Kentuckians have long benefited from low-cost utility rates thanks to the proximity of Kentucky’s abundant coal resources in our Central Appalachian and Illinois Basin coal fields. Recently, federal policies and changing energy demands have crippled the coal economy in the eastern and western Kentucky coal fields which has had a negative impact on the entire state. Since the summer of 2011, Kentucky has witnessed the loss of approximately 12,300 of its coal mining jobs. For every one direct coal mining job lost, three other indirect jobs are also lost, which brings the total of job losses to about 37,000. In 2015, Kentucky produced approximately 61.4 million tons of coal, the lowest amount of production since 1954. To help support the future of Kentucky’s coal industry, the Chamber supports:
- efforts that will help Kentucky position itself as the leading exporter of coal to international markets.
- research opportunities that will find alternative uses for coal beyond base load power generation.
- careful legal review of the rules that regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants and elimination or revision of the rules to ensure new coal plants can be built without relying on technology that isn’t commercially viable (carbon capture and sequestration) and that existing plants aren’t forced to retire prematurely.
- support rulemaking and legislation that encourages efficient regulation and beneficial use of coal combustion residuals (CCR) by aligning state criteria to federal criteria, providing clear authority to the state to oversee and enforce regulatory programs and by establishing that beneficial use is the preferred method to manage solid waste including CCR and providing clear exemptions for specific beneficial uses.