Earlier this year, I became mildly obsessed with (Kentucky's own) Sturgill Simpson. In addition to being an immensely-talented throwback musician, he appears to have predicted what many bankruptcy lawyers would be doing in 2015. The immensity and difficulty of coal cases is also why I haven't done much blogging lately. From 2013, here's Sturgill performing Old King Coal:
Whether Sturgill's song is coincidence or augury, American coal companies have seen a rough year.
So far, the calendar reads:
April 6, 2015: Xinergy, Ltd. files Chapter 11 in Bankr. W.D. Virginia. Claims Agent summary page (American Legal Claims Services) found here.
May 12, 2015: Patriot Coal Corp. files Chapter 11 (again) in Bankr. E.D. Virginia. Claims Agent summary page (Prime Clerk) found here.
June 30, 2015: JW Resources, Inc. files Chapter 11 in Bankr. E.D. Kentucky.
July 15, 2015: Walter Energy files Chapter 11 in Bankr. N.D. Alabama. Claims Agent summary page (Kurtzman Carson) found here.
August 3, 2015: Alpha Natural Resources files Chapter 11 in Bankr. E.D. Virginia. Claims Agent summary page (Kurtzman Carson) found here.
2014 saw its fair share of coal industry distress as well. Then, as now, experts and insiders say a confluence of factors explained the problems facing the industry, mainly the prevalence of cheap natural gas and increased regulatory pressures. That second factor came into high relief last week when the EPA announced its final Clean Power Plan Rule, which may still face additional legal challenges by coal-reliant states. Further, the apparent industry reckoning may not be over. The Street and The Deal are reporting that additional major players in the industry may be next.
Enjoy Sturgill, buy his albums, and stay tuned.