A report released today from the Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee analyzed coal export data and found that mountaintop removal mines are sending an increased percentage of coal produced oversees.

The report used data from the Energy Information Administration, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and data self-reported by the mines. Here's a summary of what they found:

  • The number of mountaintop removal, steep slope and surface mines exporting coal from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia increased from 73 mines in 2008 to 97 in 2011.
  • Coal exports from these mines in these four states have grown by 91 percent since 2009 to 13.2 million tons in 2011.
  • 25 of those mines exported more than half of their production in 2011. One Russian company is exporting nearly 83 percent of the coal from three mines in West Virginia, and five mines are shipping 100 percent of their coal abroad.
  • Overall, these 97 mines exported 27 percent of their production in 2011, more than doubling from 13 percent exported in 2008.

I'll be speaking with several people about the study and its methodology later this afternoon, and will update the story.