‘It’s a sad situation. I hate it for the miners…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Two energy companies that employ hundreds filed for bankruptcy Monday, the latest casualties in the Left’s ongoing War on Coal.
The potential layoffs at Blackjewel LLC and Revelation Energy LLC threatened the jobs of about 1,700 workers in Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Both of the West-Virginia-based companies said changing market conditions, as well as crushing regulation,s led them to shut down their mines, The Lexington Harold Leader reported.
“While the Trump Administration has made great strides in reversing President Obama’s War on Coal, these far-reaching regulations that unfairly penalize this industry are still causing pain in Wyoming and today is the latest example of that,” Cheney said.
Blackjewel LLC closed its mines in Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr—near Gillette—and laid off 700 workers, The Casper Star Tribune reported.
Blackjewel and Revelation Energy CEO Jeffrey Hoops said the company applied for a $20 million loan to keep the mines open throughout bankruptcy proceedings but was rejected.
Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr produce the fourth-most and sixth-most coal in the United States.
The area has faced ongoing economic hardship as fossil-fuel companies continue to shutter.
Six mines, including Blackjewel, in the area have closed since 2015: Alpha Natural Resources, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Westmoreland Coal and Cloud Peak Energy.
Demand for coal—as well as coal prices—has dropped in recent years, especially after 2012 when President Barack Obama began the War on Coal, an environmental effort aimed at regulating and pricing the coal industry out of existence.
Coal companies face stiff competition from natural gas, a clean and competitive coal alternative, and government-subsidized renewable energies.
Cheney pledged to stop the coal company exodus, which has wrecked the Powder River Basin, a region that supplies about 40 percent of the country’s coal.
The area produced 400 million tons of coal 10 years ago. Last year it produced only 283 million, according to the Wyoming Mining Association.
“Coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin is the cleanest in the world and provides power to 27 states,” Cheney said. “Ensuring the reliability of our electric grid by supporting coal—a crucial baseload power source—is an economic and national security priority.”
Revelation Energy LLC shut down its coal mines in Harlan County, Kentucky near Cumberland.
The Cumberland mines employ between 200 and 300 people.
“It’s devastating for the community,” Cumberland Mayor Charles Raleigh said. “It’s a sad situation. I hate it for the miners.”
Eastern Kentucky has seen a drop in coal production much greater, as a percentage, than Wyoming. Coal production dropped from 68 million tons in 2011 to 17 million tons in 2008, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.
The decline has led to 9,600 lost jobs from 2011 to 2018. Fewer than 4,000 coal workers are now employed in Eastern Kentucky, down from 13,600 in 2011.
Hoops said he believes Blackjewel will keep producing coal after bankruptcy.
“We are confident that this restructuring will solidify Blackjewel’s position as a significant participant in the U.S. coal market,” Hoops said. “[Blackjewel] will continue as a significant player in the U.S. coal industry for the foreseeable future.”