Press Archive


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

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


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

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  

Friends of the West Virginia Coal Forum,

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

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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A major environmental group is launching a massive campaign to strangle the coal industry, push green energy sources and increase electricity prices for much of the country, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

TheDCNF obtained an internal Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign document from an anonymous source. The document lays out the environmental group’s $120 million campaign to decommission 105,000 megawatts of U.S. coal-fired power, prevent more coal from being mined or exported and push for more green energy production.

Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign’s main goals are to “stop the construction of a new fleet of coal plants… expedite the replacement of the existing fleet of coal plants with cleaner energy alternatives, with a goal of retiring all existing coal plants by 2030” and to “keep the massive U.S. coal reserves underground and out of international markets.”

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