Article image

Coal industry bankruptcies creating more abandoned mines

Coal industry bankruptcies creating more abandoned mines. The growing number of coal industry bankruptcies make it increasingly likely taxpayers will get stuck with the huge environmental costs of abandoned mines.

Analysts say it’s only a matter of when, where and how many more coal mines will close. Concerns are growing bankrupt coal companies can’t meet their cleanup and reclamation obligations. Coal industry bankruptcies creating more abandoned mines

State and federal regulators for years have allowed coal companies to promise to clean up mines instead of setting aside money to do so. The practice is called self-bonding.

The Associated Press has counted up more than $3.3 billion in coal self-bonding obligations in nine top coal-mining states. That includes $2.3 billion in self-bonding by the three biggest coal companies in Chapter 11: Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy., rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Coal is primarily used as a fuel. While coal has been known and used for thousands of years, its usage was limited prior to the Industrial Revolution. With the invention of the steam engine coal consumption increased. As of 2016, coal remains an important fuel as it supplied about a quarter of the world’s primary energy and two-fifths of electricity. Some iron and steel making and other industrial processes burn coal.

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day