Coal mining is tanking because natural gas is now much cheaper and now available in such huge amounts that many gas wells have been capped because there was no need for their supply. Simple economics, not politics. Sorry, H2, no cigar on this one either.
You are wrong. Prior to the shale gas boom, the cheapest source of electrical power was hydroelectric, followed by nuclear and then coal and finally natural gas. Hydroelectric is very efficient, but a relatively minor source of power in therms of its total contribution. As a result utility operators ran their nuclear plants 24/7 at full capacity, and used their gas turbine plants to cover peak loads, shutting them down during periods of low demand. Coal plants were in between, being slightly more expensive to operate than nuclear. Recently low gas prices have reversed the positions of gas and coal plants, making it more advantageous to shut down (or reduce the output of) coal plants during low demand periods.
However, Obama Administration EPA regulations, resulting from their outrageous claim that CO2 is a hazard to human health (something never forseen in the law) , impose a much greater effect on the future of coal as a source of power here, and even on their current operations. The reason is that any new coal plant and ANY modification or upgrade of existing plants now requires that the whole plant be brought up to newly established CO2 emission standards. The result is that utilities are now stuck with huge capital investments that under the arbitrary new EPA regulations, have no future. This, far more than the transient drop in the price of natural gas, is what is destroying this industry.
The fact is that Obama even during the 2008 campaign was fairly clear about his intent to make the use of coal uneconomic thru regulations. He has done so.