Oil Check Washington

The day coal died: New York Stock Exchange drops Arch

If you’re looking for the day coal died in America, you couldn’t do much better than Friday May 23rd 2015. Arch Coal, one of the world’s largest coal companies, was officially given notice they’ll be dropped from the New York Stock Exchange. It may get lost to Memorial Day weekend but the news is yet an other nail in coal’s already battered coffin.

The announcement was made because Arch’s stock price averaged under $1 for 30 consecutive days. They have 6 months to come back into compliance but it’s the surest sign yet that coal in America is in a deadly spiral. Arch Coal’s price has been plummeting since their March 2011 high of $36. Since 2011,26 coal companies have gone bankruptand 264 mines have closed. The largest two companies, Arch and Peabody Energy, have lost a combined $1.2 billion.

Besides these two companies combined loses, they are also the two major drivers of coal export in the Northwest. Peabody is backing the Gateway Pacific Terminal on the Northern Washington coast, while Arch owns a 38% stake in Vancouver Washington’s Millennium Bulk Terminal.

While the Northwest’s coal export stock falls, opposition continues to rise. Tribal leaders, lead by the Lummi Nation who’s ancestral waters include those around Gateway Pacific, joined in Seattle to voice their unified opposition to the potential coal terminal. The alliance includes members of the Lower Elwha, Quinault, Tulalip, Spokane, Swinomish, Yakama, Northern Cheyenne and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. They’ve all called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits to the Northern Washington terminal.

With resistance at a fever pitch and their financial prospects in shambles, coal’s future looks like the end of a bad horror movie.

O to be a fly on the wall of Arch’s boardroom meeting next week.

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