Alpha CEO Kevin Crutchfield: Coal industry’s rhetoric ‘doesn’t always have the ring of truth’

January 31, 2013 by Ken Ward Jr.

Darren Epps over at SNL Energy has a fascinating little piece out this afternoon about some remarks made by Alpha Natural Resources CEO Kevin Crutchfield:

In a wide-ranging keynote address at the CoalTrans USA conference in Miami on Jan. 31, a candid Alpha Natural Resources Inc. Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield said coal will continue to lose market share in the U.S. and the influx of natural gas production is a positive development for the country’s economy.

In opening the event, Crutchfield criticized opponents of fossil fuels but acknowledged some of the rhetoric offered in defense of the coal industry “doesn’t always have the ring of truth.”

Specifically:

“Natural gas and other sources will form a more meaningful share of the domestic market, and coal — even if 2013 sees higher demand here at home — will likely constitute a lesser share in the years to come,” he said. “There was a time we always had a market in the U.S., where we could sell everything we produced. For every ton of American coal, there was an American buyer. We probably won’t see those days again.

“Instead of regretting it, let’s focus on where the need is — throughout much of the rest of the world.”

It’s hard to imagine what Crutchfield could be talking about … maybe this, or this or this? Or even this?

The story continues:

Crutchfield said the U.S. EPA’s New Source Performance Standards are a “de facto ban” on new coal-fired power plants. Regulations on the coal industry, he said, will remain difficult over the next four years “and may well get worse.”

“Things will come into a better balance when gas prices go up, as they surely will, but gas will not go away,” he said. “The share of coal we sell domestically is declining and that trend isn’t going to magically reverse itself. More and more international markets are figuring into the decisions we make and the paths we pursue.”

And:

Crutchfield still offered a criticism of fossil fuel opponents, calling their ideals a “none-of-the-above” energy strategy.

“They don’t have a solution beyond some imagined ideal,” he said. “We only follow the green-brick road, they seem to say, and we will finally arrive at some make-believe place unbound by the laws of physics, science and economics.

“When we talk about an all-of-the-above energy strategy, we actually mean it. It’s not always the easy way and it hasn’t made life at Alpha any easier, but I can promise you this — as long as our standard is the real and best interest for consumers and for the country, it’s hard to go wrong.”

Read the whole thing here.

3 Responses to “Alpha CEO Kevin Crutchfield: Coal industry’s rhetoric ‘doesn’t always have the ring of truth’”

  1. Steve says:

    The rest of the world will hopefully benefit from west Virginia coal. In the meantime Americans will continue to pay higher energy costs based on a hoax.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2065954/Climate-change-fears-exaggerated-say-scientists-claim-apocalyptic-predictions-unlikely.html

  2. BOUTTIME says:

    Slowly Composing Coal’s Epitaph.

  3. the curious says:

    Crutchfield’s comments explain why there is such a vigorous political scrimmage surrounding coal export facilities (e.g., http://www.kuow.org/post/new-poll-coal-exports-winning-support-washington ; http://coalexportaction.org/coal/).

    Much as the rise of north american unconventional oil production from non-traditional areas is leading to more oil moving by rail and disconnects between regional markets and transportation networks (the mid-continent being relatively awash in domestic crudes that are trading at a discount to the ocean-borne foreign crudes that east coast refiners were/are using).

    Similarly, as foreign markets become more important for the domestic coal industry, the role of transportation (costs and access) will be increasingly important in determining the economics of individual industry projects.

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