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Blackjewel’s Bankruptcy Filing Is a Harbinger of Trouble Ahead for the Plummeting Coal Industry

The company wants to walk away from almost 200 mining permits in four states, potentially leaving thousands of acres of environmentally damaged land. By James Bruggers March 3, 2021

A federal bankruptcy judge in West Virginia could soon decide whether to allow the Blackjewel coal mining company, once the nation’s sixth-largest coal producer, to shed responsibility for thousands of strip-mined acres, setting up a potential crisis over clean-up and reclamation of the land.

 

Bankruptcy Court Judge Benjamin Kahn will hold a hearing Wednesday in Charleston on the West Virginia-based company’s liquidation plan, whichcalls for the abandonment of nearly 200 mining permits in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. 

Most of them are in eastern Kentucky, where the future of nearly 8,000 acres of strip-mined mountains hangs in the balance, as shown in court filings and testimony in the massive bankruptcy case that began in 2019.

 

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