With the Obama administration and environmentalists pushing for cleaner air and a reduction of dangerous emissions, the number of coal mines and coal-fired plants continues to decrease, with 150 coal mines idle this year, while 8,800 megawatts of coal-fired units were closed in 2012, and another 5,781 megawatts are projected to be closed this year, Mark Jaffe reports for The Denver Post

Central Appalachia has been hit hardest by the closure of coal mines, with six of the 10 larges mines that were idle located in that region, Jaffe writes. “Production data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration shows that mines idled in the first half of 2013 produced a combined 11.4 million tons of coal in 2012.” (Graphic by SNL Energy shows mine closings in three Appalachian basins, Illinois Basin and Gulf Coast basin, with inset for Southwest; click on image for larger version)

Clean Air Act regulations are expected to push 25,000 to 40,000 megawatts of smaller, older coal plants into retirement, in addition to the 5,000 megawatts of retirements that have already been  announced, according to Source Watch. Some analysis says that as many as 60,000 megawatts are at risk of being shut down. (Read more) (Maps by SNL Financial show planned shutdowns by North American Electric Reliability Corp. regions)

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