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Louisiana Terminals Expand to Move Mississippi River Cargo to Overseas Power Plants

By Alison Sider 

At the southeastern tip of Louisiana, barges piled high with coal reach the end of a long trip down the Mississippi River on its way overseas.

It's a journey that is becoming more common.

The U.S. typically has been one of the top exporters of metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel, most of it mined in Appalachia and shipped from...

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Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Coal Forum and the Morgantown Chamber of Commerce will host a meeting to discuss the significance of the coal industry and coal exports to northcentral West Virginia, our state and the nation from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 5th at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown, WV. 

A variety of regional experts and policy leaders will speak at the event, to include: 

·  Congressman David McKinley, U.S. House of Representatives (Invited)

·  Richard Bajura, Director, National Research Center for Coal and Energy

·  Bill Raney, President, WV Coal Association

·  Jeff Herholdt, Director, WV Division of Energy

·  Chris Hamilton, Vice-President, WV Coal Association & Co-Chair, WV Coal Forum

·  Fred Tucker, UMWA, Co-Chair, WV Coal Forum

According to information released by the West Virginia Division of Commerce in February, West Virginia coal exports grew by 40 percent last year, increasing from $5.3 billion in 2011 to $7.4 billion in 2012.  West Virginia coal accounted for 49 percent of U.S. coal exports in 2012. The Coal Forum program will highlight our state’s leading role as an energy provider to the world, the benefits of the severance tax to northcentral West Virginia, and federal policies impacting the industry.

Seating is limited and reservations are required.  To make a reservation please email Joel Watts atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There is no cost to attend the event. A buffet lunch will be served. 

Stakeholders in West Virginia’s mining economy – business leaders, association representatives, local legislators and policy leaders – are encouraged to attend.

The West Virginia Coal Forum is an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry charged with working towards the betterment of the state’s coal industry.  For additional information, contact the West Virginia Coal Forum at (304) 957-2306, or visit the organization’s website at www.wvcoalforum.org.

The West Virginia Coal Forum, in conjunction with West Liberty University, conducted a meeting on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at West Liberty University’s Highland Energy Center in Tridelphia, West Virginia. 

Robin Capehart, president of West Liberty University kicked off the meeting by welcoming event attendees and recognizing the importance of the coal industry to the northern panhandle and the State.  He stated, “I learned from an early age the importance of the mining industry and all that coal does for our region.  My father worked at an area power plant and I also worked for a business that did work for the industry.  We need to do all we can to assure a bright future for coal and West Liberty stands ready to assist.”

Jeff Kessler, president of the West Virginia Senate and a native of Marshall County, headlined the event.  “There is no doubt that West Virginia will continue to produce coal,” Kessler stated.  “Many may not realize it, but Marshall County is the state’s top coal producing county.  That’s my home and I’m proud of that fact.”

“Concerning the new federal policies confronting the industry, we need stability and predictability.  We need reasonable regulation and a reasonable timeframe within which to adapt and comply.”

Ritchie Parsons, representing Congressman David McKinley, read a letter from the Congressman.  McKinley said, “Coal will continue to be the backbone and cornerstone of West Virginia’s economy and I am doing everything I can in Washington to make sure that is the case.”

Bill Raney and Chris Hamilton with the West Virginia Coal Association, Mike Zervos, CEO of United Coal and Jeff Herholdt, WV Dept. of Energy, discussed the importance of coal exports to the state budget and the factors involved in the global coal export market.

Deigo Gattesco, director, U.S. Export Assistance Center for the region covering West Virginia, affirmed the tremendous increase in coal exports.  He said that exports have risen from several hundred million dollars in 2002 to more than $7 billion in 2012.  “I would encourage the coal industry to utilize the services of the U.S. Commercial Service.  We are here to help and can assist in a myriad of ways.  From identifying prospective customers in other countries to arranging meetings.  “That is our job and we are here to help,” Gattesco said.

A third Coal Forum meeting is being planned for Martinsburg, West Virginia.  A date and time will be announced in the near future.

The West Virginia Coal Forum with co-hosts the Chamber of Commerce of Martinsburg & Berkeley County, Jefferson County Economic Development Authority, Berkeley County Economic Development Authority, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Panhandle Business Association conducted a meeting on Wednesday, September 4th to discuss the significance of the coal industry and coal exports to the Eastern Panhandle, our state and the nation at the Martinsburg Holiday Inn.Coal Forum Co-Chairmen Chris Hamilton, WV Coal Association, and Fred Tucker, UMWA, welcomed the more than 70 event attendees and set the stage for the meeting.

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito headlined the event and expressed her support for the mining industry and the benefits it provides to the state, including the Eastern Panhandle, and the nation. She stated that EPA’s ongoing regulatory actions are clearly a ‘war on coal’ and that she will continue to do all she can to maintain fairness and industry viability.

While Senator Joe Manchin was unable to attend the meeting, he sent a representative to read a statement. In the statement he offered his appreciation for the event and those participating, and expressed the importance of understanding the benefits mining provides the state and country.

Several Eastern Panhandle legislators were in attendance at the event, including Del. Tiffany Lawrence, Del. John Overington, Del. Ron Walters and others. Senator John Unger, Senator Majority Leader, and Delegate Daryl Cowles, House Minority Whip, addressed the group, highlighting the impact mining has on the region and thanking the event organizers for coming to the area to discuss this important topic.

Bill Raney, president of the WV Coal Association, and Mark Muchow, deputy secretary for the WV Division of Tax & Revenue, shared statistics demonstrating the importance of mining to the Eastern Panhandle, as well as the state. They informed the group that the Eastern Panhandle has received nearly $52 million from coal severance funding through the Infrastructure, Jobs & Development Council since 1994. These funds have been used to leverage tens of millions of dollars in other funding to maintain and upgrade water lines, wastewater treatment and to pursue economic development initiatives. Additionally, Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties received over $820,000 in municipal and county severance tax distributions in 2012.

Jerry Mullins, a representative with the National Mining Association, highlighted the huge role West Virginia’s coal industry plays in coal exports – contributing nearly half of all coal exported from the United States. In 2012, the United States exported 126 million short tons of coal -12 percent more than the previous high set in 1981. Each million tons of U.S. coal exported contributes an estimated 1,320 total jobs to the U.S. economy.

Eugene Trisko, an energy industry economist and attorney representing the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCE), educated the group on the imminent threats posed by EPA’s green house gas regulations.

Trisko offered that West Virginia households with gross annual incomes below $50,000 – representing 61% of West Virginia’s population – spend an estimated average of 21% of their after-tax income on energy. Two proposals facing the industry have the ability to further increase those costs.

The first proposal would impose stiffer air quality regulations on currently operating power plants. The second would impose performance standards for new generation facilities. Both rules create a standard that is unattainable by coal-fired power plants under current market conditions and available technologies.

If implemented, Trisko said, literally hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect industry jobs are placed at risk. 

And on a more positive note, Giovanni Girelli and Brad Blasé with Martinsburg-based Essroc Italcementi showcased the role coal plays in the cement industry and their business. Many may not realize that the cement industry is one of the nation’s top users of coal-fired electricity. The company recently invested more than half a billion dollars to upgrade their processing facilities – a huge investment in the region.

Eastern Panhandle media covered the event, to include the Martinsburg Journal, WHAG-TV, WV Public Radio and Reuters. Additionally, Chris Hamilton and Bill Raney conducted live, on-air radio interviews with WEPW and WRNR.

  MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND REGISTER FOR THE WV COAL FORUM MEETING IN MARTINSBURG, SEPTEMBER 4TH

Event is sponsored by the WV Coal Forum and Co-hosted by the following:

Chamber of Commerce of Martinsburg & Berkeley County, Jefferson County Economic Development Authority, Berkeley County Economic Development Authority, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Panhandle Business Association

WHAT:    State, Regional Leaders to Discuss Importance of Coal to the Eastern Panhandle, State & Nation

WHEN:    Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 11:30am-2:00pm

WHERE:    Holiday Inn Martinsburg -    301 Foxcroft Avenue

REGISTER:    Email Joel Watts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with name, organization and number attending.

The West Virginia Coal Forum and the Eastern Panhandle co-hosts listed above will conduct a meeting to discuss the significance of the coal industry and coal exports to the Eastern Panhandle, our state and the nation from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 4th at the Martinsburg Holiday Inn, located off I-81 at 301 Foxcroft Avenue in Martinsburg, WV.

A variety of regional experts and policy leaders will speak at the event, to include:

  • Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Senator John Unger, Majority Leader, WV State Senate
  • Eugene Trisko, Attorney at Law
  • Jerry Mullins, National Mining Association
  • Mark Muchow, Deputy Secretary, WV Dept. of Tax & Revenue
  • Bill Raney, President, WV Coal Association
  • Chris Hamilton, Vice-President, WV Coal Association & Co-Chair, WV Coal Forum
  • Fred Tucker, UMWA, Co-Chair, WV Coal Forum

Seating is limited and reservations are required.  To make a reservation please email Joel Watts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. A buffet lunch will be served. There is no cost to attend the event.

Stakeholders in West Virginia’s economy – business leaders, association representatives, local legislators and policy leaders

Event is sponsored by the WV Coal Forum and Co-hosted by the following:
Chamber of Commerce of Martinsburg & Berkeley County, Jefferson County Economic Development Authority, Berkeley County Economic Development Authority, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Panhandle Business Association.


WHAT:          State, Regional Leaders to Discuss Importance of Coal to the Eastern Panhandle, State & Nation

WHEN:         Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 11:30am-2:00pm

WHERE:        Holiday Inn Martinsburg - 301 Foxcroft Avenue

REGISTER:     Email Joel Watts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with name, organization and number attending

According to information released by the West Virginia Division of Commerce in February, West Virginia coal exports grew by 40 percent last year, increasing from $5.3 billion in 2011 to $7.4 billion in 2012.  West Virginia coal accounted for 49 percent of U.S. coal exports in 2012. 

The West Virginia Coal Forum and the Eastern Panhandle co-hosts listed above will conduct a meeting to discuss the significance of the coal industry and coal exports to the Eastern Panhandle, our state and the nation from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 4th at the Martinsburg Holiday Inn, located off I-81 at 301 Foxcroft Avenue in Martinsburg, WV. 

A variety of state and regional experts and policy leaders will speak at the event.  An agenda, to include speakers, will be released in the near future.  A buffet lunch will be served. There is no cost to attend the event.

Seating is limited and reservations are required.  To make a reservation please email Joel Watts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stakeholders in West Virginia’s economy – business leaders, association representatives, local legislators and policy leaders – are encouraged to attend. 

The West Virginia Coal Forum is an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry.  For additional information, contact the West Virginia Coal Forum at (304) 957-2306, or visit the organization’s website at www.wvcoalforum.org.