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The Bluefield area’s business community and coal industry packed the house July 23 at a meeting of the West Virginia Coal Forum for an in-depth discussion about the future of the state’s bedrock industry.

“Coal is not a four-letter word,” said Fred Tucker, retired United Mine Workers of America representative and co-chairman of the Coal Forum, an organization representing business and labor in the state’s coal industry.

With the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce as a co-sponsor, the Coal Forum event sparked animated discussions about what the federal government is doing to the industry and where West Virginia’s coal future lies. This was the second event in the Coal Forum’s statewide series, “West Virginia Coal: 2015 and Beyond.”

WVVA-TV
By Lindsay Oliver, WVVA Multimedia Journalist

BLUEFIELD (WVVA) -

During the Coal Forum in Bluefield on Thursday, friends of coal from state legislators to  industry representatives came together to discuss how the industry has changed and what is in its future.  The panel gathered to discuss the battle between the coal industry and the EPA and how they intend to fight for the industry.

By Bill Archer For The Register-Herald

Organizers of the West Virginia Coal Forum scheduled to start at 9 a.m., this morning at the Quality Hotel & Conference Center in Bluefield have finalized the schedule to today’s event.

Chris Hamilton and Fred Tucker, co-chairs of the West Virginia Coal Forum will join with Marc Meachum, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce to welcome those attending the event.

By BILL ARCHER Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD —  Organizers of the West Virginia Coal Forum scheduled to start at 9 a.m., this morning at the Quality Hotel & Conference Center in Bluefield have finalized the schedule to today’s event.

Chris Hamilton and Fred Tucker, co-chairs of the West Virginia Coal Forum will join with Marc Meachum, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce to welcome those attending the event.

By BILL ARCHER Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Both the state senate president as well as the Speaker of the House of Delegates are confirmed as presenters for the Coal Forum scheduled for July 23, in Bluefield according to Chris Hamilton, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association and co-chair of the Coal Forum.

By BILL ARCHER Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — The recent warm spell last week brought on a slight increase in electric output,  but the increase in thermal coal production remains down 12.2 percent from production levels in late June, 2014.

But while thermal coal production showed a slight increase compared to the previous week, the number of rail car loadings continued its downward slide — off 13.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

Charleston, W.Va. - The West Virginia Coal Forum is hailing Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision as a much-needed battle victory against the federal government’s war on coal.

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

“Our nation’s highest court saw EPA's mercury rule for exactly what it was -- an economically disastrous power grab by a rogue agency and president that has been subverting Congress at every turn,” said Chris Hamilton, co-chairman of the Coal Forum. “Today, the legal system provided a much-needed check on the Executive Branch's regulatory overreach.”

Dear Gov. Tomblin,

We at the West Virginia Coal Forum are writing to request that you protect West Virginia from a state of economic peril that is virtually guaranteed by the mandates contained in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.”

The West Virginia Coal Forum is an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry.

As you are well aware, EPA's policies and programs have contributed to a near collapse of our coal industry over the last several years, and this deterioration has wreaked havoc on practically every aspect of our state. The Clean Power Plan rules will require West Virginia to sacrifice its economic and energy security even more. 

We are writing to urge your immediate attention to the closing of six in-state coal-fired power generators. As representatives of coal workers and coal employers, we respectfully encourage you to use the executive powers of your office to forestall these closures so we might consider all relevant household, economic and employment factors surrounding these industrial facilities. We ask that the short- and long-term net effect on nearby residents and the delivery of reliable and affordable household electricity also be examined.

We have been told that little can be done at this point or that “this train has left the station.” As such, decisions made unilaterally by parent utilities cannot be reversed; however, the decision forcing these facilities into premature shutdown results from unfavorable public policy driven by political agendas which hopefully will be revisited and reversed in the future.

As the Environmental Protection Agency continues to exert regulatory pressure on West Virginia and other coal-producing states, elected officials here and elsewhere are putting some pressure of their own on the EPA.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, requiring states to cut emissions by 30 percent before 2030, is expected to be finalized later this summer. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey leads a coalition of some 15 states that have pledged to challenge the final rule in court.

And in the meantime, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and others are gearing up to fight the EPA on the legislative front. A U.S. Senate subcommittee chaired by Capito is considering a bill that would block the Clean Power Plan and make it much tougher for the EPA to create similar rules in the future.

Charleston, W.Va. (June 23, 2015) – The West Virginia Coal Forum is applauding the National Black Chamber of Commerce for having the bravery to speak the truth about the economic impact of President Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan.”

“Harry C. Alford is to be commended for having the guts to tell the public about the economic hardship Obama’s Clean Power Plan will impose on millions of working West Virginia families,” said Chris Hamilton, co-chairman of the West Virginia Coal Forum, a an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry.

In a June 22 column, Alford sheds light on how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to bring additional regulations to coal-fired electric power generation in the United States will affect the 90,000 blacks and Hispanics living in West Virginia.