Now more than 100 years later, some of Kentucky’s most radical environmentalists have read the tea leaves concerning the recent loss of thousands of coal-mining jobs in Kentucky and are gleefully gearing up for a celebration of the industry’s demise.
But they might want to put away the party hats. Coal, including coal mined in Kentucky, isn’t going away. Instead, it’s going to other countries.
A new report compiled for the National Mining Association states that a record 107 million short tons of U.S. coal were exported in 2011.
So while Kentuckians continue to enjoy the direct benefits of Kentucky coal – like cheap energy rates and the jobs they provide in the energy-intensive aluminum and stainless steel industries, we also are reaping some mountain-sized indirect benefits as huge amounts of black rock are shipped to places without an EPA.