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WSJ: U.S. Coal Sector Faces Reckoning

first_imgFull article ($): U.S. Coal Sector Faces Reckoning What isn’t sustainable are the publicly traded coal powers built atop the recent China-driven commodity boom, and the corporate structures—headquarters, salaries, pensions—they maintained. FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享John W. Miller for the Wall Street Journal:Peabody Energy Corp. warned Wednesday that it could go bankrupt, signaling the end of an era for listed U.S. corporate coal companies, even as their mines continue to fuel a big chunk of the country’s power stations.A chapter 11 filing by St. Louis-based Peabody, the U.S.’s largest coal miner, would be the latest in a wave of bankruptcies to hit top American coal producers, including Arch Coal Inc., Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., Patriot Coal Corp. and Walter Energy, Inc.U.S. coal miners are wrestling with high debt levels, low energy prices, new environmental regulations, the decline of steel production, and the conversion of coal-fired power plants to use natural gas made abundant by shale drilling.The industry’s troubles come amid a larger political debate over the future of coal that has flared up in the presidential contest. Most Democrats, concerned about the effects of burning fossil fuels on the environment, advocate a switch to cleaner energy sources, while Republicans decry job losses in the coal sector that they predict would come from policies cutting carbon emissions. The industry’s setbacks have been especially damaging in the coal strongholds of Wyoming and Appalachia.To be sure, this isn’t the end for coal. Just under one- third of the U.S. grid is still powered by coal, and hundreds of mines are still profitable and operating.center_img WSJ: U.S. Coal Sector Faces Reckoninglast_img read more