Press Archive


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.

The preference is to maintain these six in-state power generators in a state of readiness as viable alternatives are sought as opposed to moving forward with their mothballing and subsequent dismantling. Aside from sustaining thousands of coal, rail, barge and utility jobs over the years, these plants have delivered reliable, low-cost, household and industrial power to state residents and businesses, particularly manufacturing plants.

We may very well find no viable alternatives but to go forward with these closures as announced, but we submit for your consideration that today is not that time. Once this decision is conclusive, then all else is lost and there will be no realistic expectation of preserving these jobs or the delivery of low-cost power to surrounding communities.

Perhaps technologies and opportunities exists through the West Virginia Public Energy Authority and the National Energy Technology Laboratory that may be parlayed to refit these plants in an economical way so they can use a range of base fuels, including coal from nearby deliveries, thereby allowing low-cost electricity production to remain uninterrupted and guaranteed into the future.

We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and your energy staff to discuss the alternative possibilities that exists surrounding this request.

Sincerely Yours,

Chris Hamilton,
Co-Chair, West Virginia Coal Forum West Virginia Coal Association

Fred Tucker
Co-Chair, West Virginia Coal Forum United Mine Workers of America