The Midwest has seen a significant uptick in coal output, and as the Wall Street Journal reported today, its recent “comeback” has powered new jobs and economic activity in the region.
The article attributes coal’s surge in this region to clean coal technologies that have enabled mining companies to access more broadly the Midwest’s vast deposits of coal. As Vic Svec, of Peabody Energy, noted in the article, “The widespread deployment of scrubbers [installed on coal-fueled power plants] removes the major barrier—sulfur dioxide—to Illinois Basin coal use.”
As many in the article go on to say, the ramped up production of coal from the Illinois Basin is not only giving communities access to affordable, reliable American-made energy, but it’s also creating jobs and spurring economic growth.
David A. Meyer, chairman of the county board of Washington County, IL, said the project has given the area a much-needed boost and has provided “permanent good-paying jobs, some of them very high-tech.” Indeed, one coal mine in a farming community southeast of St. Louis added 580 jobs and helped fund a high school and court building. In McLeansboro, 70 miles to the east, a mine under construction has brought jobs and several new businesses to the area.