Why coal mines close — spoiler: it’s the economy

The risky business decisions and excessive executive salaries are far more to blame for the coal industry’s decline than any federal regulation. Federal regulations regarding mining are not the reason that coal mines close and jobs are lost in coal country. In fact, the federal government is doing even more than they should to prop up the industry. The federal government provides this industry with tax subsidies, sells these companies’ coal at a price far below market value, allows them to skirt insurance requirements by permitting “self-bonding,” and fails to enforce environmental clean-up laws. The federal government has allowed coal companies to take advantage of our outdated federal coal program for too long. But even all of these favorable decisions and outdated regulations couldn’t help save coal companies from their excessive spending and reckless business investments.

Click here to download a new analysis from the Western Values Project that explains more about the various forces pressuring the coal industry. 

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