Gov. Steve Beshear says he’s concerned about the declining revenues form the coal severance tax, echoing concerns raised by House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Money from the tax on mined coal is used largely for state, county and city infrastructure projects — specifically in coal mining areas like Eastern Kentucky. 

“I am concerned about the coal severance receipts — they are down, they’re down significantly. And that’s because coal mining is down significantly, the tons of coal mined has dropped,” Beshear said.

Beshear says the decline is due to the tough domestic market for Kentucky coal. But he believes exports could cause a rebound.

He points out that Kentucky interests recently struck a deal to send coal to India.

“And so I think that will be a market that will increase in the future, but it’s tough right down and losing the coal severance money, the way it’s going down, will be difficult,” he says.

But the first coal shipment in that deal has been delayed by months.