The coal industry has had dark days in the past, tainting public opinion of the industry as a whole, yet many do not realize those days have passed.
Regarding safety and environmental stewardship, mining companies have set high standards for themselves, often above and beyond minimum requirements stated in regulations.
Mining, while in progress, is ugly, as are all construction projects. However, modern reclamation practices continually strive to improve the end product. Groups such as the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative extensively research new methods of improving previously mined land.
Many claim the coal mining industry is corrupt without understanding the extensive regulatory requirements to even start a mine. Regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, do not allow companies to ignore laws.
Mining as a whole is one of the most heavily regulated industries in all areas, from environmental impacts to the safety of miners.
Coal is disputed from mining to its use in power plants. Beyond electricity, most do not realize coal is mined for other reasons.
Our steel industry relies on metallurgical-grade coal. As for steam coal, many claim its use in power plants around UK put students at risk and are pushing for other forms of energy. These forms of energy have their place and are growing in importance as new technologies continue to improve efficiency and lower cost.
According to the International Energy Agency, the world demand for coal is only going to grow in the next 20 years; some say it may even double.
The future of energy includes coal; there is no question about that. Rather than block new coal- fired power plants completely, the government and the EPA should embrace these new plants.
The amount of coal mined in eastern Kentucky has fluctuated since the late 1970s, dropping briefly in the early 1980s, rising sharply and remaining high through the late 1980s and mid...