CHARLESTON, W.Va. —
U.S. Department of Commerce data shows West Virginia exported 40 percent more coal in 2012 than it did in 2011.
Much of the rise is attributable to increased demand from Asia. West Virginia coal exports to China increased more than 500 percent from 2011 to 2012. Coal exports to Japan increased an even more shocking 1,262 percent, from $29 million to $395 million.
Overall coal exports grew 40 percent, from $5.3 billion to 7.4 billion
The large increases in coal exports come despite the fact that overall coal production in the state was down 8 percent in 2012. The West Virginia Department of Revenue also reports that from 2011 to 2012 the state lost over 5,000 energy sector jobs, the vast majority of which are mining jobs.