Louisa, Kentucky relied on coal to power not just its homes, but also to sustain its residents' livelihoods. Today, though, Eric Lipton of the New York Times reports that many coal towns like Louisa may abandon coal in favor of natural gas. The black, sooty rock has been the subject of costly new pollution laws and environmentalists' scorn, not to mention the surge in natural gas production (spurred on by fracking, a new and effective extraction method) that has drastically depressed gas prices. Michael G. Morris, the Chairman of American Electric Power, is looking to switch production from coal to natural gas, and his decision does not appear to be isolated. In 2008, coal consumption stood at well over 1,000 million short tons, but by 2013, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects just 800 million short tons in consumption per year. Additionally, while coal consisted of 53% of electricity generation by fuel in 1990, the projections for 2013 put that share at just 39%.