Illinois coal production surged in 2012, outpacing production efforts nationwide. Illinois coal had its best year in nearly two decades in 2012. Preliminary figures from the US Energy Information Administration showing Illinois mines produced 47 million tons of coal in 2012, the most since 1995. Illinois Coal Association officials say the state's coal production is probably closer to 43 million tons, but insist that Illinois is bucking a national trend. More preliminary estimates from the energy administration show a 7 percent decline in coal production nationwide for 2012 and another 3.6 percent decline this year, primarily as the result of a decline in power-plant demand. Officials say new mines in southern Illinois have also contributed to Illinois' strong year.
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