The coal industry not only gets attacked by the media for being a "dirty" fossil fuel, it rarely gets positive coverage because the networks focus on disasters. Since January 1, 2010, nearly 80 percent of the broadcast network stories about coal were related to tragic mining accidents. Only 14 percent of stories mentioned coal in any context other than a mine disaster or natural disaster that affected mining.
On January 13, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency took the unprecedented step of revoking a water permit from Arch Coal's Spruce Mine No. 1. That was in line with President Obama's threats to "bankrupt" the coal industry and a "virtual moratorium" on coal permitting, yet the networks didn't mention it in a single story.
With the recent unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Mideast, there is reason to be concerned about energy security and rising prices right now. If turmoil were to spread in the oil-rich region, energy prices could spike further.
During the first week of February, oil prices rose to the highest level since October 2008 because of Egypt concerns, according to Platts.com. In the U.S., the national average for unleaded gasoline has been above $3-a-gallon since late December (Dec. 23). Egypt produces 660,000 barrels of oil per day according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), and 4.5 percent of the world's oil travels through its Suez Canal.