Press Archive


CHARLESTON, W.Va. –The West Virginia Coal Forum expresses its gratitude and sincere appreciation to Governor Jim Justice and the West Virginia Legislature for passing HB 207, legislation to exempt merchant power plants from B&O tax, which unfairly penalizes the Pleasants Plant.

“This is incredible news, and we are so grateful to the efforts by Governor Jim Justice and our legislative leaders for acting quickly to keep this facility in operation,” said Coal Forum Co-chairman Chris Hamilton. “This legislation will also support a plant that is environmentally compliant that has invested $650 million (funded by ratepayers) in scrubber, SCR and SBS systems that surpasses current standards.

The Pleasants Power Station is a 1,300-megawatt plant employs 160 people in Pleasants County. Another 300 to 400 coal miners supply the plant’s base fuel. It had previously been slated for deactivation and was recently rendered too expensive to continue to operate by its new owner — First Energy Solutions, which would have been a major blow to the community. But thankfully HB 207 provides a path forward that allows for continued operation at Pleasants.

“Keeping these 160 plant employees and the hundreds, if not thousands of workers at companies supporting the Pleasants plant is like an unbelievable gift,” said Fred Tucker, Co-chairman. “This is proof of the good things that can happen when you have a governor, president, and legislative members who all believe coal has a vital role in America’s energy plan and who work together to make it happen!

“Our governor has been working behind the scenes with President Trump and Energy Secretary (Rick) Perry to maintain all eastern coal-fired plants to remain operational in order to keep coal-fired electricity viable for years to come,” Hamilton said. “Recognizing the critical importance for West Virginia and eastern coal production for national security and energy security, Governor Justice has impressed upon the President at every turn to preserve coal-fired utilities for base load generation.”

The West Virginia Coal Forum is an organization representing business and labor in the coal industry. The organization is co-chaired by Mr. Fred Tucker, representing the United Mine Workers of America and Mr. Chris Hamilton, representing industry and the West Virginia Coal Association.