Here’s a story you don’t hear about much:

With nearly a quarter of the world’s coal supply — enough to last centuries — the United States has been dubbed the "Saudi Arabia of Coal" by US officials and energy experts.

But thanks to growing global coal markets and clean air regulations, the US is witnessing a latter-day equivalent of "carrying coals to Newcastle" — a 230 percent leap in coal imports to the US since 1999.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

If present trends continue, the US will be a net importer of coal by 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration of the US Department of Energy.

The more you hear about coal, the better it gets!