Press Archive


CHARLESTON -- The following statement is being issued by the WV Coal Forum in response to Senator Jay Rockefeller's vote on Wednesday to help defeat (46-53) a resolution (S.J. Res 37) that would have blocked implementation of EPA’s Utility MACT rule:

"West Virginia's coal mining community is extremely disappointed in Senator Rockefeller’s vote yesterday in the U.S. Senate against a resolution(SJR 37) that would have disapproved the EPA’s Utility MACT rule, the most expensive rule ever proposed by this agency.  It was a bad day for the industry, our people and consumers throughout West Virginia.

Despite a broad-based bipartisan coalition of industry, labor and elected officials, both local and statewide including our Governor, urging his support of the resolution, Senator Rockefeller decided to continue to follow the Obama Administration’s agenda to senselessly eliminate coal as a viable source for electric generation. Our people know what is at stake, and believe we have much more to lose with the Utility MACT rule than gain. We have stood with thousands of coal miners and their families over the past three years, at meeting after meeting, at rallies and at hearings. We counted on Senator Rockefeller to stand with us and listen to the voices of the thousands of West Virginians who have pleaded simply for a chance to work, to earn a living and take care of their families.

This strong support of individuals and groups from across West Virginia was no scare tactic, but rather a deep, sincere concern for the future of our State, our families and our professional workforce.  The Obama Administration’s assault on the West Virginia and Appalachian coal industry is real, as demonstrated by myriad of new coal regulations and policies from several agencies with unrealistic requirements and timetables, the intervention in the permitting process in six Appalachian states, as well as the agency’s revocation of the Spruce permit in Logan County. 

The Utility MACT rule as drafted will essentially prevent the construction of new coal fired generation into the future.  West Virginian’s embrace a clean coal future and have anew coal-fired power plant that is one of the cleanest in the nation, and emits a tiny fraction of the emissions of the previous generation of power plants.  The current generation of new coal fired power plants will meet the Utility MACT rule, however, the bar was set so high for plants into the future that the technology doesn’t exist to meet those standards.  Senator Rockefeller knows this yet he has decided to ignore this fact.

Our nation is best served through the pursuit of policies that are focused on balance, practicality and energy security.  The foundation of such policies require wise utilization of all our domestic energy sources. We as a nation cannot continue to effectively abandon our most abundant and reliable American energy resource and expect to achieve energy independence.”

Chris Hamilton, Co-Chair
Fred Tucker, Co-Chair
West Virginia Coal Forum