Coal exports for the first three months of the year were up 58 percent from the same period one year earlier, according to a federal energy report.
Most were out of Atlantic and Gulf coast ports, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The government said exports will slow in coming months. But for the year, they are expected to be up 19 percent from 2016.
Coal use for electric power generation has been curbed by persistently low natural gas prices and a surge in renewable deployments as much of the world pivots to combat climate change.
“With coal exports running well below export capacity, no significant expansions of coal export facilities in the United States are currently under construction, “ the EIA said.
Still the report will be welcomed by the long-suffering coal sector, which President Trump championed in last year’s presidential election.