Environmental Group says U.S. is Distorting Coal Reserves

Oct 30, 2013

An environmental group lists Michigan among a dozen states in which the cost of delivering coal for use in energy production has grown at two to three times faster than inflation over the past decade.

Credit Clean Energy Action

Clean Energy Action Director of Research and Policy Leslie Glustrom says the government is also over-estimating the amount of affordable coal reserves. 


The U. S. Energy Information Administration says coal reserves should last another 200 years, but Glustrom says there's a difference between coal that can be mined profitably, and coal that's simply available.

Glustrom says it's time for policy makers to start looking beyond coal for energy, and she says her research suggests they've got fewer than 20 years to do it.

Available online at http://cleanenergyaction.org/faulty-reporting-us-coal-reserves, the CEA report titled “Warning: Faulty Reporting of U.S. Coal Reserves” concludes:

The belief that the U.S. has a ‘200 year’ supply of coal is based on the faulty reporting by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of U.S. coal deposits as ‘reserves.’ Most U.S. coal is buried too deeply to be mined at a profit and should not be categorized as reserves, but rather as ‘resources.’ The report recommends that decision makers at all levels should begin taking a hard look at coal cost and supply issues considering both geology and finance and begin thinking about scenarios that require moving the US beyond coal in significantly less than 20 years… In short, the EIA’s reporting of over 200 billion tons of ‘Estimated Recoverable Reserves’ for US coal supplies has been like a ‘faulty fuel gauge’ for US coal estimates.