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Dear Gov. Tomblin,

We at the West Virginia Coal Forum are writing to request that you protect West Virginia from a state of economic peril that is virtually guaranteed by the mandates contained in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.”

The West Virginia Coal Forum is an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry.

As you are well aware, EPA's policies and programs have contributed to a near collapse of our coal industry over the last several years, and this deterioration has wreaked havoc on practically every aspect of our state. The Clean Power Plan rules will require West Virginia to sacrifice its economic and energy security even more. 

We are writing to urge your immediate attention to the closing of six in-state coal-fired power generators. As representatives of coal workers and coal employers, we respectfully encourage you to use the executive powers of your office to forestall these closures so we might consider all relevant household, economic and employment factors surrounding these industrial facilities. We ask that the short- and long-term net effect on nearby residents and the delivery of reliable and affordable household electricity also be examined.

We have been told that little can be done at this point or that “this train has left the station.” As such, decisions made unilaterally by parent utilities cannot be reversed; however, the decision forcing these facilities into premature shutdown results from unfavorable public policy driven by political agendas which hopefully will be revisited and reversed in the future.

As the Environmental Protection Agency continues to exert regulatory pressure on West Virginia and other coal-producing states, elected officials here and elsewhere are putting some pressure of their own on the EPA.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, requiring states to cut emissions by 30 percent before 2030, is expected to be finalized later this summer. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey leads a coalition of some 15 states that have pledged to challenge the final rule in court.

And in the meantime, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and others are gearing up to fight the EPA on the legislative front. A U.S. Senate subcommittee chaired by Capito is considering a bill that would block the Clean Power Plan and make it much tougher for the EPA to create similar rules in the future.

Charleston, W.Va. (June 23, 2015) – The West Virginia Coal Forum is applauding the National Black Chamber of Commerce for having the bravery to speak the truth about the economic impact of President Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.”

“Harry C. Alford is to be commended for having the guts to tell the public about the economic hardship Obama’s Clean Power Plan will impose on millions of working West Virginia families,” said Chris Hamilton, co-chairman of the West Virginia Coal Forum, a an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry.

In a June 22 column, Alford sheds light on how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to bring additional regulations to coal-fired electric power generation in the United States will affect the 90,000 blacks and Hispanics living in West Virginia. 

Charleston, WV (June 10, 2015) – The West Virginia Coal Forum, an organization of business and labor interests in the coal industry, applauds U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., for taking a hard stance against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency via his role on the House Appropriations Committee.

An Appropriations subcommittee today passed out the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior package. Jenkins, who represents West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, secured provisions that will slash EPA’s budget and prohibit the agency from making any expenditures to continue its war against the coal industry.

“Reducing EPA’s budget and restricting what they can do to hurt the coal industry has been talked about for years, and today Congressman Jenkins took action that West Virginians have been hoping to see,” said Chris Hamilton, co-chairman of the Coal Forum. “He demonstrated his willingness to fight for coal miners and West Virginia’s coal economy, not just for his district but for the entire state.”

By 
wvpublicbroadcasting.org

Representatives from the coal industry in West Virginia met with local and state lawmakers Tuesday to discuss the future of the coal industry. Their talk focused on combating Federal environmental regulations, including the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a proposed federal rule meant to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants.