According to a recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), there is more reason to support state sovereignty over energy than is popularly known.
The EIA now predicts that 2012 is set to be a record year for coal exports, outpacing the 1981 record of 113 million tons. By the end of 2012, the U.S. is set to have exported over 125 million tons of coal to rapidly industrializing countries such as China and India.
This news is particularly beneficial to Kentucky, a state with ample supplies of “thermal coal” – used to generate electricity – as opposed to “metallurigcal coal” – used to produce steel. That’s because thermal coal is responsible for 95% of the increases in coal exports this year.
Although market forces currently favor an energy switch from coal to natural gas domestically, Kentucky’s most valuable natural resource still has great value worldwide. For environmental groups that justify radical new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency by arguing, “coal is on its way out anyway,” perhaps they should be reminded that the demand for coal expands far past the borders of the U.S.
By pushing for sweeping new mandates which make establishing new coal-fired power plants a sure path to bankruptcy, the EPA is using the force of federal government to put the boots to Kentucky’s most valuable comparative international economic advantage: ample reserves of high quality thermal coal.