One of the largest coal suppliers in the US, Alpha Natural Resources, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday just hours before the EPA announced its final version of the Clean Power Plan, which sets strict carbon emission limits for coal-fired power plants.
Alpha Natural Resources says the bankruptcy protection will allow it to “reorganize and emerge as a financially viable business that is better positioned to compete in dynamic energy markets.”
The filing happens as utilities are increasingly switching to natural gas, leading to an oversupply in the coal market and plummeting prices.
Alpha Natural Resources affiliates operate more than 50 underground and surface mines and more than 20 coal preparation facilities in Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
The New York Times reports Alpha Natural Resources has acquired $3 billion in debt and says the company borrowed heavily in 2011 to buy Massey Energy for $7.1 billion in a deal that turned out to be a disaster for Alpha Natural Resources.