There's an expression that no one uses anymore: "turn up like a bad penny," which I guess means to keep showing up when you're not wanted, I don't know. But that's coal, anyway: always turning up when it's not wanted. Like in power production, for example. And in extremely high-profile scandals involving CIA directors, their paramours, and tangentially related other women and other generals.
If you haven't been paying attention to l'affaire Petraeus, you have made the right decision. Because every 15 minutes some major new aspect of it is discovered or debunked or reinforced. Trying to keep up with it is futile. If you want to read the latest, I'd recommend the Mother Jones explainer. They might as well just have the page automatically refresh every 15 seconds.
There's one name that it's important you know, for our purposes: Jill Kelley. Jill Kelley -- and I am not making any of this up -- is a married Tampa woman who prompted the entire Petraeus investigation by telling a friend in the FBI that she'd received threatening emails from the woman romantically linked to Petraeus, who Kelley knew thanks to her work as a volunteer at MacDill Air Force base and the various parties and shindigs she and her husband hosted for military personnel at their home. Kelley is also, apparently, an "honorary consul" to South Korea, status which appears to derive from asking South Korea if you can be an honorary consul and which does not allow you "diplomatic protection," should you seek it (as Kelley discovered). (Not related to the issue at hand: Kelley's twin sister, the sketchy cancer charity Kelley and her husband ran, or reports of scads of suggestive emails between Kelley and another general.) Go read that full explainer. It's bananas.
But that brings us to coal. The coal industry is desperate to open new markets in Asia, given plummeting domestic demand. Hustles attract hustlers. And so we meet Adam Victor, millionaire coal-plant builder/advocate and purple-shirt wearer.