Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dingdang it, as a Baptist preacher of my acquaintance would say

I took down a recent entry on cargo movements on the Ohio in 2016. Someone pointed out an error. I went back to my spreadsheets and found a formula had replaced a number somehow, throwing a bunch of numbers off. So now I need to go through them all again. I'll post a corrected version when it's available.

I hate making errors, but I also appreciate people pointing them out so I can correct them. As long as they're polite, of course. If I want nastiness and snark, I'll go to Twitter or Facebook.

More on coal

Here are a couple of articles I did for The State Journal, a weekly business newspaper based in Charleston, W.Va., on coal trends in 2016.

First is one about coal shipments through the locks and dams on the West Virginia border, with a mention of what happened on the Kanawha River, too. While working on this article, I decided to learn if West Virginia shipped more coal to power plants by barge or by rail in 2016. The answer: by barge.

And there's this one about how a couple of power plants above Maysville, Ky., have switched their coal sourcing from Appalachia to Illinios in the past eight years.

In case anyone wonders why I chose 2008 as a base year for comparison, I had been asked to do a piece about President Obama, President Trump, the War on Coal and the outlook for the future.

I learned long ago to stay out of the prediction business, as I'm not very good at it. When someone asked me to say what West Virginia would be like thirty years from now, my first thought was to go back to 30 years ago and ask if I could have predicted fracking, the extent of the decline in the coal industry and other economic trends. That answer was along the lines of, "Are you kidding? Who did?"

P.S. In case anyone is interested, CSX says it sees an increase in export sales helping to stabilize coal markets this year.