Coal also provides a stable source of energy (no Arab oil embargoes, no sudden scarcity like you experience with natural gas) and there is a very plentiful supply both in the U.S. and in other foreign countries.
It is a cheapest source of energy. It is by far cheaper than nuclear, natural gas, oil. Hydro usually will be slightly cheaper. However, problems with hydro include: no new facilities because of public outcry when river valleys are dammed; and, peak demand time problems (rivers running dry in the dead of summer when peak air conditioning is needed and rivers are frozen in the dead of winter when peak heating is needed).
Coal provides many jobs. Unlike other forms of energy (nuclear, natural gas, oil, hydroelectric), coal provides many jobs in removing coal from the earth, transporting it to the utility, burning it, and properly disposing of coal ash.
Coal is nothing more than ancient wood which has been under pressure for millions of years. It is not sinister as you may have been led to believe.
Coal mining reclamation can give the surface landowner many more options for developing his land. In the mountainous terrain, a mining process call mountaintop removal can create very valuable and usable level land for the surface owner.
Coal can be mined and burned with little environmental impact. There has been tremendous strides in environmental responsibility with mining coal and burning coal. However, there still is pressure of global warming.Coal provides 56% of the electricity used in the nation each day.