Trump Outlines Economic Plan that will Restore our Nation’s Economy and put our People Back to Work

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As I’m sure everyone knows, Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, laid out details of his “America First” economic plan in a speech in Detroit earlier this week, that was carried live on nationwide television. While he spoke of tax reductions and reform and changing and/or nullifying trade agreements, the significance to our industry were his proposals for regulatory reform and advancing a workable energy program that will put our people back to work. Below are some of the pertinent excerpts from his speech that will give you a feel for the positive tone of his proposals …
“The U.S. economy today is twenty-five percent smaller than it would have been without the surge of regulations since 1980.”
“Upon taking office, I will issue a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations.”
“I will also immediately cancel all illegal and overreaching executive orders. Next, I will ask each and every federal agency to prepare a list of all of the regulations they impose on Americans which are not necessary, do not improve public safety, and which needlessly kill jobs. Those regulations will be eliminated.”
“The Obama-Clinton Administration has blocked and destroyed millions of jobs through their anti-energy regulations, while raising the price of electricity for both families and businesses. As a result of recent Obama EPA actions coal-fired power plants across Michigan have either shut down entirely or undergone expensive conversions. The Obama-Clinton war on coal has cost Michigan over 50,000 jobs. Hillary Clinton says her plan will ‘put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of business.’
“We will put our coal miners and steelworkers back to work.”
“American steel will send new skyscrapers soaring. We will put new American metal into the spine of this nation. It will be American hands that rebuild this country, and it will be American energy – mined from American sources – that powers this country.”
“We are ready to show the world that America is Back – Bigger, and Better and Stronger Than Ever Before.”

There are other highlights in the release that accompanied the speech. Those highlights include lifting restrictions on American energy, rescinding the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and Waters of the United States regulations, cancelling the Paris Climate Agreement and stopping all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.

Bill Raney, president
West Virginia Coal Association

U.S. Coal Production Off 38 Percent from 2015

Weekly Coal Production & Price Report (March 31, 2016)

Coal Commodity Region/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2 Price Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2  $      42.25  $               1.69
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3  $      48.60  $               1.87
Illinois Basin 11,800 5  $      32.20  $               1.36
Powder River Basin 8,800 0.8  $        9.45  $               0.54
Uinta Basin 11,700 0.8  $      38.05  $               1.63
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)

n/a

0.01

n/a

 $               1.79

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MA

CHARLESTON – According to the latest reports from the Energy Information Agency (EIA), coal production in the U.S. continues to slide, finishing the week off by 38 percent from 2015 totals. Meanwhile spot prices for coal continue to hold steady as they have for the past month. Natural gas spot prices, however, continue to slide.

According to the EIA’s April 1, 2016 weekly report, U.S. coal production for the week totaled just 11.60 million tons, down from 18.84 million tons for the same week in 2015. Year to date production totaled just 157.27 million tons, down from 227.45 million tons (down 30.9 percent). And for the previous 52 weeks, production was off by 17.4 percent, down from 819.97 million tons from 992.90 million tons in 2015.

The decline in coal production was reflected in rail car loadings, which were off 37.8 percent from for the week to just 66,281. This decline in rail traffic is almost entirely due to the decline in coal production and has resulted in both major eastern rail systems announcing major restructurings. CSX recently announced it is closing its regional headquarters in Huntington, West Virginia. Norfolk Southern likewise announced it is closing the Bluefield, West Virginia offices.

Coal exports for the month of January (the most recent data available) were sharply below last year. Metallurgical coal exports are off by 38.5 percent from January 2015 and steam coal exports are off by 54 percent. Imports of coal into the U.S were down for the month by 46.4 percent.

Electric output was down 4.6 percent compared to the same week last year, with 67,690 MWH of electricity produced compared to 70,933 MWH produced for the same period last year.

Domestic steel output was up was up from the previous week.

According to numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute, in the week ending March 26, 2016, domestic raw steel production was 1.68 million net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.6 percent. Production was 1.60 million net tons in the week ending March 26, 2015 while the capability utilization then was 67.7 percent. The current week production represents a 4.6 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending March 26, 2016 is up 0.4 percent from the previous week ending March 19, 2016 when production was 1.69 million net tons and the rate of capability utilization was 71.3 percent.

Adjusted year-to-date domestic raw steel production through March 26, 2016 was 21.5 million net tons, at a capability utilization rate of 70.3 percent. That is down 3.4 percent from the 22.3 million net tons during the same period last year, when the capability utilization rate was 72.1 percent.

In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins report significant decreases from 2015.

The Appalachian Basin finished the week at 2.81 million tons, down from 4.83 million tons in 2014 (-42 percent). Interior Basin production also finished the week down, at 2.19 million tons compared to 3.51 million tons last year (-38 percent). Western production finished the week at 6.60 million tons from 10.30 million tons last week (-36 percent).  All three basins remain down significantly for the previous 52 weeks, with the Appalachian Basin off 23.1 percent, the Interior Basin off 17.3 percent and the Western Basin off 14.7 percent.

According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, coal production in the state stands at 11.66 million tons through March 24th. Of that total, 9.66 million tons was mined by underground operations and 2.01 million tons was produced by surface mining. Only 62 mines have reported production in December2015. Several large operations have idled production due to financial restructuring or in response to slack demand.

However, according to WVOMHST, coal mining employment in West Virginia has fallen sharply to just 11,907 total active miners, with 9,782 working underground and 2,125 working on surface operations. The office does not report data for contract miners or preparation plant workers on a weekly basis.

According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totaled 1.23 million tons, off from 2.11 million tons for the same week in 2015 – down 42 percent.

Production was down in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to the same week in 2015 by 39 percent and 45 percent respectively. For the week, northern West Virginia production finished up at 628,000 tons versus 617,000 tons last week and 1.03 million tons last year. Southern West Virginia, however, finished down at 601,000 tons versus 588,000 tons last week and 1.07 million tons a year ago.

Coal production in Kentucky ended the week at 774,000 tons produced, down from the 1.31 million tons from 2015. Eastern Kentucky coal operations finished the year at 344,000 tons, down from 596,000 tons. Meanwhile, western Kentucky coal operations finished at 431,000 tons versus 710,000 tons in 2015.

Wyoming coal production finished the week at 4.92 million tons versus 7.73 million tons in 2015, off by 36 percent.

Illinois coal production finished the week at 839,000 tons versus 1.3 million tons for the same week in 2015.  Indiana production, however, fell significantly, finishing at 461,000 tons versus 734,000 tons for the month a year ago. Ohio production finished the week at 205,000 tons versus 398,000 tons for the week in 2015. Pennsylvania production was down, finishing the week at 634,000 tons versus 1.1 million tons in 2014. Virginia coal production continues to tall, finishing the year down at 140,000 tons versus 286,000 tons for the year in 2015.

Coal prices on the spot market were unchanged this week. Central Appalachian coal finished the week at $42.25 per ton or $1.69 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal also finished unchanged, coming in at $48.60 per ton or $1.87 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal held steady at $32.20 per ton or $1.36 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal remained at $9.45 per ton or $0.55 per mmBtu. Uinta Basin coal prices finished unchanged at $38.05 per ton or $1.63 per mmBtu.

Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub also held steady this week to finish at $1.79 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers reported a significant decline in their stored reserves – at 2.47 trillion cubic feet, down by 25 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 3.48 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count is down by 12 from last week to 464 working rigs. And the count remains down by 584 rigs from a year ago – a decline of 21%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

About the Author: T.L. Headley is a veteran public relations expert and former journalist with more than 20 years in mass communications with a focus on energy. Headley has an MBA in finance and management and an MA in journalism. He is the principal for Genesis Communications and is a public relations consultant for several major coal and energy organizations in West Virginia. Headley is also a 2001 graduate of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership West Virginia program.

WV Coal Lauds House as it approves Resolutions of Disapproval Joining Senate in Opposition to Job-Killing EPA Costly Power Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a 235-178 party-line vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve two joint resolutions, S.J.Res.23 and S.J.Res.24, which disapprove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rules for new and existing power plants. The resolutions would effectively nullify EPA’s final rules ensuring they have no force or effect.

All three members of West Virginia’s delegation to the House of Representatives voted to support the resolutions of disapproval.

The vote included 231 Republicans voting yes with only 10 voting against the measure, whereas 178 Democrats voted against the measures versus only four who voted with the Republican majority to oppose the Obama Administration’s job killing rules. The resolutions have already passed the Senate by a strong majority with both West Virginia senators voting for the measures.

“We are happy that the Congressional majority recognizes the damage this plan has already done to our industry and to the nation’s electric grid,” said West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney. “We would like to thank Senators Capito and Manchin along with Representatives McKinley, Jenkins and Mooney for their leadership in moving these resolutions through the Congress.

“We believe the EPA’s Clean Power Plan threatens the nation’s electric grid and its economy,” Raney said. “West Virginia is already seeing the damage, with many of our counties seeing unemployment rates of more than 13 percent, but make no mistake, if this plan is implemented the rest of the nation will share in the pain.”

Analysis of EPA’s power plan  shows compliance costs totaling nearly $300 billion, making it the most expensive regulation every imposed on the electric sector. Additionally, each of the Lower 48 states will see electricity prices climbing. Forty-one of those states will see double digit increases with 28 facing peak year increases of 20 percent or more. Despite these enormous costs, the plan will have virtually no effect on global climate change.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Bill Raney, president

West Virginia Coal Association

Ph. 304.342.4153

Email: braney@wvcoal.com

New Analysis Underscores Power Plan’s Costly Consequences

WASHINGTON — “Energy policy needs to ensure all Americans have affordable and reliable electricity to meet everyday challenges and to help build a strong foundation of economic success. Regardless of where you stand politically, this plan fails to meet that threshold.”

Washington, D.C. – New analysis from NERA Economic Consulting shows the Environmental Protection Agency’s power plan comes with a hefty price tag that could approach $300 billion and raise electricity prices in each of the 47 states subject to the new regulation. Despite these enormous costs, the rule does nothing to prevent global climate change.

“This analysis makes it abundantly clear the president’s power plan will result in higher electricity prices and delivers a sharp wake-up call to states and consumers,” said Mike Duncan, ACCCE president and CEO. “Common sense tells us that with 27 states seeking judicial action to stop this plan from being implemented there is reason enough for EPA to take this rule off the table. Sadly, however, common sense isn’t prevailing and as result Americans’ economic well-being and livelihoods are at risk.”

Despite the fact that the president’s plan will have virtually no effect on climate change, NERA’s analysis shows that all of the Lower 48 states will see electricity price increases because of the rule. Consumers in 40 states could see double-digit electricity price increases, and 28 states could face electricity price spikes greater than 20 percent. The annual cost of at least $30 billion per year for the plan is three times greater than the cost of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics rule, which the U.S. Supreme Court criticized by saying, “It is not rational … to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in … benefits.”

“Energy policy needs to ensure all Americans have affordable and reliable electricity to meet everyday challenges and to help build a strong foundation of economic success. Regardless of where you stand politically, this plan fails to meet that threshold,” Duncan said.

Weekly Coal Production & Price Report (November 12, 2015): U.S Production Continues to Trend Below 2014

CoalCommodity Region/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2 Price Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2 $49.00 $1.96
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3 $52.00 $2.00
Illinois Basin 11,800 5 $32.75 $1.39
Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8 $11.55 $0.66
Uinta Basin 11,700 0.8 $40.55 $1.73
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)      n/a 0.01 n/a $2.02

CHARLESTON – Coal production in the U.S. for the week ending November 7th fell slightly from the previous week, continuing to trend below 2014, according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA).
Production in the United States was down by 158,000 tons (-1.0%) to finish the week at 16.47 million compared to last week’s total of 16.63 million tons. Meanwhile, production for the week is off by 2.87 million tons (15%) from the 19.35 million tons for the same week in 2014.
Cumulative production for the year-to-date remains sharply down as of November 7th, coming in at 775.60 million tons compared to 851.29 million tons last year – a decline of 75.68 million tons or 8.9%. Production for the previous 52 weeks also continues lower from last year– finishing at 921.85 million tons compared to 987.97 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-6.7%).
Meanwhile, the number of coal rail car loadings remains down from last year, finishing the week at 94,974 cars, off 1% from same week in 2014.  Coal loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 9.6% from the same period in 2014.
Coal exports for the month of September continue sharply below last year. Metallurgical coal exports are off by 33.2% from September 2014 and steam coal exports are off by 27.4% Imports of coal into the U.S. is up by 21.3 percent.  Year-to-date, metallurgical coal exports are down 21.5% and steam coal exports are down 22.6% compared to the same period last year. Imports of coal are up 6.1% for the period versus last year.
Electric output was down 1.8% compared to the same week in 2014, with 68.62 MWH of electricity produced compared to 69.89 MWH produced for the same period last year.
Domestic steel output, however, was down from the previous week.
According to numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute, domestic raw steel production was down 1.4% from the previous week, coming in at 1.62 million tons compared to 1.64 million tons last week, with a capacity utilization factor of 67.7%.  Steel production is down sharply from the same week last year, when 1.86 million tons were produced at a capacity utilization rate of 77.2%. Steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 8.2% to 76.13 million tons produced compared to 82.94 million tons for the same period last year.
In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins reported modest losses for the week ending November 7th compared to the previous week, but all continue sharply lower compared to the same week in 2014.
The Appalachian Basin finished at 4.03 million tons, down from 4.04 million tons last week (-0.5%). Interior Basin production also finished down at 3.17 million tons compared to 3.24 million tons last week (-2.2%). Western production finished the week lower at 9.27 million tons from 9.36 million tons last week (-0.1%).  However, production remains sharply below the same week in 2014. The Appalachian Basin is off by 17.1% from the same week last year. The Interior Basin is off 13.9% from 2014. And Western production is off 14.2% from the same period in 2014.
All three basins also continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 13.6%, the Interior Basin off 8.6% and the Western Basin down 6.6%.
Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins continue lower for the period ending November 7th, with the Appalachian Basin down 11.6%, the Interior Basin down 6.0% and the Western Region down 4.5%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 174.43 million tons from 185.52 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 236.49 million tons from 267.57 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 510.93 million tons from 581.73 million tons in 2014.
According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, coal production in the state now stands at 81.10 million tons through November 5th. Of that total, 65.39 million tons was mined by underground operations and 15.71 million tons was produced by surface mining. A total of 107 mines are now reporting production through September 2015.
According to WVOMHST, coal mining employment in West Virginia fell slightly to 14,848 total miners, with 12,052 working underground and 2,796 working on surface operations. The office does not report data for contract miners or preparation plant workers on a weekly basis.
According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totaled 1.74 million tons essentially unchanged from the previous week (-1%).  Meanwhile, West Virginia production is off by 13.9% from the same week in 2014.
Production was up in the northern coalfields but down in the southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by 0.4% and 0.2% respectively. However, production is off in both areas year-to-date, by 1.3% and 18.2% respectively.
Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending November 7th was also up slightly compared to the previous week but remains down from the same period in 2014. Kentucky production for the week was reported at 1.12 million tons, up from 1.11 million tons last week but down from the 1.39 million tons for the same week in 2014. Production in eastern Kentucky picked up slightly, while western production declined slightly. Year to date, production in Kentucky is off by 16.5%. Meanwhile production in the state is off by 41.7% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting an 11.8% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 17.8% year-over-year.
Wyoming coal production was down for the week, coming in at 6.87 million tons, compared to 6.94 million tons the previous week, but down from the 7.93 million tons produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 1.1%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 9.0%.
Illinois production finished down, at 1.15 million tons compared to 1.20 million tons last week. Illinois production is up by 8.7% for the previous 52 weeks.
Indiana production came in at 638,000 compared to 642,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Indiana production is down by 7.2% over the previous 52 weeks. Pennsylvania production for the week was also down, to 941,000 tons versus 950,000 tons for the previous week, and production in the Keystone State is down sharply (-10.9%) for the previous 52 weeks.
Ohio production also ticked slightly higher – at 301,000 tons compared to 298,000 tons the previous week. Ohio coal production is off 19.6% year-to-date and down 17.8% for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production was unchanged this week – at 227,000 tons.  Virginia production year-to-date is off by 12.6% and down for the previous 52 weeks by 12.6%.
Coal prices on the spot market were mixed this week. Central Appalachian coal rose slightly to finish the week at $1.96 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal also finished slightly up, coming in at $52.00 per ton or $2.00 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal closed down at $32.75 per ton or $1.39 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal held at $11.55 per ton or $0.66 per mmBtu. Uinta Basin coal prices finished  at $40.55 per ton or $1.73 per mmBtu.
Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal is up to $42.02 per ton compared to $41.88 per ton to last week, while Western Rail rose slightly to $10.18 per short ton from $10.16 and Eastern Rail coal is up to $37.63 per short ton from $36.62 the previous week.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub continued to fall this week to finish the week at $2.02 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 52 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 3.93 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count is down by 4 from last week to 771 working rigs. And the count remains down by 1,154 rigs from a year ago – a decline of 60%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

West Virginia: Looking Forward

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA
I have read a lot of people talking about the economic problems currently faced by Terry 2West Virginia. It seems the eco-left doesn’t want to own its crime and accept that their fight to kill coal with the help of the Obama Administration has essentially destroyed the economy of an entire region of this country.
They cast about looking for excuses — natural gas, the so-called “resource curse”, pretty much anything they can latch onto to deflect criticism and responsibility.
They call for the passage of additional taxes on coal, oil, gas, timber, etc. Arguing that these industries that remain should be forced to bear even more of a burden, pushing them further out of the market, in order to pay higher taxes (a “future fund”) to support social programs to help the poor — poor that resulted in large part from their own brain-dead policies.
Let’s look at some of their claims….
First, there is no “resource curse.” To claim so is to blame the band-aid for the cut. West Virginia’s limiting factor is its geography. These mountains isolate people into small pockets and severely limit the single most important factor in diversifying an economy – easily developable land. The result is a small population living in small pockets that can’t support a broad-based economy. The poverty that would otherwise exist there is alleviated by the resource — which is not dependent on population or even infrastructure beyond the basics of a road or rail system to get their product to market.
Second, some talk about the need for a “future fund.” We have had one for 40+ years in the coal severance taxes that have been paid — which has amounted to more than $2 BILLION in the past four years alone. Could they have been started earlier? Perhaps, but what has been the result of having them for the past four decades?
They were squandered in large part by using them to fund holes in the budget of the state. Very little (seven percent of collections) was targeted back to coal-producing counties. Most went to large population areas like Charleston and the eastern Panhandle.
Clearly, had the 10s of BILLIONS of dollars collected over the past 40 years been set aside as a revolving loan fund used for economic development, combined with a focused effort to turn former surface mine lands into economic development hubs or even to get counties to develop true economic development plans, we would not be looking at a modern day dust bowl in the coalfields.
Even a portion of that money would have made a tremendous difference. Instead, the money went into the black hole of the state budget and county economic development efforts were invariably headed up by “Boss Hogg’s nephew Hughey Hogg.”
Yes, there is plenty of blame to go around, but let’s not blame the band-aid for the cut.
There is still time to turn this around, but we need to support the industry that can and has provided us with the economic base to work from over the past 70 years. There is 200 years of coal left in the ground in West Virginia. We need to concentrate on fixing the problems that are hurting coal mining, then make much better use of the money coming from that industry over the next few decades.
THAT is the path forward.

Coal Seam for November features Coal Miner Sculptor Burl Jones  

CHARLESTON — The November episode of The Coal Seam is now airing and features a show about the West Virginia Coal Miners Memorial Statue on the Capitol grounds in Charleston. Host Chris Hamilton is joined by very special guest Burl Jones, the internationally renowned sculptor who created the memorial.

The Coal Seam is filmed monthly at the West Virginia Library Commission Television Network studios in the State Archives. The

The show reaches approximately 577,000 households across the state via public access television cable stations and is available on your local cable television public access channels, including Suddenlink Channel 17 in the Charleston area. It is also vid-cast via the WV LTN website at http://www.librarycommission.wv.gov/programs/ltn/videoserver/Pages/coalseam.aspx and is also available on the West Virginia Coal Association website at www.wvcoal.com.

West Virginia-led coalition of states joins North Dakota in new source rule challenge

By Annalee Grant
West Virginia’s attorney general is once again leading a coalition of states against the U.S. EPA’s carbon agenda — this time against the Clean Power Plan’s companion, the carbon emissions rule for new power plants.
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Nov. 3 released an unofficial version of his petition for review of the EPA’s new source rule, which will be submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. While he provided few details of his challenge, Morrisey pledged to show that the rule exceeds the EPA’s statutory authority and is otherwise arbitrary and capricious. Those seeking to challenge an agency action must indicate their intent to do so within 60 days of a rule’s publication in the Federal Register, although they do not have to lay out their arguments in that filing.
The Clean Power Plan establishes statewide carbon dioxide emissions standards for existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units, with the goal of cutting CO2 emissions 32% as measured from a 2005 baseline by 2030. The new source rule sets similar emissions standards for new fossil-fired generation, but also includes a carbon capture and sequestration requirement for any new coal facilities that may be built in the future.
North Dakota was the first state to challenge the new source rule, and legal experts have predicted it could be the key to bringing down the Clean Power Plan. Under the relevant Clean Air Act provisions, the EPA must regulate new sources of emissions before it can regulate existing sources of emissions, and so a successful challenge of the new source rule could effectively halt the existing source rule.
Joining West Virginia in the challenge are attorneys general for the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Southern States Energy Board opposes Clean Power Plan, Supports Legal Challenge & Option of “No Plan” by Governors

WVCA Welcomes Resolution by Regional Energy Organization

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS – The West Virginia Coal Association applauded this week’s decision by the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB) to add its name to the rapidly growing list of states and organizations opposed to the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan.  The SSEB signaled its opposition formally by passing a resolution of opposition at its annual meeting, September 28, in White Sulphur Springs.

In passing the resolution, the SSEB cited the economic costs of the plan including job losses across the region and country, double-digit inflation of energy costs and the endangerment of grid reliability among other factors leading to their opposition to the CPP.

The WVCA welcomes the decision by the SSEB to officially oppose the Clean Power Plan.

“This plan will destroy tens of thousands of jobs across West Virginia,” said Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “And that is on top of the tens of thousands of jobs already lost due to the Obama Administration’s on-going war on coal.  Unemployment across the coalfields is at 13, 14 and even 15 percent and rising. Communities are going bankrupt and it is threatening the budgets and economies of entire states.

“More and more organizations are seeing these policies for what they are and they are standing up in opposition,” Hamilton continued. “Hopefully, we can somehow reach this president and get him to understand that you can’t build an economy on some fantasy, you have to build it on hard work and it has to be grounded in reality. And if we can’t get this president and this administration to act responsibly, then hopefully Congress will listen and we can get the administration’s attacks rolled back through their efforts.”

The resolution was authored by West Virginia’s Legislative coalition and SEEB Members, Senate President Bill Cole and Delegates Woody Ireland and J.B. McCuskey. The resolution was unanimously adopted  by all voting members. Before the measure passed, practically every state voiced its displeasure with EPA and the Clean Power Plan.

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WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION & PRICE REPORT (September 25, 2015): US COAL PRODUCTION INCREASES FOR THE WEEK BUT REMAINS BELOW 2014

Coal Commodity Region/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2 Price Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2 $48.65 $1.95
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3 $51.95 $2.00
 Illinois Basin 11,800 5 $34.35 $1.46
Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8 $11.55 $0.66
Uinta Basin 11,700 0.8 $39.70 $1.70
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)       n/a 0.01 n/a $2.70

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA

CHARLESTON – Coal production in the United States Terry 2increased this week.
Production in the United States was up by 438,000 tons (2.5%) to finish the week at 17.80 million compared to last week’s total of 17.37 million tons. Meanwhile, production for the week is off by 1.76 tons (4.6%) from the 19.59 million tons produced the same week in 2014.

Cumulative production for the year-to-date remains sharply down as of September 19th, coming in at 656.61 million tons compared to 715.69 million tons last year – a decline of 59.08 million tons or 8.3% – a slight narrowing of the gap. Production for the previous 52 weeks also continues lower from last year– finishing at 937.03 million tons compared to 981.43 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-4.5%) – a slight widening of the gap over the longer period.
Meanwhile, the number of coal rail car loadings remains sharply down from last year, finishing the week at 103,244 cars loaded, off 9.3% from same week in 2014.  Coal loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 9.1% from the same period in 2014.
Coal exports were not updated this week.
Electric output was up 3.5% compared to the same week in 2014, with 71.33 MWH of electricity produced compared to 74.68 MWH produced for the same period last year.
Domestic steel output, however, was down from the previous week.
According to numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute, domestic raw steel production was up 0.7% from the previous week, coming in at 1.71 million tons compared to 1.69 million tons last week, with a capacity utilization factor of 71.4%.  However, steel production remains down sharply from the same week last year, when 1.88 million tons were produced at a capacity utilization rate of 78.1%. Steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 8.0% to 64.36 million tons produced compared to 69.99 million tons for the same period last year.
In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins reported modest gains for the week ending September 19th compared to the previous week, but all continue sharply lower compared to the same week in 2014.
The Appalachian Basin finished at 4.57 million tons, up from 4.44 million tons last week (2.9%). Interior Basin production also finished slightly up at 3.46 million tons compared to 3.35 million tons last week (2.3%). Western production finished the week higher at 9.78 million tons from 9.57 million tons last week (2.1%).  However, production remains sharply below the same week in 2014. The Appalachian Basin is off by 11% from the same week last year. The Interior Basin is off 8.5% from 2014. And Western production is off 7.9% from the same period in 2014.
All three basins also continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 11.9%, the Interior Basin off 7.4% and the Western Basin down 6.9%.
Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins continue lower for the period ending September 19th, with the Appalachian Basin down 8.7%, the Interior Basin down 2.9% and the Western Region down 3.0%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 178.17 million tons from 183.50 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 244.12 million tons from 267.29 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 514.74 million tons from 530.64 million tons in 2014.
According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, coal production in the state now stands at 66.87 million tons through September 17th. Of that total, 53.60 million tons was mined by underground operations and 13.27 million tons was produced by surface mining. A total of 113 mines are now reporting production through July 2015.
According to WVOMHST, coal mining employment in West Virginia fell slightly to 15,036 total miners, with 12,202 working underground and 2,834 working on surface operations. The office does not report data for contract miners or preparation plant workers on a weekly basis.
According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totaled 1.92 million tons compared to 1.89 million tons for the previous week (1.5%).  Meanwhile, West Virginia production is off by 11.1% from the same week in 2014.
Production was up in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by 1.3% and 2.6% respectively. However, production is off in both areas year-to-date, by 0.6% and 17.2% respectively.
Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending September 19th was sharply up compared to the previous week but remains down from the same period in 2014. Kentucky production for the week was reported at 1.30 million tons, up from 1.24 million tons last week but down from the 1.52 million tons for the same week in 2014. The eastern and western regions of Kentucky also increased week-over-week, but remain sharply lower from the same time in 2014.  Eastern Kentucky reported 637,000 tons produced for the week, up from 598,000 tons the previous week and off from 746,000 tons for the same week last year. Western Kentucky reported 666,000 tons of production, up from 645,000 tons the previous week and off from 775,000 tons in 2014. Year to date, production in Kentucky is off by 15.5%. Meanwhile production in the state is off by 12.4% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting a 10.6% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 14.2% year-over-year.
Wyoming coal production was up for the week, coming in at 7.12 million tons, compared to 6.98 million tons the previous week, but down from the 7.70 million tons produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 7.8%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 2.2%. Illinois production also finished slightly up at 1.18 million tons compared to 1.16 million tons last week. Illinois production is up by 10.9% for the previous 52 weeks.

Indiana production came in at 669,000 compared to 659,000 tons last week and 751,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Indiana production is down by 6.5% over the previous 52 weeks. Pennsylvania production for the week was also slightly up, coming in at 1.09 million tons versus 1.07 million tons for the previous week and 1.18 million tons for the same week in 2014. Production in the Keystone State continued its slide, down 8.9 percent year-to-date and 3.8% for the previous 52 weeks.
Ohio production also ticked slightly higher – at 362,000 tons compared to 345,000 tons the previous week and 416,000 for the same week a year ago. Ohio coal production is off 16.0% year-to-date and down 13.8% for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production increased slightly this week – to 240,000 tons compared to 234,000 tons for last week and 285,000 for the same week in 2014. Virginia production year-to-date is off by 16.0% and down for the previous 52 weeks by 15.1%.
Coal prices on the spot market were mixed this week. Central Appalachian coal rose 5 cents a tons to $48.65 per ton or $1.95 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal also added 5 cents, coming in at $51.95 per ton or $2.00 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal closed unchanged at $34.35 per ton or $1.46 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal held at $11.55 per ton or $0.66 per mmBtu, and Uinta Basin coal prices were firm at $39.70 per ton or $1.70 per mmBtu.
Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal held at $42.50 per ton while Western Rail fell to $10.86 per short ton from $10.95 a week ago and Eastern Rail coal is down to $43.53 per short ton from $43.78 the previous week.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub fell 1 cent to finish the week at $2.69 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers once again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 73 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 3.33 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count shows gas producers continuing to take rigs out of service. The number of working rigs is down by four from last week to 838 working rigs. And the count remains down by 1,093 rigs from a year ago – a decline of 57%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.