"Forecast Troubling for Central Appalachian Coal"

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Long-term forecasts for coal production in West Virginia and the rest of Central Appalachia continue to show major declines are underway -- and still to come -- for the region's mining industry."

"And overall nationwide, coal's share of U.S. electrical generation is expected to continue to drop.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration issued its latest projections.

'EIA expects the coal share of total electricity generation to rise from 37.6 percent in 2012 to 39 percent in 2013 and 39.6 percent in 2014, as natural gas prices rise relative to coal prices,' the agency said. 'Lower than projected natural gas prices along with the industry's response to future environmental regulations could cause the coal share of total generation to fall below this forecast.'

But EIA has also recently projected little change in U.S. coal production in 2013. And the long-term trend, especially for Appalachian coal, is not good."

Ken Ward Jr. reports for the Charleston Gazette February 2, 2013.

SEE ALSO:

"After Highs Reached in the 1990s, Coal Production Levels on the Decline" (Charleston Gazette)

"W.Va.'s New Coal Dust Standards Go Unenforced" (Charleston Gazette)

Source: Charleston Gazette, 02/04/2013