We have been informed by the Department of Motor Vehicles that a FOC motorcycle license plate has been approved and will be available for application shortly. We will keep you posted on this exciting news. This will be the FIRST specialty plate for motorcycles in WV.
The 21st West Virginia Coal Festival is set for June 17 thru June 21 in downtown Madison. This year’s event will feature top-notch entertainers, a parade, miner’s memorial service, mine equipment exhibits, fireworks, carnival, beauty pageant and many other events.
Entertainment line-up: June 19, Matt Stillwell & 7 Bridges; June 20, Rick Huckaby & LITTLE TEXAS; and, June 21, Autumn Blair & Katie Ohh.
Now that the launch of the new “Mining in Society Merit Badge” has been successful, all of us in the mining industry are being encouraged to become involved with the new Boy Scouts of America merit badge, as merit badge counselors. The project was a joint venture between the BSA and SME. A free SME webinar (April 30th) will outline the badge and the process to become a counselor to help promote the program. https://smenet.webex.com/mw0307l/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=smenet&service=6
Click here to register for the “Mining in Society” Counselor Training on April 30. The session will be one hour.
Walter Energy’s Maple Coal Operations made a donation to the Upper Kanawha Valley Community Center to help support the center’s ongoing community outreach programs including providing meals to area residents and operating a local senior citizen center.
Maple Coal Operations has partnered with the Community Center for several years to provide food and has made other donations to help the Center continue its work serving the area. Good Job, Maple Coal/Walter Energy!
GMS’s Midwest Manager, Dave Jones, has qualified to run in the Boston Marathon next Monday. Part of what some runners do is raise money for charity in conjunction with John Hancock (the race sponsors). Dave decided to run for the homeless and tie that with the facts that without coal, energy costs rise and homelessness grows. They told him that he could not do that because coal was not connected to homelessness and was too political. Furthermore, Family Aid Boston, who operates the race, told him that he could not promote coal during the race and wear their “team” logo (which almost every runner does). Because of the importance of this issue to Dave, he has decided to run wearing the coal issues on his clothes and a hard hat for the entire race and forgo wearing the Boston approved clothing.
On March 8, 2014 the WV Legislature passed SB 461 creating the West Virginia Future Fund (the “Fund”). SB 461 was signed by the Governor on March 20, 2014 and takes effect on June 6, 2014 (90 days from passage).
The Fund is a special revenue account which is to be invested by the WV Investment Management Board. The Legislature declared its intent to use the Fund as a means of conserving a portion of state revenue derived from the increased revenue proceeds received by the state as a result of mineral production, as well as other funding sources that may be designated in the future.
Below is a link to the revised administrative “drug testing” rule filed by the WV Office of Miners’ Health Safety & Training. The revised rule, which incorporates the recent legislative changes, becomes effective on May 10th, 2014. The following provisions have been amended into the rule or revised. For your information, the OMHST reports over 400 temporary and 1 permanent de-certifications since the inception of the state’s mandatory drug testing program, January/2013.
With no consideration of the economic consequences of their decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC upheld the Obama EPA in the White Stallion Energy Center v. EPA case related to the mercury and air toxic standards (MATS). In the 2-1 ruling the Court majority said federal law and previous court decisions do not require the federal EPA to consider cost when imposing new regulations on electric utilities. The dissenting judge criticized the EPA for not considering the cost of the rules, which are estimated at $9.6 billion a year to industry. Most companies will have until March 2015 to meet the new standards. States could grant an additional year, and EPA could extend the deadline until 2017, if a specific power plant unit was critical for reliability. The decision can be obtained by clickinghere.
Alpha Natural Resources’ Senior VP-Operations, Mike Snelling, Consol Energy’s COO-Coal Jimmy Brock and WV DEP Secretary Randy Huffman will join Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to headline next week’s Nemacolin National Energy Conference at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. The full agenda and registration information can be accessed at this link: http://www.nationalcoalconference.com/
In the midst of a difficult Primary Election race, State Senator Sam Cann (Harrison, Lewis, Gilmer, Braxton & Clay Counties) was honored for his longtime Legislative Excellence and support of the business community by the West Virginia Business & Industry Council (WV BIC) at a regional meeting in Clarksburg yesterday. The official news release can be accessed by clicking here: Sam Cann news release. Congratulations Senator Samand good luck in the Primary.
The 13th Coal Education Development & Resource (CEDAR) of Southern West Virginia Regional Coal Fair will be held at the Harless Center in Gilbert on April 7 – April 11. K thru 12 grade student projects will be on display and every project is focused on coal. Projects compete in seven categories: Science, Math, Social Studies, English/Literature, Music, Art and Technology/Multimedia. Students from Mingo Logan, Boone, McDowell, Wyoming and Wayne Counties compete for prize money while learning about coal and the importance of coal in our daily lives.
The full schedule is below, please take time to visit, tour the projects and support the coal industry and students.
The Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, is holding a Mine Safety & Health Law Special Institute on April 22-23 in Washington, DC. The Institute will be held at the US DOL Auditorium at 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington.
Safety lawyers from the private bar and the Solicitor’s office will discuss the safety regulations facing the coal mining industry. MSHA’s Pattern of Violations rule, criminal investigations, commission litigation, MSHA’s authority to obtain medical and other documents in connection with “Part 50” audits, and MSHA’s accident response and control order authority are some of the topics up for discussion.
To register for this program before the early bird rate expires (April 10), go to http://www.emlf.org.