Those who hate the coal industry, and by extension the reasonably-priced electricity it generates for tens of millions of Americans, never tire of inventing new arguments for why every mine in the U.S. should be shut down. It is easy to imagine the hand-clapping glee with which some have greeted the newest - and perhaps most absurd - claim being made against coal.
In essence, it is that we should stop using coal because there isn't much left to use.
Analysts at the government's Energy Information Administration estimated recently that the United States contains about 200 billion tons of coal reserves that can be mined economically. It has been pointed out that if anything, the EIA figure is conservative.
But an organization with an unabashed bias against fossil energy, Clean Energy Action of Boulder, Colo., claims we have nearly exhausted the nation's economically mineable coal. CEA claims U.S. coal reserves "could run out in 20 years or less."
It just isn't true.
To demolish just one of the organization's claims, consider that it bases part of its argument on a drop-off in coal production in 2008. Well, yes, there was a dramatic drop in output from U.S. mines that year - as there were decreases in most business and industrial activities because of the "Great Recession." Lower output was because of decreased demand, not any lack of coal.
Like so many who want to destroy the coal industry, CEA uses only numbers that back its claims, distorting even those.
The brutal yet obvious truth is that outfits like CEA are either incredibly stupid or lying intentionally. You decide which.