Coal in the Spotlight

More than any other fuel, coal helped build the United States into a strong and prosperous nation. Yet coal is needed now more than ever.

While the coal industry takes pride in its major role in the history of America, the industry's mines are geared to have an even greater hand in the future in meeting the nation's demands for increased supplies of energy.

First off, the United States has more coal - often called nature's black diamond - than any other fossil fuel, an estimated 250 year supply. Coal really is a natural resource in this country. Coal is located in 38 states and mined in 25.

Secondly, the mining of coal has never been a more positive scenario than at present. Thanks in large part to technological advances, coal has been converted into a uniquely modern and versatile fuel - one mined through mechanization and by skilled workers and utilized in ways assuring the protection of the environment.

Coal is already used to generate a little more than 40 percent of the country's electricity. One reason is that coal is the lowest priced fossil fuel for powering the utility company's turbines that provide electricity to homes, offices, schools, stores and factories.

The coal industry contributes billions of dollars each year to the national economy. Hundreds and hundreds of communities depend on coal for their economic stability. The jobs created by coal mining lead to income for retailers, teachers, mechanics and many others.

The fact of the matter is, aside from the importance of coal in the energy picture, coal mining itself is one of America's traditionally basic industries.