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


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]


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


  1. ^ F. Freme, "Coal review," Mining Engineering, May 2009, p.50-60.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  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. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  8. ^ "Inventory of Electric Utility Power Plants in the United States 2000". Energy Information Administration. March, 2002. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  9. ^ a b "Electric Power Annual with data for 2006". Energy Information Administration. October 2007. 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. 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.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coal power in the United States — Sources of electricity in the U.S. in 2009.[1] See also: Coal mining in the United States …   Wikipedia

  • Mining in the United States — Contents 1 History 2 Mining by mineral 3 Mining by state 4 See also Histor …   Wikipedia

  • Coal mining in the United Kingdom — Coalfields of the United Kingdom in the 19th century. Coal mining in the United Kingdom probably dates to Roman times and took place in many different parts of the country. Britain s coalfields are associated with Northumbria and Durham, North… …   Wikipedia

  • Uranium mining in the United States — declined drastically in the 1980s, but has revived since 2001 due to higher uranium prices. The average spot price of uranium oxide (U3O8) increased from $7.92 per pound in 2001 to $39.48 per pound in 2006. [Department of Energy s [http://www.eia …   Wikipedia

  • Open-pit coal mining in the United Kingdom — The United Kingdom produces about ten million tons of coal a year [1] from open pit mines. The majority comes from Scotland [2], with the largest operator there being the Scottish Coal subsidiary of Scottish Resources Group [3]; they are rather… …   Wikipedia

  • Coal in the United States — Utilities buy more than 90 percent of the coal mined in the United States [ 586978.html] .Since the presidency of George W. Bush began in January 2001, coal fired power generation… …   Wikipedia

  • Mining in the United Kingdom — Kellingley Colliery on the border of West and North Yorkshire. Mining in the United Kingdom produces a wide variety of mineral fuels, metals, and industrial minerals. In 2006, there were over 2200 active mines, quarries, and offshore drilling… …   Wikipedia

  • The United States of America —     The United States of America     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The United States of America     BOUNDARIES AND AREA     On the east the boundary is formed by the St. Croix River and an arbitrary line to the St. John, and on the north by the… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Energy policy of the United States — The energy policy of the United States is determined by federal, state and local public entities in the United States, which address issues of energy production, distribution, and consumption, such as building codes and gas mileage standards.… …   Wikipedia

  • Nuclear power in the United States — For a comprehensive list of U.S. plants, see List of nuclear reactors. NRC regions and locations of nuclear reactors, 2008 Main article: Nuclear power As of 2008, nuclear power in the United States is provided by 104 commercial reactors (69 …   Wikipedia