Major US coal company files for bankruptcy, putting over 1,000 jobs at risk

A major U.S. coal company filed for bankruptcy Monday, putting more than 1,000 jobs across three states at risk.

West Virginia-based Revelation Energy LLC and its affiliate Blackjewel LLC filed for bankruptcy, making it the second major coal company to declare bankruptcy in as many weeks, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

The bankruptcy impacts the employees who are working at coal mines located in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Hundreds of workers at two coal mines in Wyoming were also reportedly impacted by the bankruptcy.

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The bankruptcy and risk of ensuing job losses underscore the dwindling number of jobs in the industry since 2012 as a result of a sharp decline in coal production.

Workers at mines near Cumberland, Ky., were reportedly told Monday not to come to the mines for their evening shifts and that the shutdown could last at least two weeks.

“It’s devastating for the community,” Charles Raleigh, mayor of Cumberland, told the Herald Leader. “It’s a sad situation. I hate it for the miners.”

Jeff Hoops, owner of Revelation Energy and its affiliate Blackjewel, in an affidavit filed in court, attributed the bankruptcy to the state of the coal market nationally.

“The entire industry either has gone through, or is currently going through, a period of financial distress and reorganization,” he wrote, according to the Herald Leader.

He also cited increased competition from natural gas and renewable energy. 

Blackjewel and Revelation reportedly owe tens of millions in state and federal taxes, forcing the company to file for bankruptcy.

In 2017, Revelation Energy accounted for nearly 6 percent of the United States's coal production, making it the sixth largest company in terms of total production.