You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

A huge coal company filed for bankruptcy today, and another shovel of dirt covered the industry’s casket.

Luke Sharrett/ Getty Images

The United States’s second largest producer of coal, Arch Coal, announced in a press release that it has reached an agreement with lenders to eliminate $4.5 billion of the company’s debt. Despite its financial straits, Arch says it expects to continue its mining and other operations as usual.

As ThinkProgress noted, Arch joins several other coal companies in bankruptcy, and the move is indicative of the larger decline of the industry, with coal production down 10 percent from 2014. Earlier this year, states were infuriated enough to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which represented a hit to power plants. Meanwhile, mines continue to close around the country. 

For some reason, Arch’s chairman and CEO seems optimistic about the company’s future. “Today’s announcement represents another significant step in our ongoing efforts to position the company for long-term success,” he wrote in the release. But it’s unclear what will define success in the failing industry, one that even Arch admits has “particular uncertainties.”