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Major coal company files for bankruptcy - over 1,000 jobs at risk

By Karen Graham     Jul 2, 2019 in Business
A major U.S. coal company filed for bankruptcy Monday, putting more than 1,000 jobs across three states at risk, making this the second coal producer to file for bankruptcy in the past two weeks.
Milton, West Virginia-based Revelation Energy LLC, and its affiliate Blackjewel LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of West Virginia according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The filing affects about 1,100 people in their Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia mines and an additional 600 workers employed in two coal mines in Wyoming. Charles Raleigh, mayor of Cumberland in Harlan County, said he heard from at least two Revelation coal miners that the company shut down its mines near Cumberland.
The workers said Monday they were told to not come to the mines for their evening shifts and that the shutdown could last at least two weeks.
Virginia coal mine ventilation fan - 2011.
Virginia coal mine ventilation fan - 2011.
U.S. EPA
Jeff Hoops, the owner of Revelation Energy and its affiliate Blackjewel, in an affidavit filed in court, attributed the bankruptcy to the state of the coal market nationally. “The entire industry either has gone through or is currently going through, a period of financial distress and reorganization," he wrote, reports The Hill.
He also cited increased competition from natural gas and renewable energy as a reason for filing for bankruptcy. Revelation and its affiliate, Blackjewel, owe millions to state and federal agencies, including $60 million to the U.S. Department of the Interior and $6 million to the Kentucky State Treasurer.
Private debts of the company in Kentucky include $4 million to Aquatic Resources Management in Lexington, $3.7 million to Jones Oil Company, Inc., in Pikeville, and $2.2 million to Republic Superior Products, LLC., in Lackey.
For a company only 10-years-old, Revelation has chalked up an outlandish number of violations of reclamation and environmental rules in Kentucky in the last three years, according to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
Coal cars in Ashtabula  Ohio in 2004.
Coal cars in Ashtabula, Ohio in 2004.
Decumanus at English Wikipedia.
In the 2017-18 period, regulators issued 134 notices of non-compliance of federal rules, citing 259 violations of the standard. The next-closest company, Premier Elkhorn Coal, LLC., was cited for 71 alleged violations, according to the report.
Cambrian Coal files for Chapter 11 protection
Cambrian Coal, LLC., which oversees multiple mining operations in Kentucky and Virginia, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington on June 16, 2019. The company stated it was looking for a buyer and would continue its mining operations throughout the bankruptcy.
Cambrian Holding Company President Mark Campbell, in federal bankruptcy filings, blamed falling coal prices nationwide and the company’s purchase of Teco Energy for its financial trouble. As part of the purchase of Teco, Cambrian agreed to pay workers compensation and black lung liabilities, which were self-insured by Teco, by way of a four-year payment plan of $60 million per year.
More about Bankruptcy, coal company, Cambrian Coal, Revelation Energy LLC, Market conditions
 
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