June 7, 2018 - About 50 officials and business leaders in Madisonville, Kentucky took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning at the Island Park Drive spec building purchased by Alliance Coal earlier this year.
They are using the 65,000 square-foot building mostly to store mine equipment and some of the space for a repair shop.
“It helped them get out of the old GoodYear building that was torn down, where Clark-Webstaurant is expanding,” Economic Development Corp. President Ray Hagerman said.
From an economic development standpoint, Hagerman said they were able to move some chess pieces around the table by providing Alliance Coal with some space and enable Clark to build their new facility.
Officials believe coal is not dead in western Kentucky, but also speculate that it will never be the way it was 25 years ago.
“I think coal is always going to have some utility as a fuel,” Hagerman said. “It may be not in the same quantity, but will always be around. It will be mined and it’s going to require someone in the mining business like Alliance."
It’s going to require them to put equipment to work and hire ppl from time to time, Hagerman noted.
“We have to make sure we're diversifying into other industries, and it was encouraging to see Webstaurant do a large expansion,” he said.
Alliance spoke about leaving some of their space available in the spec building to add more equipment. The company hopes to keep a lot of their equipment in the mines and put it back to work.
Alliance also is still leasing space in the old York building to store equipment, and will likely expand at its new location off Island Ford Road.
The EDC is currently looking into building another spec building with plans to lure additional industry.
Established in 1971, Alliance Resource Partners LP markets coal mostly to U.S. utility and industrial facilities, and is the second-largest coal producer in the eastern U.S., operating mines in Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
President Donald Trump signed legislation last year to end the previous administration’s Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule and the Obama-era environmental regulation on coal.
According to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, coal production fell from 1 billion tons in 2014 to 739 million tons in 2016, and had made only a slight comeback.
Coal production is expected to decline 3 percent to 751 million short tons this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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