US Coal Exports
New! Exports Economic Contributions Report

America’s coal industry is doing its part to increase U.S. competitiveness abroad while producing jobs and economic benefits at home.

In 2012, the U.S. exported 114 million metric tons of coal (126 million short tons) — 12 percent more than the previous high set in 1981.

Annual Coal Exports

Source: EIA, Annual Energy Review 2012; U.S. Dept of Commerce, Bureau of Census

Historically, America’s coal exports have been dominated by the sale of high value metallurgical coal used in steel making. But recently, exports of steam coal used to fuel power plants have begun rising rapidly, creating significant new economic benefits for the United States. For instance, an August 2012 study by Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc., estimated that the economic value from exports of 50 million to 100 million short tons per year of low cost steam coal from the Powder River Basin would yield a net economic gain to the national economy between $40 and $60 per short ton, for a total of $2 billion to $6 billion dollars per year.

Port and coal mine expansions now under way to support the growing export trade stand to create thousands of construction and permanent jobs in all regions of the United States, along with on-going tax revenues and support for local economies.

In February 2013, the Bipartisan Policy Center issued its report and recommendations on “America’s Energy Resurgence.” The comprehensive report concluded that global coal demand supports an expansion of U.S. coal export capacity. The Center recommended against restricting coal exports because doing so would impair our nation’s ability to reduce the trade deficit and balance of payments. The report conclded that other countries will fill the gap if U.S. exports are limited and that current permitting processes provide ample assurances to identify and address local environmental concerns linked to construction and  operation of new export facilities.


Read More:


U.S. Coal Exports: National and State Economic Contributions (Ernst & Young, May 2013)

Coal Exports Facts and Figures

The Economic Value of Coal Exports (EPRINC)

Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Policy Initiative

Economic Impact of Increased Production at Spring Creek Mine

“…we need to export more of our goods. Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America…We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America…We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores”

—President Barack Obama, January 27, 2010

Boosting America's Economy

“Historically, U.S. companies seeking to expand their revenues focused first on increasing their number and share of U.S customers. For years, this focus served as a winning strategy for many of the most successful U.S. companies. Today, global economic trends make clear that successful companies are those that reach and sell to consumers outside U.S. borders and around the globe.”

—2011 National Export Strategy, U.S. Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee

  • “The President’s National Export Initiative should place greater public emphasis on the role coal exports are playing to help reach the White House’s goal of doubling U.S. exports.”
    — U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, January 7, 2014
  • “…we need to export more of our goods. Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America…We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America…We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores”
    — President Barack Obama, January 27, 2010
  • “Historically, U.S. companies seeking to expand their revenues focused first on increasing their number and share of U.S customers. For years, this focus served as a winning strategy for many of the most successful U.S. companies. Today, global economic trends make clear that successful companies are those that reach and sell to consumers outside U.S. borders and around the globe.”
    — 2011 National Export Strategy, U.S. Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee
  • “Federal regulatory agencies should not require climate change studies in the course of their permitting processes for proposed facilities. Coal will be consumed around the world regardless of U.S. trade policy. The only question is whether the coal is produced here in North America, where environmental standards are high, or elsewhere.”
    — U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, January 7, 2014
  • “At present 19% of the world’s population, 1.3 billion people, lack access to electricity and on New Policy Scenario projections there will still be 1 billion people without such access in 2030. To meet the UN Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015, 395 million more people need access to electricity. There is a strong correlation between electrification and improvement in the United Nations’ Human Development Index.”
    — International Energy Agency, Coal Industry Advisory Board
  • “Access to electricity is strongly correlated with every measurable indicator of human development”
    — Berkeley Science Review, 2008

Count on Coal

National Mining Association

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