Coal demand, production dropped out west
Coal production nationally dropped between the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017 primarily because several western states have reduced their use of steam coal to generate electricity, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The drop, however, follows a spike in production in the final months of 2016 and the numbers for January through June 2017 are still about 15 percent higher than their 2016 counterparts, according to figures included with the report.
Other EIA reports show that Pennsylvania coal production has been about 20 percent higher this year than last year.
Like the drop in demand, most of the drop in coal mine production occurred in the west, the report says.
By comparison, the production of metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel, increased from the last half of 2016 to the first half of 2017. Most of the new mining activity in Pennsylvania has been because of the met coal market.