In Defense of the Coal Industry

June 17, 2016

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To the Editor:

The New York Times published two articles intended to raise alarms and vilify the coal industry (“,” front page, June 7; and “,” editorial, June 10). Both are based on the unfounded premise that the coal industry is trying to shirk its environmental responsibilities when it comes to mine reclamation.

Modern mining has a successful track record in effectively fulfilling its reclamation commitments. These efforts continue, notwithstanding the financial challenges posed by regulatory policies intended to cripple the industry — policies supported by The Times.

The federal law requiring reclamation plans and procedures was passed in 1977 to address legacy defaults from earlier decades. Today’s operators that self-bond meet their reclamation obligations. Companies, including Alpha Natural Resources and Peabody Energy, which you cite, have in recent years won awards for outstanding reclamation activities by the federal agency that manages the 1977 law, the Interior Department.

These awards honor performance that exceeds federal standards. In addition to prevailing reclamation practice, the coal industry has contributed more than $9 billion to a federal fund dedicated to restoring lands from the prior era.


President and Chief Executive

National Mining Association


Category: General