Kentucky statistics show that coal production in some of the state's historically big producers dropped in 2012 to the lowest levels seen in 47 years.
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet reported that production in Letcher County fell to 2.97 million tons last year, a 36 percent drop from the year before and a fall of more than 50 percent since 2009. The Mountain Eagle reported that Pike County saw a fall in production of 12.9 million tons in 2012, dropping it from the top spot among coal producing counties in Kentucky.
Union County produced 13.5 million tons -- a 9.3 percent increase over 2011.
The cabinet also reported that on-site employment at coal mines in eastern Kentucky has fallen from 13,000 jobs in 2011 to 9,500 in 2012.