Press Archive


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:

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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.

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