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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:

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3730691123001/why-is-the-us-importing-coal/#sp=show-clips.

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

RSVP


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

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rally-to-support-american-energy-tickets-12291772021

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.

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 www.wvcoalforum.org.

Logan Fieldhouse packed for bill signing
By Ron Gregory
Logan Banner

LOGAN – The Logan High School Fieldhouse was packed with LHS students Tuesday as various elected officials participated with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in a ceremonial bill signing. The event, which also included others primarily from the coal industry, was part of a coal forum. The WV Coal Forum is an organization representing both labor and management in the coal industry. The meeting in Logan was co-sponsored by the Logan County Chamber of Commerce.

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From the White House to the coalfields: two different perspectives
WV MetroNews
By Jeff Jenkins

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin held a ceremonial bill signing Tuesday, signing HB 4346 which creates a framework with how the state can deal with federal guidelines for clean air while protecting coal.

LOGAN, W.Va. — It seemed somewhat ironic Tuesday that at the same time coal supporters were holding a forum on the importance of the industry at Logan High School, President Barack Obama was meeting at the White House with scientists on climate change and how to further deal with carbon emissions.

What was just a coincidence wasn’t lost on West Virginia Coal Association Vice President Chris Hamilton.

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W.Va. Coal Forum Focuses on EPA Standards and Economy
WSAZ-TV

LOGAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Leaders in West Virginia spent the day talking about how the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulations to slow down global warming are hurting the state's economy.

They say new EPA standards could cause the closure of even more coal mines.

A coal forum was held in Logan County. Hundreds of high school students and coal supporters in the community packed into the Logan High School Fieldhouse to hear from state and regional leaders about their plans to protect coal jobs.

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Leaders discuss effects of EPA regulations on coal industry
By Alanna Autler, Reporter
WOWK-TV

LOGAN COUNTY, WV -

Coal is a way of life in Southern West Virginia, and many leaders want to keep it that way.

"Obviously we're having problems in the coal fields," said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. "But we're continuing to work on that."

Tomblin joined state and local leaders for a meeting hosted by the West Virginia Coal Forum at Logan High School Tuesday. The governor ceremoniously signed House Bill 4346, which aims to protect coal jobs and fuel supplies while outlining ways to comply with federal climate laws.

"Our future is as intertwined with the coal industry as it is with breathing the air," said Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV).

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Coal Forum Examines EPA Proposals
WCHS-TV

Stakeholders in the coal industry gather at the Logan Fieldhouse to talk about Environmental Protection Agency air emission standards. Both the rules already on the books and those that are in the pipeline.

Many here say if the New Source Performance Standards are adopted, it will be nearly impossible to build new coal-based power plants in the future.

"It's no joke they want to shut it down," Delegate Rupie Phillips, (D) Logan. "If we continue to let them shut it down our power bills are going to triple, our jobs are going to be lost. Gas can't maintain the power grid up to the level it needs to be."

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Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to headline event


Charleston, WV (May 6, 2014) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air emission regulations have helped facilitate the closure or planned closure of more than 160 coal generating units across the country, equating to over 22,000 megawatts of electricity.  New Source Performance Standards being proposed by EPA will make it nearly impossible to build new coal-based power plants in the future.  These regulations will further erode West Virginia’s coal economy.

The West Virginia Coal Forum in partnership with the Logan County Chamber of Commerce will conduct a meeting to discuss these green house gas emission standards and the impact to our state and the nation from Noon – 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6th in the Field House at Logan High School in Logan, West Virginia.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will headline the event and conduct a ceremonial bill signing of House Bill 4346.  Passed during the 2014 Legislative Session, the bill establishes a framework for the development of a state compliance plan for EPA’s new climate rules while preserving current fuel supplies and protecting West Virginia coal jobs.

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

  • Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
  • Senators Art Kirkendoll and Ron Stollings
  • Delegates Rupert Phillips and Ted Tomblin
  • Bill Raney, WV Coal Association
  • Jeff Herholdt, WV Division of Energy
  • Roger Horton, Citizens for Coal
  • Chris Hamilton, Vice-President, WV Coal Association & Co-Chair, WV Coal Forum
  • Fred Tucker, UMWA, Co-Chair, WV Coal Forum

Seating is limited and reservations are required.  To make a reservation please email Joel Watts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There is no cost to attend the event.

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 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 www.wvcoalforum.org.  

Friends of the West Virginia Coal Forum,

We want to call your attention to this happening in Gainesville, Florida.

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20140417/ARTICLES/140419629

Our co-chair, Chris Hamilton (who is also with the West Virginia Coal Association and serves as Chairmen of the WV Business and Industry Council) has responded:

“I ask you to rethink your impulsive decision to stop supplies of clean burning, reliable fuel from our great state. The Sierra Club and other critics of surface mining methods would rather see an end to fossil fuels and coal altogether but do not necessarily care about continuing reliable and inexpensive power for household and industrial use. Quite frankly, this power is mined by some of the best miners you'll find anywhere in the world. Miners who, incidentally, exhibit great care and sophistication when extracting this commodity to minimize impacts to the environment and their neighbors. They also bring their families to the great Sunshine State routinely to spend their hard earned vacation dollars throughout your many tourism centers. Enacting a ban on West Virginia coal would be akin to West Virginia enacting a ban on Florida sunshine or oranges.  We simply ask that you learn the truth about surface mining in our great state before you would discontinue its use. I want to also ask for the opportunity to speak to this issue before you finalize your decision.”

This is our open letter,
__

Here in the Mountain State, we're happy to hear that Gainesville loves mountains -- as home to some of America's most stunning ranges, we're partial to them as well. The special interests behind the Gainesville City Commission's move to ban coal products sourced from West Virginia are unfairly targeting not only hardworking West Virginians, but Gainesville families already struggling to pay their bills. Producing clean-burning and inexpensive fuel continues to be the focus of miners from West Virginia to Kentucky and beyond. Thanks to the hard work of miners across Appalachia, surface mining generates some of the most cost-effective energy for consumers throughout the nation -- including our friends down in Gainesville.

Over the years of -- well, having mountains, West Virginia has learned a thing or two about how to manage them. In fact, we invite the City Commission to come up for a visit to experience the cutting-edge site reclamation techniques we've developed to mitigate environmental impact and restore or redevelop sites. Many of these reclaimed areas have become schools, playgrounds, and parks, and form the basis of thriving communities -- communities not altogether unlike the working families of Gainesville.

Residents interested in keeping Gainesville Regional Utility customers' rates affordable can share their views with the Gainesville City Commission by dialing 352-334-5016 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the meantime, we'll worry about our mountains.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety unanimously approved a rule last week requiring proximity detection systems to improve the safety of underground coal miners. This comprehensive safety regulation is the first of its kind in the nation.

Board Administrator Joel Watts said the regulation will put West Virginia’s coal miners in a safer environment than what exists anywhere else in the world.

“West Virginia is once again at the forefront of underground mine safety and technology,” Watts said. “The Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety is committed to the safety of West Virginia’s coal miners. I am very pleased that the board met its 120-day deadline to enact this regulation. This regulation requires new training and equipment, and will result in a culture change in the state’s mining industry.” Watts also said that the board will reach out to federal partners at the Mine Safety and Health Administration to ensure all parties are on the same page.

The Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety is composed of members representing the viewpoints of the operators and labor. Its members are Chris Hamilton, WV Coal Association; Ted Hapney, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); Terry Hudson, Patriot Coal; Carl Egnor, UMWA; Charles Russell, Arch Coal; and Gary Trout, UMWA.

Chris Hamilton, a member of the board and the executive vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association said, “The requirements embodied in this rule will serve to enhance miner safety by providing a comprehensive approach, including deployment of new mine safety technologies, additional safeguards and worker training provisions.”

“The UMWA is pleased that West Virginia has taken this important step,” said UMWA President Cecil E. Roberts. “We know that proximity detection devices can and will save lives. This rule will provide a strong foundation for continued improvements in coal miners’ safety in West Virginia, and, we hope, across the nation.”

For more information, contact Joel Watts at 304-957-2306.

By Cecil E. Roberts

Mike Payton has been working as a coal miner in Marion County for 10 years. He got out of school, went to work, started a family, bought a house and began his climb up the ladder of economic security that has for generations been the way out of poverty for people in the coalfields.

A member of the United Mine Workers of America, Mike shops at local stores, eats at local restaurants, takes his kids to local doctors and clinics. He and thousands more like him throughout America's coalfields have an immense impact on the economic and social fabrics of their communities.

Indeed, without them, many of those communities would dry up and vanish.

That's starting to happen. Average coal employment in the United States dropped 17.1 percent over the last two years. West Virginia alone lost more than 2,500 coal jobs over that time. Kentucky lost another 6,000 and coal employment there has dropped to the lowest level since 1927. That means that nearly $1 billion in wages and benefits has been ripped out of the economies of the largely rural West Virginia and Kentucky coalfield communities in just two years.

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