"One which is more specific to CNX is the issue of longwalling. I am troubled that at some point in time, the political winds may shift to provide surface owners with absolute protections against planned subsidence from long wall operations. Secondly, the Congress and a different Administration could push through Greenhouse Gas legislation that would cripple the coal industry. I keep telling myself, that any meaningful attempt to curb CO2 emissions would be economic suicide but their are zealots that are in denial on the economic impacts of moving away from carbon based electricity."
Point 1. There is an abundance of laws and court decisions on the side of land lease holders. A whole lot of that would have to be changed, over-ruled, or some how set aside to prevent long wall mining.
Point 2. Is well taken, zealots are hard to deal with, but after a few brown outs or a couple black outs the zealots would either change their minds or saner heads would make changes for them. It's a given that a lot of new energy sources will be from solar, wind, etc., but there won't be enough of that to replace existing coal fired plants.
There is one thing that has always troubled me with longwalling. Yes, the coal and mining rights (including the waiver of surface support) were purchased at fair prices, albiet a long time ago. The arguement that I think has the most viability is the fact that, when the coal rights were severed from the surface, longwall mining had not been developed and subsidence from mining a coal seam 800' below the surface was never contemplated. Surely a court somewhere would consider the arguement that if large scale subsidence were going to occur, the minerals would not have been severed. Just something to think about.