High priced coal from Appalachia is used for making activated charcoal, high quality steel, and so on. Because the whole world is running short of the 'good stuff', the spot price for that high energy coal is running up, and mining companies can export it at a premium.
If the 3X price differential with Powder River basin coal was driven mainly by cross-country rail hauling costs, they would be disassembling old steel plants in West Virginia and reassembling them in Montana. But it's more complex than that.
Think ahead to what would happen if Europe enacts and enforces a carbon cap and trade or tax system that impacts coal burning industries. And the USA does not. Would that not cause a restart of mothballed steel making capacity in the USA?
In any future case, without the USA buying into a global carbon control scheme, they won't stop until they have blown the top off of bloody Blair Mountain.
For more good fun with Coal Graphics, check out these posts from the past.
The Uranium Paradox: Reason To Favor Coal-Fired Electricity? Or ...
Peak Coal Comes To Appalachia
Graphic Of The Day: Worldwide Unconventional Liquid Fuel ...
All Aboard: Romance and Profit On The Coal Train