Blog Archives

Coal slurry spill in West Virginia linked to Alpha Natural Resources affiliate

A coal slurry spill on March 23, 2017, leaked approximately 5,400 gallons of coal slurry into Crooked Run, a tributary of the Coal River. The processing plant in Boone County, W.Va., where the spill originated is affiliated with Alpha Natural Resources.

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Alpha Natural Resources to Exit Bankruptcy

Alpha Natural Resources won approval to emerge from bankruptcy. The plan rests on the transfer of Alpha’s core coal assets to new company, Contura Energy, Inc.

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Bankrupt Coal Companies Dodge Liabilities and Distribute Bonuses

Three major U.S. coal companies have filed bankruptcy and are grappling with their liabilities to restore sites after mining and their obligations to employees, past and present.

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Major Coal Companies File for Bankruptcy

Both Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources are undergoing bankruptcy. Alpha was allowed to issue nearly $12 million in executive bonuses, even while it tries to avoid paying some retirees’ life insurance and health benefits.

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West Virginia Communities Still at Risk Despite Idled Mines

Map layer courtesy West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, design by Haley Rogers

West Virginia communities, including Naoma and Sundial are still dealing with problems related to mountaintop removal coal mining. Toxic coal slurry impoundments, increased blasting and diminished water quality are among the challenges facing such communities at risk.

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New Research and Lawsuits Keep Mountaintop Removal in the Spotlight

By Brian Sewell While battles over mountaintop removal permits reach their boiling point and lawsuits are filed and settled, new research revealing the environmental costs continues to pile up. In September, a study by Duke University, Kent State University and

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Selenium Spillover: Pollutant Poses Growing Risks to Ecosystems and the Coal Industry

By Brian Sewell Last year, when the bankrupt Patriot Coal Corp. agreed to phase out mountaintop removal coal mining as part of a settlement with environmental groups, it was partially because the company was on the hook for more than

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The Export Enigma: Appalachian Coal’s Complicated Outlets Overseas

By Brian Sewell Recently, coal exports have provided operators in Appalachia with a crucial buffer against the market-driven forces that are shaping the energy landscape across the United States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, between 2009 and 2011,

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A Finite Frontier: Facing the Future of Central Appalachian Coal

By Brian Sewell On Sept.18, Appalachian coal mining giant Alpha Natural Resources announced it would idle eight mines and lay off 400 employees in the first phase of a “strategic repositioning” plan designed to meet the evolving demands of a

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