CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia lost more than 1,200 coal mining jobs in the last quarter of 2012, nearly two-thirds of them in strip mining.
Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration data show the number of jobs dropped to 21,400. The Charleston Gazette says that figure is based on disclosures that operators file with MSHA.
Production from strip mining was down to 8.1 million tons, half of what it was at the end of 2008.
Analysts say the trend will likely continue because of competition from natural gas and surface mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
The industry often complains about anti-coal environmental regulations.
But the data show employment levels remain as high as they were when the Obama administration began a series of regulatory actions to minimize the environmental harm that coal causes.