Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Is Coal Mining Making a Comeback In Eastern Oklahoma?

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A pile of coal sits along the railroad tracks just east of Red Oak, Okla.

Coal mining plays a key role in the history of eastern Oklahoma. Without immigrant miners flooding into the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some towns might not even exist.

When Oklahoma coal mining began to die off, so did many of the towns founded around it.

Oklahoma’s coal is too high in sulfur to be of much use in the United States, and burning it in large quantities is against federal clean air regulations.

Not all countries have those kinds of restrictions, however, and growing economies in Asia could drive the renewal of Oklahoma’s coal mining industry.

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