Virginia regulators, a surety insurance company, and two coal companies are playing hot potato with 22 of bankrupt Blackjewel’s coal permits — and none of them want to be left with the responsibility of reclaiming the sites.
With industry projections trending downwards, questions continue about whether the mine reclamation system can handle ongoing bankruptcies.
Murray Energy filed for bankruptcy in October, the latest of eight coal bankruptcies in 2019. Legal disputes regarding the summer Blackjewel bankruptcy continue.
A Senate bill would help fund miners’ pensions, including those affected by recent bankruptcies. In the House, a bill would re-instate a historic tax on coal companies to fund healthcare for miners with black lung disease.
Blackjewel and Revelation Energy’s July bankruptcy announcement is the latest in a long string of bankruptcies plaguing the coal industry. But this bankruptcy is different, and the troubles it brings could be a sign of more problems to come.
After Blackjewel and Revelation Energy declared bankruptcy in July, the companies retroactively withdrew paychecks from their former employees’ bank accounts, triggering a nearly two-month long protest and several court battles.
Coal company bankruptcies are putting the federal Black Lung Disability Trust Fund in further jeopardy.
Citizen scientists discovered that acid mine drainage is causing a creek in Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest to flow a bright orange, and they spurred state regulators to issue citations to the mine operators. But mining company Revelation Energy is in bankruptcy, which leaves big questions about who will clean up the mess — and when.
Two coal company bankruptcies in July resulted in retroactively withdrawn paychecks from coal miners and an unclear future for roughly 13,000 acres of unreclaimed mine land.
In February, a federal judge allowed Westmoreland Coal Company to terminate benefits for current and retired coal miners.