West Virginia’s coal industry is currently being hit by a “perfect storm” of regulatory and market factors and the result has been a sharp drop in production – in both the southern and northern coalfields.

According to the EIA’s latest weekly report, while coal production nationwide has slipped just 0.3 percent and West Virginia has seen a drop of just 0.5 percent for the year ending 2/12/12, the more recent trends have shown a steep drop in production – down 2.4 percent nationwide for the year-to-date. In West Virginia, meanwhile, year-to-date production is off 7.2 percent from the same period in 2011 – to just 15.4 tons compared to 16.6 million tons last year.

This sharp decrease is fueled by both a drop in demand as the nation’s utilities work through stockpiles of coal left from a mild winter and decreased demand for met coal because of the economic uncertainties around the world, as well as regulatory uncertainty caused by the Obama EPA’s on-going assault on coal.

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