Press Archive


The West Virginia Coal Forum wholeheartedly supports a bold request to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to join with other states in refusing to file state plans with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under its controversial “Clean Power Plan” rules. The Coal Forum is an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry.

West Virginia’s three U.S. House members sent a letter to Tomblin June 3 asking him to join with Texas, Oklahoma and other states that have decided not to file state plans with EPA in spite of the federal agency’s plans to finalize new air pollution rules this summer.

“The constant regulatory attack on the coal industry calls for bold action to be requested of and considered by our executive and other office holders,” said Chris Hamilton, co-chairman of the West Virginia Coal Forum. “The Obama Administration is using every resource available to reduce coal mining and take jobs away from coal miners. Traditional responses from state and local governments are not enough to combat the President. It’s time for West Virginia to take a stand and do what our congressional delegation requests.”

Charleston, WV (June 2, 2015) – The West Virginia Coal Forum – an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry – in conjunction with multiple local, regional and national partners, will host a forum to highlight the challenges and opportunities facing the coal industry from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Charleston. 

Media are encouraged to attend. 

Entitled “West Virginia Coal – 2015 & Beyond”, this first in a series of educational and informational events will bring attention to the impact of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, state and federal environmental regulations and strategies for confronting these critical issues head on. 

Presenters scheduled to participate include:

  • Senate President Bill Cole
  • House Speaker Tim Armstead
  • Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (InviteD)
  • Dr. John Christy, Climatologist
  • Jeff Herholdt, WV Division of Energy
  • Representatives of the coal and power generation industries
  • Chris Hamilton, Vice-President, WV Coal Association & Co-Chair, WV Coal Forum

Seating is limited and reservations are required.  To make a reservation click here.

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 planning a number of educational and informational events beginning this June to discuss the impact of regulatory measures on coal mining as well as strategies for confronting the most significant issues.

“West Virginia Coal – 2015 and Beyond” will include representatives from the regulatory sector as well as industry officials and energy experts sharing expertise on a number of topics crucial to today’s coal industry, including the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan.

By Chris Hamilton

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” and for the past 83 years, the West Virginia Legislature and the United Mine Workers have done just that. Now, after our Central Appalachian coal production has declined by more than 43 percent, numerous coal mines have closed, and thousands of jobs have been lost, Cecil Roberts is advocating for the West Virginia Legislature to just keep doing the same thing. This is not just recklessness on part of Roberts and the United Mine Workers, it is insanity.

Our Legislative leaders appear intent to do everything within their power to provide the coal industry with help and optimism so it may survive the next couple years of President Obama’s assault on Central Appalachian Coal Operations. Yes, we also have worsening geology and lots of lower-cost gas, but rest assured, as everyone knows who is remotely close to the coal industry, its misfortunes today principally have been brought about by our president’s attacks (which the UMW repeatedly have embraced).

Charleston, WV, February 5, 2015 - Mine safety is a central focus of West Virginia’s coal industry. At Thursday’s session of the 42nd Annual West Virginia Mining Symposium in Charleston, 54 mining and service companies were recognized for their commitment to exemplary safety performance in 2014.

Topping the list of award winners was Catenary Coal Company’s Samples Mine, of Kanawha County, which took home the Barton B. Lay Milestones of Safety Award.

“Our member companies strive each day to provide their employees with the safest possible workplace,” said Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association.  “They have set a standard with their focus on reducing workplace injuries and getting everyone home at the end of their shifts. We applaud their hard work and dedication to this, our most important responsibility.”

Africa faces a dilemma: It's vulnerable to climate change but needs coal to grow robustly. So which way are Africans going?

Africa is the kind of place that makes power companies rub their hands with glee. Economies there have grown steadily, an average 6 percent per year, even though nearly half of the continent’s 1.2 billion people have no electricity. Just think what a little power would do for growth – and the business opportunities for providing that power!

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Coal Association was invited to Thursday’s meeting of the Kanawha County Commission to discuss the impact of the recent layoff announcements that could potentially impact as many as 1400 coal miners – many of them from Kanawha and surrounding counties.

WVCA Senior Vice President Chris Hamilton and Vice President Jason Bostic met with the Commission, providing up-to-date information regarding the layoffs. Hamilton spoke about the issue at the regular Commission Meeting Thursday evening in Charleston.

CHARLESTON – WVCA Senior Vice President Chris Hamilton was a guest on Thursday’s “After the Bell” show on Fox Business News.  Interviewed by phone, Hamilton spoke about the recent increase in coal imports from Russia, Columbia and other countries – imports that are displacing Appalachian coal in markets traditionally served by West Virginia, Kentucky and other eastern coal producing states.

Host David Asman said it was unbelievable that American coal miners were being laid off while coal was increasingly shipped from other countries due in large part to the costs associated with compliance with new federal regulations imposed by the Obama Administration. 

If you want to see the segment in its entirety, it is available at:

Local organizations are providing buses. Please email to reserve your spot at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rally to Support American Energy!
Join us for a celebration to support American Jobs, Affordable Power & U.S. Energy Independence

The Environmental Protection Agency will host public hearings on its new carbon regulations in Pittsburgh on July 31 and August 1. We’ve already paid the price for EPA’s costly and politicized rulemaking, and the agency’s newest regulations could be the most devastating yet.

July 30, 2014 – 10am to 2pm
Highmark Stadium
510 W Station Square Drive,
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Entertainment, speakers, food and fun for the whole family

·         Win a chance to meet NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

·         Come see the Nationwide #7 America’s Power car

·         Country singer Chris Higbee live in concert


The Environmental Protection Agency will host public hearings on its new carbon regulations in Pittsburgh on July 31 and August 1. We’ve already paid the price for EPA’s costly and politicized rulemaking, and the agency’s newest regulations could be the most devastating yet.

Come join coal communities from across the Tri-State area and special guests, including Governors Corbett and Tomblin, for a fun-filled, family friendly rally and learn how you can get involved and take action. Let’s show EPA our support for coal!

Sponsored by America's Power, WV Coal, PA Chamber of Business & Industry, Citizens for Coal, PA Coal Alliance, Ohio Coal Association, National Association of Manufacturers, Friends of Coal, and Count on Coal

Commentary by Chris Hamilton, WV Coal Forum Co-Chair

On June 2, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency issued unprecedented climate rules which, if implemented, will have no real effect on climate change or in the reduction of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  None −  ZERO effect on Planet Earth’s carbon emissions.

The entire coal-fired power generating fleet in the U.S. is responsible for less than 4 percent of our planet’s carbon emissions while China and India alone account for over 90 percent of today’s emissions.  The president’s plan calls for a 30 percent reduction in coal use, which in essence can be boiled down to reducing less than 1 percent of our emissions.  Stop and think about that for a moment − less than 1 percent of global emissions reduced, and at what cost?

Who will pay for this? I submit to you, the American people will pay for this through skyrocketing electric power utility bills and as-yet untold increases in manufactured goods because of increases in production and transportation costs. Our nation is still crawling out of a recession and yet the president and his EPA choose to deal a death blow to the American economy.

There have been several preliminary estimates of the economics of the Presidents’ plan. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce calculated a $10 billion dollar impact on the southeastern states alone and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost across the country.  The United Mine Workers of America completed an assessment that concludes Obama’s plan will result in the loss of 75,000 jobs by 2020 and twice that by 2030.

Again, these disastrous economic consequences are being levied in exchange for a reduction of less than 1 percent of global emissions.  Rest assured, we all pay, every single West Virginian and every American. Higher utility bills, fewer taxpayers, fewer tax dollars and the thousands who will lose their jobs and ability to take care of their families.

By the way, 1 percent of global emissions equates to a temperature decrease of about 0.015 percent and a sea level decrease of 1/20 of 1 percent − or the thickness of three sheets of paper.

It is pure nonsense, bordering on ludicrous to think for a moment that other countries will follow our lead in reducing CO2 emissions.  The media may try to paint a picture that the whole world automatically will do what America does, but in reality, it simply will not happen.

When I hear President Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and their supporters rant about the United States providing climate leadership for other countries to follow, I shake my head. This is akin to following “F” Troop into battle or McHale’s Navy at sea or the Keystone Cops in a street fight.  It simply will not happen!

For the sake of this writing we’ll not examine the leadership qualities or the ill-conceived plan in question.  I will, however, simply observe that the U.S. electric utility industry has continuously made improvement through costly upgrades to its entire fleet over the past 30 plus years to reduce sulfur, ground level ozone, nitrogen dioxides, mercury and particulate matter to the tune of achieving over a 90 percent reduction in total air emissions while tripling the percentage of coal combustion throughout this same period. Has the president even bothered to acknowledge this incredible progress? Of course not.

The cost of these upgrades has been in the hundreds of billions of dollars that domestic consumers already have paid for because these dollars have been channeled back through the rate base. Since 2005 alone, American Electric Power customers have seen a 50 percent increase in their electric power rates, according to the leadership at AEP subsidiary Appalachian Power.

But while America’s industrial bedrock has made real progress in reducing air emissions over the last couple decades, the real kicker in this summation is that China India and other large consumers of coal have not followed our lead by making any of these improvements designed for reducing pollution to improve human health. Not the first filter or scrubber, not the first after-treatment system of any dimension to control or mitigate pollutants, nothing even close to the level of progress achieved in the United States.

In Europe, Germany is a shining example of a country that tried to move away from coal-fired power, and the results were a near economic disaster. That nation now is switching back to using coal as much as possible as quickly as it can.

Germany’s experiment shows us a valuable lesson and explains the hubris that is the downfall of the Obama administration. The president will have the United States risk is entire economic structure, electric grid security and the health and welfare of its most vulnerable citizens for such questionable, minute results.  And Obama expects other nations to follow us? To put it plainly, it ain’t gonna happen!

While the United States government shuts down its most reliable and affordable energy source, other nations will continue to burn coal happily – and they’ll probably develop even cleaner ways to burn it than we have now and outpace our economy entirely.

I believe climate change is occurring. But to believe changes in weather patterns and storm severity are because the United States uses coal-fired power is preposterous. Weather does not recognize geopolitical boundaries. Global climate change is a global challenge requiring a global solution.  It simply does no good for one country to risk so much for such little result.