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Coal: We’re mining it more, burning it less

September 20, 2012

Domestic consumption of coal is way down, but production has never been higher. We’re selling more abroad.

With domestic consumption of coal down to its lowest point since 1988, US coal exports have reached their highest levels in 20 years. On the campaign trail, Republicans accuse President Obama of waging "war on coal." Coal companies blame over-regulation from Washington. But US coal production has risen substantially over the last half century, from 560 million tons in 1950 to 1.1 billion in 2011. Exports are rising too.

Today’s infographic reveals the top foreign buyers of American coal. Click on the graphic above to reveal more details, including the shrinking ranks of US miners, then join today’s discussion below. How do you feel about coal as a power source?