Press Archive


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Coal Forum is applauding the new attitude towards the coal industry coming from Washington.

President Donald J. Trump signed a congressional resolution of disapproval on Feb. 16, overturning the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation’s Stream Protection Rule (SPR). This rule, which was released just before the new year, would have made as much as 70 percent of Americas coal reserves impossible to mine. The rule was touted as one to protect streams, but the true impact on waterways would have been negligible while the rule curtailed underground coal mining was curtailed to a great degree.

It is our time to lead the way and to partner with our president and federal government to take the reins of our domestic energy assets and the policies that govern them.

As coal markets begin to blossom, we must be prepared to move quickly and offer the finest quality coal, produced by the best miners in the world, at the lowest price possible. A more competitive tax structure and a continued modernization of mining rules are just two macro-level policies we should pursue.

As a state, we must aggressively pursue homegrown coal consumption. We only consume roughly 30 percent of all the coal we mine in West Virginia. By increasing this total, we will provide security for our in-state coal operations, their output and a greater chance of reaping the benefits here at home.

The Legislature acted during the 2016 session to secure the percentage of West Virginia coal that is consumed within our borders by providing an incentive for utilities to upgrade in-state coal plants to continue consuming “local” coal in an environmentally clean fashion.

As the 83rd Legislature convened this week, we recommend that lawmakers and the executive branch take a serious look at how to grow the percentage of coal consumed within our state’s borders.

It’s also time that we reconsider initiatives that have been considered in the past.

It’s been 30 years since former Gov. Arch Moore called for the construction of state-owned, mine-mouth power facilities to burn more coal in West Virginia and export the power to areas of demand. Thirty-five years have passed since then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller created the Coal Development Authority to assist coal producers with marketing opportunities.

In early 2000, the Clean Coal Technology Council was signed into law by Gov. Bob Wise but never convened. Former Gov. Joe Manchin proposed coal-to-liquid plants be constructed to provide fuel for state vehicles.

And, as many realize, multiple coal-to-liquid plants have been proposed but never developed.

The time is right to revisit some of those initiatives to determine their feasibility.

Many also may recall the FutureGen project. This $2 billion dollar, state-of-the-art, zero-emission coal-fired power plant was held up as the coal plant of the future and incorporated coal sequestration technologies. While the project was approved to be built in the Midwest, it was scrapped by President Barack Obama before the first shovel of dirt was turned.

FutureGen could be the coal industry’s alternative to the shale gas cracker, as it relates to the investment, technology and jobs it would provide. Why not build it in West Virginia?

Certainly, there would be plenty of space along with the necessary infrastructure for this project on the Hobet site proposed by former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin or possibly on one of the former power plant sites that were forced to close due to EPA regulations.

Given the new administration and its support for coal and energy development, programs like FutureGen, mine-mouth power plants and coal-to-liquids plants all should be seriously considered and reviewed for feasibility.

A coalition of experts on the technology, investment and policy sides of the equation should be formed, to include the coal industry, university researchers, our legislative and congressional representatives and others to develop the blueprint and path forward.

With the incoming political leadership in Washington and at the state level, coupled with a legislature that has demonstrated its interest in seeing coal remain a centerpiece of our state’s economy, we believe an all-out attempt to should be initiated to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform West Virginia into the nation’s capital for coal and energy.

Chris Hamilton is senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Coal Forum is urging Congress to make the REINS Act one of the first bill to land on the next President’s desk for approval.

The REINS Act, or Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, would prevent major new rules – those with an economic impact of $100 million or more -- from taking effect until they are approved by Congress.

“We at the Coal Forum have seen how dramatically agency rules can affect a state like West Virginia when those rules are crafted without serious attention paid to their economic impact,” said Coal Forum Co-Chairman Chris Hamilton. “The REINS Act will give Congress the opportunity to review major agency rules before they go into effect.”

The West Virginia Coal Forum is encouraged by news that a major power company will be upgrading its facilities to preserve coal-fired electric power generation.

First Energy announced Wednesday that the company will be able to make necessary improvements to its facilities to comply with federal standards and continue to use coal, thanks to action taken by the West Virginia Legislature during the 2016 session.

“We at the Coal Forum extend a huge thank you to the Legislature for passing the Modernization and Improvement Plan act,” said Chris Hamilton, co-chairman of the Coal Forum, which is an organization representing business and labor in the coal industry. “Passage of this legislation is a testament to the legislative leadership’s commitment to doing whatever is necessary to preserve coal-fired electricity in West Virginia. First Energy’s announcement is proof that good legislation can make a big impact in just a short amount of time.”


West Virginia Coal Association VP on Why the Organization is Backing Trump
During an interview with FOX Business Network’s Charles Payne, West Virginia Coal Association Vice President Chris Hamilton discussed why he is endorsing presidential candidate Donald Trump and why he stands against both Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

Trump Digs Coal' at Charleston Rally
WV Public Broadcasting
Apparent Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump drew a crowd of more than 10,000 to the Charleston Civic Center Thursday for a campaign rally largely focused on revitalizing the coal industry.

Trump brings campaign to West Virginia and vows to put miners back to work
Fox11 News
Coming to the stage with West Virginia's signature theme song "Country Roads" blaring in the background, Donald Trump took the stage before a sign waving, cheering crowd and vowed to jump-start the state's coal industry.

WATCH: Trump dons coal miner's hard hat, pretends to shovel coal
Washington Examiner
At Donald Trump's rally in West Virginia, the presumptive Republican nominee received a gift from a coal mining association that endorsed him.

Trump gets behind coal at nearly sold out Charleston rally
Before a crowd of about 12,000 supporters at the Charleston Civic Center Donald Trump vowed to have the coal industry’s back, with many miners at his back.

The Economics of Coal by Chris Hamilton
WVCoal Association
Coal is currently mined in 30 counties in West Virginia. According to data from the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, coal mining in West Virginia has provided an average of 23,000 direct mining jobs plus another 60,000 support jobs ...

“Fool us once shame on you.  Fool us two times, three times, four; shame on us!

After eight long years of havoc and devastation on the state coal industry and the hundreds of thousands of workers and families across this country whose jobs and paychecks have dwindled away, we say enough is enough.

Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Al Gore and now Hillary Clinton.  All are committed to a national energy plan which does not offer a role for coal, let alone any appreciation for its use as a clean base fuel for generating household and industrial electricity around the world. 

Running on the national ticket, Hillary Clinton, and other Democratic Party hopefuls, are simply left with no choice in the matter.  The major party funders – Hollywood, Sierra Club, Bloomberg and others – demand an anti-fossil fuel position from its candidates.

Unfortunately, a percentage of state residents fail to look at these core party platform issues and desire to be loyal to the Democratic party of their parents and grandparents. That party, once promoting hope and promise, is no more.

This year, after nearly two decades of anti-coal and anti-fossil fuel positions, it is time to join the sentiment of independent voters who look beyond a person's voter registration to vote for the individual most protective of West Virginia's energy industries and economic health.

Hillary Clinton may have earned her stripes within the national Democrat Party for her loyalty as a major player within President Obama’s administration during the years West Virginia's economy was decimated.  However, she is undeserving of your support as it is guaranteed to be more of the same!

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

On April 25 at 10am at the Charleston Civic Center, the West Virginia Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety, along with various industry and safety groups, will host an industry-wide briefing on the interference issue related to proximity detection systems and respirable dust sample devices when both devices are in simultaneous operation.

More details to follow.

For more information, please email Joel L. Watts, Health and Safety Administrator for the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The West Virginia Coal Forum is calling on all presidential candidates to respect and protect the coal industry and the miners who have built this nation.

The Coal Forum is an organization representing business and labor in West Virginia’s coal industry.

As the public now should be abundantly aware, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made it clear this week that she will continue the Obama Administration’s war on coal.

“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Clinton said Sunday night while boasting about her clean energy program — and with a big smile on her face, according to media coverage of the event. The remarks were made during at a CNN town-hall event.

The West Virginia Coal Forum extends its gratitude and praise to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for helping to halt the federal government’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.”

The Coal Forum is an organization representing business and labor in West Virginia’s coal industry.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision halts the clean power plan in its tracks, giving our coal industry some much-needed breathing room,” said Coal Forum Co-chairman Chris Hamilton. “This is all because of the efforts of our Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. His determination and leadership have never failed West Virginia and the coal industry since he first came into office.”

The West Virginia Coal Forum commends West Virginia’s U.S. Senate delegation for their leadership and support of two joint resolutions that express the Senate’s disapproval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan. 

The Coal Forum is an organization representing business and labor in West Virginia’s coal industry.

“Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin demonstrated true leadership in the coal industry’s fight against EPA’s power plant rules,” said Coal Forum Co-Chairman Chris Hamilton. “The entire country now knows that the majority of the United States Senate disapproves of the president’s irresponsible and economically dangerous energy policy agenda.”

Charleston, WV (November 5, 2015) – The West Virginia Coal Forum applauds West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s continued efforts to strike down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new source performance standards (NSPS). This rule effectively prohibits the construction of new, coal-fired power plants.

Chris Hamilton, co-chairman of the West Virginia Coal Forum, said, “With the loss of nearly 8,000 direct mining jobs in our state and region at the hands of the Federal government, General Morrissey is a true champion who continues to fight for the people of West Virginia. We are hopeful that his suit will lead to a reversal of the NSPS regulations.”