The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is clamping down on coal-fired power plants, requiring them to reduce sulfur and ash pollution. That and the abundance of cheap natural gas have led to low domestic demand.
But U.S. coal exports to Europe have been booming in recent years. Europe is attracted to the low cost of coal and favors high-sulfur coal, found in states including Illinois and Indiana.
Europe is also trying to wean itself off its reliance on Russian gas, due to the crisis in Ukraine. The use of high-sulfur coal in Europe has angered environmentalist there who had hoped to wean the E.U. off dirty energy sources.
Energy market analyst Phil Flynn discusses this with Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson.
This segment aired on May 22, 2014.