons):[3][4]

Total United States: 1,437,174

Coal usage

More than 90 percent of the annually-mined coal in the United States is used by the US electrical power industry.[5] Since 2000, the growth of coal-fired power generation has slowed considerably from what it was in the late 1990s.[6]

Coal accounts for about half of electricity production in the United States. In 2006, there were 1,493 coal-powered generating units at electrical utilities across the US, with total nominal capacity of 335.8 GW[7] (compared to 1024 units at nominal capacity of 278 GW in 2000).[8] Actual power generated from coal in 2006 was 227.1 GW (1.991 trillion kilowatt-hours per year),[9] the highest in the world and still slightly ahead of China (1.95 trillion kilowatt-hours per year) at that time.[10] In 2000, US production of electricity from coal was 224.3 GW (1.966 trillion kilowatt-hours per year).[9] In 2006, the US consumed 1,026,636,000 short tons (931,349,000 metric tons) or 92.3% of coal mined for electricity generation.[11]

Opposition

At the peak of global warming's fame in the US [12] - especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and of Al Gore's receipt of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his promotion of belief in climate change - had temporarily raised public opposition to new coal-fired power plants.[13][14] Alongside this events, the anti-coal movement - both in the U.S. and internationally, especially in the UK and Australia - had made coal-fired power projects more politically costly, and tried to turn spurred further shifts in public opinion against coal-fired powertopublicity surrounding anti-coal campaigns.[15][16][17]

In an effort to counter this trend, many of the largest coal mining companies, electric utilities, and railroads in the U.S. launched, in 2004, a high-profile marketing campaign, convincing the American public that coal-fired power can be environmentally sustainable.[18][19][20] However, some environmentalists condemned this campaign as an example of "greenwashing": an attempt to use environmentalist rhetoric to disguise what they call" the inherently environmentally unsustainable nature of coal-fired power generation".[21] For example Australian environmental activist Tim Flannery thinks "Coal can't be clean".[22]

See also

References

  1. ^ F. Freme, "Coal review," Mining Engineering, May 2009, p.50-60.
  2. ^ KET.org
  3. ^ EIA.doe.gov
  4. ^ EIA.doe.gov
  5. ^ Pittsburghlive.com
  6. ^ US Energy Information Administration: Net generation by energy source, accessed 24 January 2009.
  7. ^ "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States". Energy Information Administration. 2007. http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/page/capacity/capacity.html. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  8. ^ "Inventory of Electric Utility Power Plants in the United States 2000". Energy Information Administration. March, 2002. http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/ipp/html1/t1p01.html. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  9. ^ a b "Electric Power Annual with data for 2006". Energy Information Administration. October 2007. http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epat1p1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  10. ^ See Wikipedia article on the Chinese Economy
  11. ^ "U.S. Coal Consumption by End-Use Sector". Energy Information Administration. July 25, 2008. http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/coal/quarterly/html/t25p01p1.html. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  12. ^ "Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy 2007 Environment Survey", Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy website, March 7, 2007.
  13. ^ "Iowans Want Energy Conservation Before New Coal Plants", Environment News Service, December 21, 2007.
  14. ^ "Kansans Support Decision to Nix Coal Plants, Want Focus on Wind Energy", Lawrence Journal-World, January 4, 2008.
  15. ^ Nace, Ted. "Stopping Coal In Its Tracks", Orion, January/February 2008.
  16. ^ "Fight Against Coal Plants Draws Diverse Partners", New York Times, October 20, 2007.
  17. ^ "You're Getting Warmer", East Bay Express, December 5, 2007.
  18. ^ "Coal Scores With Wager on Bush Belief", Washington Post, March 25, 2001.
  19. ^ "Spreading Misleading Messages", San Francisco Chronicle, November 3, 2004.
  20. ^ "Coal Industry Plugs Into the Campaign", Washington Post, January 18, 2008.
  21. ^ "Greenwash of the Week: Coal Industry Buys Off CNN debates", Rainforest Action Network Understory blog, January 23, 2008.
  22. ^ "Coal Can't Be Clean - Flannery", Melbourne Herald Sun, February 14, 2007.

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