Coal producers in Kentucky and West Virginia have struck a $7 billion deal to export 9 million tons of coal a year to India for the next 25 years.
The deal announced Wednesday represents about 8 percent of the state’s annual coal production, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal
, and Indian officials said the supplies could help the country avoid power outages like the one two weeks ago that left 600 million people without power.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said FJS Energy LLC of New Jersey, which has operations in both West Virginia and Kentucky, inked the export deal with India’s Abhijeet Group.
“International exports present a promising opportunity for Kentucky coal producers, as is demonstrated by this deal, and consequently for our communities whose economic vitality depends on coal,” the Democratic governor said.
Environmentalists, though, complained the agreement would only worsen global pollution.
Jamie Henn, a spokesperson for 350.org, a group focused on curbing emissions, said the real solution to America’s economic problems and India’s power shortage is investing in clean energy, not fossil fuels.
Most of India’s coal imports now come from Australia, Indonesia, and South Africa. India has never produced enough coal on its own to meet its energy needs.
Kentucky’s government wasn’t involved in brokering the deal, but Beshear, who visited India two years ago and plans to return, said the pact is a sign of the deepening relationship between the country and the state.
The deal with India is expected to provide a huge boost to Kentucky's coal production industry, which is already the third-largest in the nation.
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