Coal is on its way out, as noted by journalists on the ground covering the coal industry. A recent story from the Associated Press details how the coal industry has essentially stripped the Appalachia region bare, leaving only the coal that cannot be reached without expensive mining practices that could violate environmental law.
A Rolling Stone article reflects on the significance of this news:
The end of coal in Appalachia doesn't mean that America is running out of coal (there’s plenty left in Wyoming). But it should end the fantasy that coal can be an engine of job creation – the big open pit mines in Wyoming employ a tiny fraction of the number of people in an underground mine in Appalachia. And for a variety of reasons – railroad congestion among them – Wyoming coal is never going to ramp up production enough to have a meaningful impact on job creation. For better or worse, the bulk of coal industry jobs are in Appalachia – and when that coal is gone, so are the jobs.