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James River Coal files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection, citing ongoing woes of coal industry

RICHMOND, Va. - James River Coal Co. says it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its efforts to turn around its business. The Richmond, Va.-based company says it faces challenges from the weak economy, environmental regulations and competition from natural gas. Utilities are increasingly switching to gas from coal. James River said Monday that the bankruptcy process will help it shore up its balance sheet. It has secured $110 million in financing to keep its operations rolling, pending court approval, during the restructuring process.

Coal miner SouthGobi warns of debt default; shares tank

(Reuters) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd <SGQ.TO> <1878.HK>, a Canadian coal miner with operations in Mongolia, said it could default on a debt repayment and was looking to raise money, sending its shares down as much as 29 percent in afternoon trading. The company, controlled by Rio Tinto Plc <RIO.L> <RIO.AX> through its unit Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd <TRQ.TO>, also reported a bigger quarterly loss, mainly due to impairment charges.

SouthGobi says it will be tough to pay debt due to uncertain Chinese coal prices

TORONTO - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ) says it's unlikely to meet its debt obligations this year with coal prices expected to remain under pressure in China. SouthGobi said it's looking for additional financing, but a delay could result in the default of its $250 million convertible debenture. The coal producer said it assumes it will continue operating until at least Dec. 31. Shares of the company fell to 55 cents, a decline of 18 cents or 25 per cent, on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday near midday.

NC scuttles deal for giant Duke Energy to settle coal ash violations with $99,000 fine

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina regulators said Friday they have asked a judge to withdraw a proposed settlement that would have allowed Duke Energy to resolve environmental violations by paying a $99,000 fine with no requirement that the $50 billion company clean up its pollution. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a statement that it would scuttle the proposed consent order to settle violations for groundwater contamination leeching from coal ash dumps near Charlotte and Asheville.

Federal grand jury meets in criminal investigation of massive Duke Energy coal ash spill

RALEIGH, N.C. - A federal grand jury was set to convene Tuesday as part of a widening criminal investigation triggered by the massive Duke Energy coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge. The session at the federal courthouse in Raleigh comes as environmental groups amp up pressure on regulators and lawmakers to force Duke to clean up the leaky, unlined ash pits polluting North Carolina's waterways. Prosecutors have issued at least 23 grand jury subpoenas to Duke executives and state officials.

Your money or your life: coal miner's dilemma mirrors China's

Forty years of digging for coal have left the miner with tuberculosis and drained his village water supply. But he, like China, clings to the resource as his economic mother lode. "If I did farming, it would take me a year to get what I make in a month," said the 55-year-old, surnamed Di and sporting the blackened fingernails of someone who has spent most of his days beneath the hills of China's poverty-stricken Guizhou province. His lungs "don't hurt much", he said, although in any case he cannot afford treatment.

NC regulators weighing whether to force Duke Energy to move coal ash dump away from Dan River

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina regulators say they may force Duke Energy to move a pair of leaky coal ash dumps, more than three weeks after a massive spill coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic grey sludge. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Tuesday it plans to reopen Duke's wastewater discharge permit and consider changes that would require the company to remove its remaining coal ash from the site at Eden near the Virginia line to a lined landfill away from the river.

NC official says he briefed Gov. McCrory about lawsuit against Duke Energy over coal ash dumps

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina's top environmental official said Monday that he briefed Gov. Pat McCrory before intervening in lawsuits against Duke Energy, resulting in a negotiated settlement that fined the $50 billion corporation $99,111 to resolve violations over groundwater contamination leaching from two huge coal ash dumps. Environmentalists criticized the modest fines as a sweetheart deal that included no requirement to force the nation's largest electricity provider to actually clean up its pollution.

NC Gov. McCrory denies any contact with Duke Energy prior to proposed deal on coal ash dumps

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory denies he had any talks with Duke Energy executives or lobbyists about his administration's proposed deal to settle environmental violations at two of the $50 billion company's coal ash dumps for $99,000. McCrory was asked about the agreement at a public event on Friday after his office had not responded to questions from The Associated Press.

U.S. prosecutors open criminal probe of Duke Energy coal ash spill

By Colleen Jenkins WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors are investigating whether a crime was committed when thousands of tons of coal ash sludge spilled from a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina in early February into a river that supplies drinking water for nearby towns.
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