Muhlenberg County's Rich History of Coal
Muhlenberg County has been a major coal-producing region for the United States for many years. During most of the 1970s Muhlenberg County annually produced more coal than anywhere else in the world. It led the state of Kentucky in coal production throughout the 70's and into the early 1980s.
Although the use of coal waned in the late 80's & early 1990s, as the 21st Century rolled around, the coal-mining industry in Muhlenberg and surrounding counties began to expand again and has once again provided a significant number of jobs in the region. One reason for this is the willingness of utility operators to install flue gas cleaning systems so that Bituminous Coal can be burned much cleaner than in decades past. Another reason is that coal from western mines tends to burn cooler, causing a utility to have to buy larger quantities of western coal and mix it with other compounds or other types of coal.
Muhlenberg County is the home of Kentucky's first commercial coal mine. That mine, while not what one would think of today, opened in 1820 as the "McLean Drift Bank". It was located along the Green River in the former village of Paradise. The mine and its impact on the community are referenced in the John Prine song Paradise. Other major employers in Muhlenberg County have supplemented the coal industry or expanded in other areas of expertise. Those industry's include:
- Paradise Fossil Plant - sits close to the original site of the village of Paradise, Kentucky. The power plant is the second largest plant in the TVA Fossil Fuels Plant Inventory with a rated output of 2,630 megawatts. It's composed of three units. Units 1&2 are twin 740 MW units while Unit 3 is the largest Cyclonic Boiler Unit in the World rated at 1,150 MW.
- The Tennessee Valley Authority Paradise Fossil Plant in Drakesboro
- The Green River Correctional Complex in Central City
- Dyno Nobel in Graham
- EBA&D in Graham
- Muhlenberg Community Hospital in Greenville
- Muhlenberg County Board of Education in Powderly
- The Department of the Army, Kentucky National Guard Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center & Kentucky UTES
- Armstrong Coal Company in Central City
- Ken-American Resources: Paradise Underground Mine in Central City
- Kentucky Utilities Customer Service Center in Greenville
- Kentucky Utilities Green River Generating Station in Central City
- Wal-Mart in Central City. Wal-Mart operates a 136,000 sq ft (12,600 m2). Supercenter along US 62.
- Uncle Lee's / Wing Supply in Greenville, Kentucky