Money not the EPA is killing coal
NPR profiles coal workers in Webster Springs in the aftermath of the big layoff by Arch Coal, that gave notice to 750 workers in the region.
Many workers blame the EPA, but the real culprit is money:
Domestic natural gas is killing coal because it's cheap and abundant. Four years ago, electricity generated by gas was twice as expensive as coal. Today, gas is less than half the price of coal.
"What that means is, literally, natural gas is going to kill more coal-fired power plants than the EPA regulations," says Michael Zenker, a coal analyst for Barclays.
In 2012, Zenker says, a perfect storm of sorts took place that sent coal down a deep spiral: an unseasonably warm winter, a significant reduction in electricity demand and, most importantly, hydraulic fracturing or fracking.