West Virginia University
researchers predict that state coal production will drop 39 percent compared
with the industry's last
in 2008. high point
The WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research released a report Thursday assessing coal production outlook over the next 20 years.
The forecast says production will fall from 115 million short tons in 2014, to 104 million short tons this year, to 98 million short tons in 2016.
Despite a moderate rebound from 2017 to 2020, production would drop to less than 96 million short tons in 2035.
produced 158 million short
tons in 2008. West Virginia
A 29-percent drop would hit the already struggling southern coalfields by 2035. Northern coalfields production would only drop somewhat.
The report attributes coal's continued downfall to various economic, environmental and regulatory factors.