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Charleston, WV (Aug. 15, 2013) –  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 – an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry – and co-host West Liberty University will conduct a meeting to discuss the significance of coal exports to our state and national economies from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 15 at West Liberty University’s Highland Energy Center, located in Triadelphia, West Virginia (near the Cabela’s retail store).
A variety of state experts and policy leaders will speak at the event, to include:
Seating is limited and reservations are required.  To make a reservation please email Joel L. Watts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Senator Jeff Kessler, President of the WV Senate
  • Robin Capehart, President, West Liberty University
  • Jeff Herholdt, Director, WV Division of Energy
  • Michael Zervos, CEO, United Coal
  • 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

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

For additional information, contact the West Virginia Coal Forum at (304) 957-2306.
Presentations can be downloaded here .

July 4th, a time to celebrate our nation’s freedom, is upon us. This freedom has always been protected the hardworking sons and daughters of West Virginia, but who will protect West Virginia’s sons and daughters? Join us in Charleston on 11 July at 10am to discuss the future of West Virginia’s valuable export, coal. We have a growing list of speakers addressing how the rise of coal exports protect and shape our state economy. What will the future of West Virginia’s economy look like? Come and join us.

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 – an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry – will host a meeting to discuss the significance of coal exports to our state and national economies at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 11 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Charleston.  

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

  • Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (Invited)
  • Ernie Thrasher, CEO of Xcoal Energy & Resources
  • Jeff Herholdt, Director of the WV Division of Energy
  • Michael Zervos, CEO, United Coal
  • Bill Raney, President of the WV Coal Association
  • Chris Hamilton, Vice-President of the WV Coal Association
  • Fred Tucker, UMWA (retired), Co-Chair WV Coal Forum

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

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

For additional information, contact the West Virginia Coal Forum at (304) 957-2306.

CHARLESTON -- The following statement is being issued by the WV Coal Forum in response to Senator Jay Rockefeller's vote on Wednesday to help defeat (46-53) a resolution (S.J. Res 37) that would have blocked implementation of EPA’s Utility MACT rule:

"West Virginia's coal mining community is extremely disappointed in Senator Rockefeller’s vote yesterday in the U.S. Senate against a resolution(SJR 37) that would have disapproved the EPA’s Utility MACT rule, the most expensive rule ever proposed by this agency.  It was a bad day for the industry, our people and consumers throughout West Virginia.

Despite a broad-based bipartisan coalition of industry, labor and elected officials, both local and statewide including our Governor, urging his support of the resolution, Senator Rockefeller decided to continue to follow the Obama Administration’s agenda to senselessly eliminate coal as a viable source for electric generation. Our people know what is at stake, and believe we have much more to lose with the Utility MACT rule than gain. We have stood with thousands of coal miners and their families over the past three years, at meeting after meeting, at rallies and at hearings. We counted on Senator Rockefeller to stand with us and listen to the voices of the thousands of West Virginians who have pleaded simply for a chance to work, to earn a living and take care of their families.

This strong support of individuals and groups from across West Virginia was no scare tactic, but rather a deep, sincere concern for the future of our State, our families and our professional workforce.  The Obama Administration’s assault on the West Virginia and Appalachian coal industry is real, as demonstrated by myriad of new coal regulations and policies from several agencies with unrealistic requirements and timetables, the intervention in the permitting process in six Appalachian states, as well as the agency’s revocation of the Spruce permit in Logan County. 

The Utility MACT rule as drafted will essentially prevent the construction of new coal fired generation into the future.  West Virginian’s embrace a clean coal future and have anew coal-fired power plant that is one of the cleanest in the nation, and emits a tiny fraction of the emissions of the previous generation of power plants.  The current generation of new coal fired power plants will meet the Utility MACT rule, however, the bar was set so high for plants into the future that the technology doesn’t exist to meet those standards.  Senator Rockefeller knows this yet he has decided to ignore this fact.

Our nation is best served through the pursuit of policies that are focused on balance, practicality and energy security.  The foundation of such policies require wise utilization of all our domestic energy sources. We as a nation cannot continue to effectively abandon our most abundant and reliable American energy resource and expect to achieve energy independence.”

Chris Hamilton, Co-Chair
Fred Tucker, Co-Chair
West Virginia Coal Forum
Over the years the electric utility industry here in West Virginia has repeatedly asked the coal industry to weigh in and join them in matters of economics, environmental policy and encroachment by other base fuels into the electric generation process.
 
Ranging from funding for the federal clean coal technology programs, sitting and permitting issues, water usage and routine “rate increase” hearings before the Public Service Commission or even pathways for new power lines, the power industry has not hesitated to summon the assistance of coal to intervene on its behalf.  And, over the years the coal industry has been quick to respond.
 
After all, the coal industry and electric utility industry are intrinsically linked and up until now interdependent on one another -- partners of sorts and rightfully so -- they are jointly responsible for building the infrastructure and power system that has delivered America’s household and industrial power in a reliable and secure fashion over the years. Because of this coal-fired power system we have emerged as a world leader, transforming our culture into a modern, electrified Mecca and establishing an extraordinary quality of life for our citizenry.
 
Here in West Virginia, we have jointly accounted for upwards of 60 percent of all business taxes paid to the state and the benefits of coal severance monies returned to counties across our state has been discussed ad nauseum.
 
Now the rub... increased political and government pressures for low cost fuel and for transitioning towards other energy forms coupled with the perception of abundant natural gas has led to strong speculation that the power industry is beginning to break its long standing partnership with coal and those dependent on the current coal economy. Electric utility officials have said as much recently.
 
The decision not to refit the Big Sandy plant in nearby Kentucky at this time plays into that position.
 
We would urge AEP and other in-state utilities, to strengthen their resolve and “dance with the one who brought you.”
 
Just as there’s been no hesitation to call upon coal to assist in the utility industry’s political, operational and technical agendas, coal is relying on assistance from its utility partners to combat the anti-coal forces at work everyday to weaken this time-tested power system that has been responsible for so much within our world. After all, we are “partners of sorts” and the general coal economy is now asking for greater staying power from its energy partner.
 
Coal’s economy not only includes the 63,000 West Virginians who show up at a mine everyday but also includes railroad workers who are responsible for getting our product to end users and our ports for export market, and all the indirect jobs reliant on coal as well as the millions of dollars that go into state health care, retirees’ medical benefits and abandoned mine land programs.  The infusion of millions of coal severance dollars into local economies and for state funded educational programs and programs for the less fortunate and seniors, is also unmatched.
 
The promise of abundant natural gas aside -- which may or may not pass the test of time as an energy partner, -- we call upon the utility industry to step up to the plate, and recognize the historic significance of coal-fired electric generation its continued benefits and to simply “dance with the one who brought you.”
 
Appearing to be political correct or succumbing to increased political pressures may be convenient, but ultimately is short-sided and potentially places our current power supply that we’re accustomed in jeopardy. Such a move would also all but obviate a long term cost benefit model when factoring the true cost of transition away from coal.
 
We believe the time is now for taking our partnership to new heights and call upon our utility friends to join coal in developing workable energy and cost savings strategies going forward.

A Senate Resolution introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) would nullify the EPA's Utility MACT rule, finalized this past December. Under Congressional rules, if the resolution gains 30 pledges of support from the Senate, it must be placed on the Senate Calendar for vote. With a simple majority vote by the full Senate, the resolution would overturn the MACT rule.

We urge West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller to support the Inhofe Resolution. The EPA's Utility MACT rule is the agency's most expensive regulation ever for power plants. It imposes steep costs to the economy and endangers hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide, with many of them right here in West Virginia.

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