Press Archive


Charleston, WV (June 2, 2014) – President Obama’s emission regulations on existing power plants, announced today, will result in a significant and further erosion of West Virginia’s coal employment base, representatives from the West Virginia Coal Forum stated today.
Joel Watts, administrator for the West Virginia Coal Forum – a group representing both mine labor and management across the state – said, “This new rule, coupled with other recent emission-related regulations promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has forced the closure or planned closure of hundreds of power plants across the country.  As coal-fired power plants close, the need for West Virginia coal to power them – and the thousands of miners who produce it – goes away.”
Watts said the impact of these rules are already having an impact in West Virginia. Three power plants have closed (First Energy’s Rivesville, Albright and Willow Island Plants) and three more (AEP’s Phillip Sporn, Kammer and Kanawha River Plants) are set to close this year.   The net result is the loss of 3,500-4000 direct mining jobs and potentially as many as 20,000 mining-dependent jobs.
Chris Hamilton, co-chairman of the WV Coal Forum and senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said, ”Based on a preliminary economic analysis, the related decrease in coal production would result in the loss of approximately 175,000 direct mining, utility and railroad jobs and a total of 600,000 jobs from the American economy.”
“Additionally, coal consumption for electric generation would decrease by 13% or by 120 million tons by 2020 and by 46%, or 430 million tons, by 2030 in order to meet this standard.”
Fred Tucker, co-chairman of the WV Coal Forum representing working miners across the state, said, “It is our hope that Congress can somehow interject itself in this issue and preserve the 20,000 mining jobs in West Virginia and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that exist because of the industry.”
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