Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Major Appalachian coal producer declares bankruptcy

"Revelation Energy LLC, and its affiliate Blackjewel LLC, West Virginia-based companies that employ about 1,100 people in their Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia mines, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of West Virginia, according to court documents," Will Wright and Bill Estep report for the Lexington Herald-Leader. "The companies also employ an additional 600 workers in Wyoming mines, making them one of the nation’s largest coal producers."

Revelation has reportedly shut down some mines in Kentucky since the filing, and workers say the company told them the closure would last at least two weeks. Revelation has had a complicated impact on Kentucky. It's a major employer in the southeastern part of the state, but it has also been the state's top violator of reclamation and environmental rules for the past three years, according to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Wright and Estep report.

Revelation owner Jeff Hoops said in an affidavit that the bankruptcy was due to tough market conditions, citing "declining demand for thermal and metallurgical coal, declining commodity prices, and increasingly strict regulatory oversight, in addition to heightened competition from natural gas and renewable energy." The companies have considerable debt, and "owe millions to state and federal agencies, including $60 million to the U.S. Department of the Interior and $6 million to the Kentucky state treasurer," Wright and Estep report. They also owe around $10 million to private debtors in Kentucky, such as vendors and suppliers.

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