Thanks to widespread support, we have reached our initial goal of 250 applications for the new Friends of Coal license plates. This will enable the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to proceed with the manufacturing of the plates. Additional applications are encouraged and need to be sent to the Association. Thanks to everyone for their quick response and support.
Thanksgiving is about family, and the Friends of Coal would like to wish the 60,000 members of our family a Happy and Joyous Thanksgiving.
We have a lot to be thankful for this year. Due to leaders with vision and commitment to our state, we have been able to avoid much of the financial problems facing the rest of the country. Together, we made a difference and made our voices heard in Washington. You have stood together to overcome every challenge, to help each other through tragedy and pain, and to fight the good fight against those would end the use of coal.We are proud of you and we are proud of the work you do. We urge everyone traveling this weekend to be safe, as they make their way to Grandma's House.
A message from the Friends of Coal.
The initial announcement of the West Virginia Friends of Coal license plate was sent to all Coal Bits recipients and the Friends of Coal data base last week and we have the beginning of our 250 initial applications being returned. If you did not receive or misplaced your application, you can find it on either WVCA’s or FOC’s websites: www.wvcoal.com or www.friendsofcoal.org. Or contact our office and it can be e-mailed directly to you. As per the instructions, the application MUST be completed in its entirety (every block completed) and returned to our office with a $70.00 check made payable to WV Coal Foundation. The new WV license plate has been designed to look about the same as Kentucky’s, Virginia’s and Tennessee’s plate so the FOC will have a resounding presence on the highway. Look forward to processing your application!
Renews call for fight against anti-coal agenda of Obama Administration
CHARLESTON -- The West Virginia Coal Association and Friends of Coal would like to congratulate Senator Joe Manchin on his election to the unexpired two-year term of the late-Sen. Robert C. Byrd. Manchin has been strong and effective governor. We believe he will continue to be a strong voice for coal and the West Virginia coal miner in Washington. He has repeatedly stood up to the Democratic leadership in Congress and to the Obama Administration on our people’s behalf while trying to break the logjam of permits from the federal EPA.
Beckley Register Herald - January 12, 2010
CHARLESTON — A southern West Virginia lawmaker feels the ultimate goal of the Environmental Protection Agency is to wipe out the entire coal industry by initially outlawing the mountaintop removal practice via uncompromising regulation. “It’s an attack on the whole industry,” Delegate Steve Kominar, D-Mingo, said in Monday’s interims session. His criticism of the federal agency came after lawmakers heard updates on improving brownfields in a meeting of the Joint Commission on Economic Development.
Byrd met with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on December 22, 2009 to continue their candid and cordial dialogue on issues of importance to coal mining in West Virginia.
It is unconscionable to me that West Virginians anywhere could be so unwilling to accept the fact that coal built this state, and will continue to build it’s future, that they would stoop to protesting the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary’s Coal in the Classroom program. My bet is, as with most environmental socialists, that they are not West Virginians at all, but transplants from another state. And to have the unmitigated gall to complain about “indoctrination” of our children, when these environmental socialists have been “indoctrinating” our children to their misguided and evil plans for the future of our nation for the last three decades at least, they are showing just how small-minded and vile they really are.Mr. Webb should shut his mouth while his brain is disengaged for a change, and learn to accept the fact this nation simply cannot afford to pay for the socialist agenda, be it in the environmental arena or the political arena. Kudos to the Raleigh County Board of Education for their fair and balanced mindset for allowing our children to begin to see the real picture, and I hope they have the fortitude, which I doubt, to stand up to these repugnant environmental socialists and continue to allow our children to see the real world, and learn where our power really comes from.Larry Hanna Jr. Renick
Our Readers Speak — Dec. 31, 2009 Beckley Register-Herald
The link is to a video of Mr. John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, who presents a compelling argument for his love of the planet and the facts that demonstrate carbon dioxide is not causing "Global Warming."
Hiroshi Shimizu and Li Yongjin (Research Scientist), the Nanostructured Materials Group, the Nanotechnology Research Institute, et. al., succeeded in greatly improving the mechanical properties, including elastic modulus and strength, of plastic (aliphatic polycarbonate) made from carbon dioxide. Plastic with excellent mechanical properties ... has been developed by using a composite of poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC), a kind of aliphatic polycarbonate made from CO2 and propylene oxide, and other plastics. The PPC composite is a high-performance material demonstrating not only improved mechanical properties but also increased heat resistance, and it is expected to be a viable alternative to petroleum-based general-purpose plastics, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene."
Note: "polycarbonate made from CO2 ... is expected to be a viable alternative to petroleum-based general-purpose plastics".
"In PPC made from CO2, fixed CO2 accounts for 43% by weight. Although the ratio of fixed CO2 decreases to about 30% by weight by blending with other plastics to enhance its performance, this PPC composite has an advantage over general-purpose plastics in terms of reduced CO2 emission. In Japan, the amount of CO2 emitted from power plants and ironworks has reached a level of 500 million tons per year, calling for the urgent establishment of technologies for separation and fixation of CO2. Wide use of the newly developed PPC (CO2- based) composite as an alternative to general-purpose plastics is expected to contribute to global warming prevention and lead to reduced dependence on petroleum resources.
Social Background for Research
A synthetic scheme in which plastics are produced from CO2, which was discovered 40 years ago by Prof. Shohei Inoue (currently Professor of Tokyo University of Science), is receiving renewed attention as a technology for fixing and utilizing CO2, which is one of the measures to prevent global warming. While technological development of aliphatic polycarbonate has been at the basic research level in Japan, pilot plants for PPC production were built by the national budget and commercial mass production of PPC has already started in China. However, the mechanical properties of the produced PPC is still far from practical use and its appearance is similar to soft, sticky rubber rather than plastic, and, therefore, extensive improvement is required.
This time, we searched for effective ways to improve the mechanical properties of PPC. Taking into consideration the basic concept of improved material, we aimed at keeping the ratio of CO2 in the PPC composite at about 30 wt%. We hoped to greatly improve the mechanical properties by adding aliphatic polyesters as second and third ingredients, thus controlling the microstructure of the PPC composite."
After an exposition of technical details, the authors conclude with:
We continue to pursue further improvement of the properties of PPC composite and also plan to apply the PPC composite to not only general structural materials but also film and packaging materials by making the most of its transparency and gas-barrier property, and to evaluate its performance as a practical material."
So, by productively recycling CO2, we can obtain "a practical material."
In addition to polycarbonate plastic, Japan has discovered that CO2 can also be used in the synthesis of polyurethane, a very versatile material employed in foams, coatings and myriad other applications, as revealed in:
Science Links Japan | Direct Synthesis of Urethane from Carbon Dioxide via Halogen-Free Process.
While his work still needs independent verification, if he can make even heavier hydrocarbons, it might be possible to make petrol. It has carbon chains that are between five and 12 atoms long - butane is four atoms long.
The work suggests the tantalising prospect that CO2, the main greenhouse gas, could be recycled instead of being pumped into the atmosphere.
Many people have tried before to make hydrocarbons by mixing carbon with hydrogen gas in a reaction chamber at very high temperatures, but yields have always been pitiful. Yamasaki has used hydrochloric acid as his source of hydrogen ions."
(Hydrochloric acid as a hydrogen donor for carbon hydrogenation has been previously documented in our posts. It apparently works. And, it can be made in industrial quantities at reasonable cost, we submit without documentation, but on opinion formed by our research. It is a commodity. JtM)
"He bubbles the CO2 into a reaction vessel ... where it is heated to about 300 °C at 100 times atmospheric pressure. The heat and pressure are low enough, says Yamasaki, to make it feasible to scale up the reaction so it can run on a power station's waste heat."
(As other research we've documented for you suggests: Waste heat from coal-fired electricity generation can be harnessed to power the processes of recycling CO2 - either through direct chemical fixation and conversion, or via biomass reactors. - JtM)
Using iron powder as a catalyst, Yamasaki says he has made substantial amounts of methane, ethane, propane and butane, which he was able to vent off as gases when the mixture cooled. If he can improve the catalyst's performance he is hopeful of making heavier hydrocarbons such as petrol, too."
(Most of those gasses, as we have elsewhere documented, can be catalyzed and converted into "heavier hydrocarbons". We don't need to be "hopeful". - JtM)
"William Siegfried, who has lead similar experiments at the University of Minnesota in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, says his group was only able to make methane at far higher temperatures. But his process also used a nickel-based alloy as a catalyst, rather than iron."
In other words, the dissenting US researchers persist, unsurprisingly, in outdated, and suspect, thinking and posturing. The practical Japanese are undeterred. They continue pursuit of what should be our goal, as in:
Study on CO2 global recycling system. [Sci Total Environ. 2001] - PubMed result
Takeuchi, M.: Sakamoto, Y.; Niwa, S.
Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, Soraka-gun, Kyoto, Japan.
In order to assist in finding ways to mitigate CO2 emission and to slow the depletion of fossil fuels we have established and evaluated a representative system, which consists of three technologies developed in our laboratory. These technologies were in CO2 recovery, hydrogen production and methanol synthesis and in addition we established the necessary supporting systems. Analysis of outline designs of the large scale renewable energy power generation system and this system and energy input for building plant, energy input for running plant has been conducted based on a case using this system for a 1000-MW coal fired power plant, followed by an evaluation of the material balance and energy balance. The results are as follows. Energy efficiency is 34%, the CO2 reduction rate is 41%, the balance ratio of the energy and CO2 of the system is 2.2 and 1.8, respectively, on the assumption that the primary renewable energy is solar thermal power generation, the stationary CO2 emission source is a coal-fired power plant and the generation efficiency of the methanol power plant is 60%. By adopting the system, 3.7 million tons of CO2 can be recovered, approximately 2.7 million tons of methanol can be produced, and 15.4 billion kWh of electricity can be generated per year. Compared to generating all electrical power using only coal, approximately 2.6 million tons of coal per year can be saved and approximately 2.15 million tons of CO2 emission can be reduced. Therefore, it is clearly revealed that this system would be effective to reduce CO2 emissions and to utilize renewable energy."
In other words, as we understand the overly-condensed abstract, and as we've documented to be under development by Rich Diver at Sandia National Laboratory, environmental energy can be combined with power plant waste heat to drive processes that capture CO2 and convert it into methanol, that we can then use as a liquid fuel, convert further into gasoline, or to make plastics - which permanently sequester the CO2.
Now, this dispatch has so far been a Japanese Christmas tree, because of all the ornaments from that country we've hung on it. But, since we mentioned that we do have some clear-headed and uncorrupted thinkers at one of our US National Labs, at least, there are some American spins to be added. We have belabored the point that power plant emissions of CO2 are dwarfed by natural sources of the gas, such as volcanoes, and that other human sources haven't been taken into consideration, either. Those human sources would include automotive exhaust, and at least one company figures that, if government and the big corporations won't recycle CO2, we'll just have to do it ourselves, as in:
CO2 recycling system for automobiles
June 4, 2008 PDT
The system captures on-board CO2 emissions and stores it for recycling through a home-unit that uses algae to produce bio-oil - up to 2500 liters per year according to the press release."
But, let's cut to the heart of it. We are going to continue using fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Let's stop wasting time, and money, debating that issue. And, let's not attempt to punish our productive coal industries through extortions like Cap-and-Trade and Sequestration. It is far past time, as with the potentials for liquefying our vast domestic reserves of coal into the liquid fuels we're now being extorted for, that we assertively pursued genuinely productive alternatives, as in the following, thorough and cogent, and realistic, presentation:
By Rowan Oloman -- Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is being hailed as the answer to one of the globe’s most pressing questions: what to do with the 27 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted yearly from the burning of fossil fuels? Touted as the most promising interim solution to deal with the greenhouse gas responsible for global warming, CCS still remains unproven, costly and will not be commercially available for another 10-20 years. Meanwhile scientists are exploring alternatives to CCS by capitalizing on CO2 as a commodity instead of treating it as waste.
Twenty seven billion tons of CO2 is already a hefty number, but energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to reach 43 billion metric tons per year by 2030, an increase of 60%. A new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that growing energy demands from emerging giants like China and India, coupled with a lack of cost-effective alternatives to fossil fuels, means that by 2050, 77% of the world’s power will still be derived from fossil fuels.
"We will require immediate policy action and a technological transition on an unprecedented scale,” IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said in Tokyo after releasing the report.
Carbon capture and storage, the process of capturing carbon dioxide and storing it in deep geological formations, in the ocean or as mineral carbonates, is being promoted by the IEA and others as the most promising technology to deal with fossil-fuel derived emissions. Not negating the role of alternative energies, the IEA is merely realistic about the enduring use of fossil fuels and the urgent need to deal with the resulting carbon dioxide.
On May 15, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced at the National Coal Council that $2.4 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be used to expand and accelerate the commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage technology, including financing to train a generation of engineers and geologists to work in the field.
Chu said, "To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we must accelerate our efforts to capture and store carbon in a safe and cost-effective way." Governments in Europe, Australia, Canada and China are also strongly investing in the technology.
Nevertheless, several massive hurdles still stand in the way of full-scale CCS deployment.
Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. figures that adding CCS to the next generation of European power plants could lift their price by up to US$1.3 billion each. Their thorough analysis shows that the typical cost of a demonstration project is likely to be in the range of US$80-$120 per tonne of CO2 sequestered.
Legally, there are concerns over whether CO2 transport and long-term storage present human or ecosystem related risks and who is ultimately responsible if a leak occurs. While progress is underway in some countries, no country has yet developed the comprehensive, detailed legal and regulatory framework that is necessary to effectively govern the use of CCS.
In fact, no full-scale CCS project that captures and sequesters carbon dioxide from a coal-fired power plant as of yet exists. The IEA is hopeful that 10 full-scale demonstration plants will be up and running globally by 2015 meaning it may be 10 to 20 years before CCS technology is readily available.
So why expensively transport and store the CO2 underground when it could be profitably recycled post-capture?
Researchers and start-up companies are now investigating a wide range of CO2 conversion methods.
“The market is open for innovation,” states Larry Kristof, CEO of Mantra Energy, a company gaining international recognition in the field of carbon recycling. “It is likely that governments will soon legally mandate carbon capture from industrial plants and there needs to be a cost-effective way to implement it,” says Kristof.
Mantra’s technology, named the electro-reduction of carbon dioxide (ERC), aims to take CO2 directly from industrial waste gases and convert it to formate salts and/or formic acid, both valuable chemicals used in a variety of industrial applications. Formic acid also has the potential to play a leading role in fuel cell development, both as a direct fuel and as a fuel storage material for on-demand release of hydrogen.
The ERC technology could provide a net revenue of up to US$700 per tonne of CO2 recycled, with an ROI previously forecast at 20% per year, depending on local costs.
Compared with CCS, the ERC provides a positive return on investment, not an unrecoverable cost. Plus a demonstration ERC unit could be installed at a client’s premises within a year and a commercial plant within 2 years, much faster than for CCS.
In a speech to the United States Senate Margie Tatro, Director of Fuel and Water Systems at Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. Department of Energy run research center formed to develop science-based technologies that support national security, advocates that carbon recycling is the way of the future.
“We must act now to stimulate this area of research and development. Other countries are exploring reuse and recycling of CO2 and it would be unfortunate if the U.S. became dependent on imported technology in this critical area,” says Tatro.
Carbon recycling options being developed globally vary considerably. The range includes the biochemical conversion of CO2 into algal biofuel, the thermochemical conversion into methanol and the biocatalytic or solar photocatalytic conversion of CO2 to fuels. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages and some are more believable than others.
At this stage, what sets Mantra and a handful of others apart is that it has a publicly disclosed patent application, backed up by several technical articles in reputable journals and has already established market interest for their products.
As fear of climate change grips the globe, businesses and governments are desperate to find an answer to our CO2 problem. Relying solely on CCS is an incredibly risky and in many places unworkably expensive solution. More imaginative thinking shows us that the 27 billion metric tons of CO2 per year may actually represent a business opportunity.
A budding industry, carbon recycling for profit offers an exciting and viable alternative to carbon capture and storage programs. Without a doubt, as a portfolio of solutions will have to be developed to address climate change, carbon recycling is destined to be at the forefront."
Think about it: We can, with some investment, recycle CO2. It can be a resource for us. Otherwise, we can sequester CO2, at a cost of "US$80-$120 per ton", and still pay exorbitant prices for overseas oil, and hobble our coal-use industries with unproductive costs.
We are compelled to repeat one passage: "Relying solely on CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage, with the enforced subsidy of petroleum industry it entails), is an incredibly risky and in many places unworkably expensive solution. More imaginative thinking shows us that the 27 billion metric tons of CO2 per year may actually represent a business opportunity."
When it comes to solutions for the possible problem of climate change, potentially contributed to by human-based CO2 emissions, let's leave the outdated thinking of Secretary Chu, et.al., behind, and use instead "imaginative", though practical, "thinking" and realize that Carbon Dioxide "may actually represent a business opportunity", that "carbon recycling for profit offers an exciting and viable alternative to carbon capture and storage", and, that, when it comes to addressing theoretical anthropomorphic "climate change, carbon recycling is destined to be at the forefront."
By The Associated Press
Lumps of coal in a Christmas stocking would normally make a child cry.But an eight-year-old Louisiana girl has had visions of coal dancing her in head. She will wake up this morning to find West Virginia coal under her tree — coal she actually requested from Santa Claus.Moss Bluff, La., resident Randy Perkins said his eight-year-old daughter Devan learned about the benefits of coal — like how it provides heat and electricity for so many people’s homes. Devan fell in love with coal so much that she asked for it for her Christmas present — telling Santa Claus to forget about the toys for which she had asked.
By Nigel Lawson
The world's political leaders, not least President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, are in a state of severe, almost clinical, denial. While acknowledging that the outcome of the United Nations climate-change conference in Copenhagen fell short of their demand for a legally binding, enforceable and verifiable global agreement on emissions reductions by developed and developing countries alike, they insist that what has been achieved is a breakthrough and a decisive step forward.
Just one more heave, just one more venue for the great climate-change traveling circus—Mexico City next year—and the job will be done.
Or so we are told. It is, of course, the purest nonsense. The only breakthrough was the political coup for China and India in concluding the anodyne communiqué with the United States behind closed doors, with Brazil and South Africa allowed in the room and Europe left to languish in the cold outside.
December 22, 2009
By Thomas Sowell
Science is one of the great achievements of the human mind and the biggest reason why we live not only longer but more vigorously in our old age, in addition to all the ways in which it provides us with things that make life easier and more enjoyable.
Like anything valuable, science has been seized upon by politicians and ideologues, and used to forward their own agendas. This started long ago, as far back as the 18th century, when the Marquis de Condorcet coined the term "social science" to describe various theories he favored. In the 19th century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels distinguished their own brand of socialism as "scientific socialism." By the 20th century, all sorts of notions wrapped themselves in the mantle of "science."
ACTION ALERT! Radicals try to silence Ladies Auxiliary’s “Coal in the Classroom” Series Please contact the Beckley Register-Herald and show your support for coal (Read the story below) or go to this link: http://www.register-herald.com/archivesearch/local_story_349224151.html We urge you to contact the Beckley Register-Herald and register your support for the use of the Ladies’ Auxiliary “Coal in the Classroom” curriculum. Let them know our children deserve a balanced perspective of our state’s primary industry.
By George Hohmann
The Charleston Daily Mail Business Editor
ROANOKE - The senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association said that if energy independence and national security are at the apex of the nation's energy agenda, "we think positive things will follow.
"But when you start with items such as cap-and-trade legislation, expanding the energy portfolio to unrealistic quantities and focusing on climate change, all that follows will be negative and restrictive for coal and your basic industries."
Charleston Gazette - Op/Ed by Roger Nicholson - November 30, 2009
The Gazette's coverage of the meeting between Gov. Manchin and other governmental leaders and some coal industry officials on Nov. 10 was noteworthy in a couple of respects.
First, anti-mining activist Judy Bonds candidly revealed the true extreme agenda of groups like the Sierra Club and the Coal River Mountain Watch. Bonds expressly stated the desire for a complete federal takeover of our state government, when she said, "the federal government needs to come in and take over the state of West Virginia, all the way from the governor to the dog catcher."
It is rare indeed when anti-mining advocates reveal their true aims, and Bonds' candid comment is quite telling. Unfortunately, most of the pronouncements from anti-mining groups twist the facts and weave tales designed to lure high-profile liberal foundations and Hollywood stars to join their single-minded pursuit.
Oft-repeated myths propounded by these groups include:
· Claims that neither they nor the Obama EPA seek to ban underground mining. In truth, the EPA has targeted 79 permits for "enhanced review" and potential veto, including deep-mining related permits. Moreover, environmental activists are stridently contesting a deep-mining permit in Northern West Virginia that would create 300 new jobs.
· Claims that wind projects can effectively replace coal mining jobs. To the contrary, each surface mining operation will typically employ more than 100 people for several years at wages exceeding $60,000 annually with excellent benefit packages. Wind projects involve short-term construction work followed by a handful of maintenance workers.
· Claims that coal currently being surface-mined can be mined by underground methods instead. One need only read Gene Kitts' excellent post, "Why We Surface Mine" on the Coal Tattoo blog (link online: http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2009/07/23/special-guest-blog-exclusive-why-surface-mine/ ), to understand the economic foundation for surface mining.
The other interesting point from the Gazette's coverage was Congressman Nick Rahall's continued insistence that Obama's EPA is just "doing its job." EPA's actions (and inaction) belie Rep. Rahall's stubbornly held view.
Consider the following:
· In the spring of 2009, the EPA publicly stated that there was no moratorium on the issuance of Section 404 permits generally necessary for both surface- and deep-mining operations. Since that announcement, a grand total of two individual permits have been issued by the Army Corps of Engineers in West Virginia. The EPA may not call this a moratorium, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... well, you know the rest.
· In June 2009, EPA announced the framework for a new "enhanced review" of existing permit applications and promised timely review. Since then, as of Nov. 9, enhanced review has begun on only five of the 79 permits.
At that rate, it will take years for affected coal producers to receive feedback on their permits.
· EPA is attempting to revoke a long-issued Arch Coal permit for an active surface-mining operation. That permit underwent a multi-year environmental impact study, which EPA then accepted, but the government now seeks to renege on its prior approval.
· EPA's "job" appears to be implementing the goals of the Pelosi and Reid wing of the Democratic Party to end mining and consumption of coal.
Any business, particularly a capital-intensive one, needs to know the rules and have the assurance that those rules won't change day-to-day. Ken Ward says there's no permitting crisis; he's wrong. Just because the large publicly traded companies have been able to adjust their business plans to avoid major disruptions doesn't mean a crisis does not exist. Ask the smaller independent operators, who typically have no choice but to shut down when their next permit is blocked, if there's a crisis in the coalfields.
If a bridge is out, you don't drive full-speed in the hope that the bridge will be there when you arrive. The bridge is out. Those of us who rely on the coal industry for our livelihoods, our electricity and our quality of life should demand that our government agencies and our elected officials heed our concerns.
(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Thompson, and Delegate Armstead
[By Request of the Executive]
[Introduced November 19, 2009]
Expressing the will of the House of Delegates to continue its support of the West Virginia coal industry and requesting that West Virginia's congressional delegation resist and oppose efforts to undermine the future of West Virginia coal.
Whereas, The coal industry provides salaries and benefits to thousands of West Virginians; and Whereas, The coal industry is responsible for millions of dollars of tax revenues that are used to fund important government services and programs; and Whereas, The coal industry is vitally important to the economic welfare of this State and its citizens; and Whereas, The Legislature, with the leadership and support of the Governor, has worked to enact legislation to ensure the future of West Virginia coal, including the adoption of sweeping coal mine safety reforms, planning requirements for post-mining land use, an alternative and renewable energy portfolio featuring clean coal technology, and a regulatory framework for carbon capture and sequestration projects; and Whereas, Recent events at the federal level, most notably the debate over "cap and trade" legislation in Congress and obscure regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection Agency, are casting a shadow of doubt and uncertainty over the future of the coal industry in West Virginia; and Whereas, For the sake of those individuals who depend upon coal to support themselves and their families, the House of Delegates, the Senate, the Governor and West Virginia's congressional delegation must work together to secure the future of the coal industry, and with it the future of the State; therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Delegates: That the West Virginia House of Delegates will continue to support the West Virginia coal industry by encouraging measures that protect miners and their families, provide incentives for the development of advanced coal technologies, enhance the energy independence of the State and the nation, protect the environment from which coal is mined, and supply consumers with cleaner and more affordable energy produced from coal; and, be it Further Resolved, That the West Virginia House of Delegates requests that West Virginia's congressional delegation resist and oppose efforts at the federal level to undermine the future of West Virginia's coal industry; and, be it Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this resolution to United States Senators Robert C. Byrd and John D. Rockefeller IV and Representatives Nick J. Rahall, Alan B. Mollohan and Shelley M. Capito.
(By Senators Tomblin (Mr. President), Bowman, Browning, Chafin, Edgell, D. Facemire, Fanning, Foster, Green, Helmick, Jenkins, Kessler, Laird, McCabe, Minard, Oliverio, Palumbo, Plymale, Prezioso, Snyder, Stollings, Unger, Wells, White, Williams, Yost, Barnes, Boley, Caruth, Deem, K. Facemyer, Guills, Hall and Sypolt)
Expressing the will of the Senate to continue its support of the West Virginia coal industry and requesting that West Virginia's congressional delegation resist and oppose efforts to undermine the future of West Virginia coal.
Whereas, The coal industry provides salaries and benefits to thousands of West Virginians; and Whereas, The coal industry is responsible for millions of dollars of tax revenues that are used to fund important government services and programs; and Whereas, The coal industry is vitally important to the economic welfare of this state and its citizens; and Whereas, The Legislature, with the leadership and support of the Governor, has worked to enact legislation to ensure the future of West Virginia coal, including the adoption of sweeping coal mine safety reforms, planning requirements for post-mining land use, an alternative and renewable energy portfolio featuring advanced coal technology and a regulatory framework for carbon capture and sequestration projects; and Whereas, Recent events at the federal level, most notably the debate over "cap and trade" legislation in Congress and obscure regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection Agency, are casting a shadow of doubt and uncertainty over the future of the coal industry in West Virginia; and Whereas, For the sake of those individuals who depend upon coal to support themselves and their families, the House of Delegates, the Senate, the Governor and West Virginia's congressional delegation must work together to secure the future of the coal industry and with it the future of the state; therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate: That the Senate hereby expresses its will to continue its support of the West Virginia coal industry and requests that West Virginia's congressional delegation resist and oppose efforts to undermine the future of West Virginia coal; and, be it Further Resolved, That the Senate will continue to support the West Virginia coal industry by encouraging measures that protect miners and their families, provide incentives for the development of advanced coal technologies, enhance the energy independence of the state and the nation, protect the environment from which coal is mined and supply consumers with cleaner and more affordable energy produced from coal; and, be it Further Resolved, That the Senate requests that West Virginia's congressional delegation resist and oppose efforts at the federal level to undermine the future of West Virginia's coal industry; and, be it Further Resolved, That the Clerk is hereby directed to forward a copy of this resolution to United States Senators Robert C. Byrd and John D. Rockefeller IV and Representatives Nick J. Rahall, Alan B. Mollohan and Shelley M. Capito.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A group of music figures has begun a campaign against mountaintop coal removal.
The campaign, Music Saves Mountains, is sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Gibson Foundation. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a senior attorney with the council, addressed those attending a meeting Monday night.
Those at the gathering included Emmylou Harris, Randy Travis, Big Kenny Alphin, Dierks Bentley, Delbert McClinton, Kid Rock and J.D. Souther.
Harris said protection is needed for the Appalachian mountains, where country music was born and is celebrated in song.
More than 600 state policy makers and guests from around the country will be attending CSG’s annual meeting Thursday through Saturday. Manchin is the organizations 2009 president.
The session, “Securing the South’s Energy Future”, will also feature Kentucky State Rep. Rocky Adkins; Kenneth J. Nemeth, secretary and executive director of the Southern States Energy Board; Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association and Rodney Andrews, director of the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research.
The focus of the session will be the future role fossil fuels and renewable energy sources will play in southern states. Other topics will include cellulosic ethanol production, lithium-ion batteries and coal-to-liquid technology.
The panel discussion will be one of more than 30 policy-related workshops and panels that will be held during the three-day CSG meeting on topics ranging from health care reform to education. For more information on this sessions and the others visit www.csg.org.
The Council of State Governments is our nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships.
In the wake of a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to subject 79 coal mining permit applications – twenty-three of which are in West Virginia – to further review, Speaker of the House Rick Thompson called on the EPA to speed up its permitting process and to work with coal operators to help them to comply with the Clean Water Act.
“It’s my understanding,” Thompson said, “that at least one of these permits has been under review for 10 years and will now be subject to even further study to determine if the project can go forward. I know that the EPA has an important job to do – but there’s an old and respected principal of law that states ‘justice delayed is justice denied.’ These coal companies – and the thousands of employees who work for them – deserve a process that is measured in days rather than decades and standards that all sides can follow and understand.”
Speaker Thompson praised Governor Joe Manchin’s leadership on this issues saying, “I support Governor Manchin’s efforts to get this process moving and to obtain clear-cut direction from the EPA. That is the right and fair thing to do.”
“The uncertainty and ambiguity that these companies are forced to contend with through the regulatory process are difficult in the best of times – but are simply unjustifiable and untenable in the midst of the worst economic recession we’ve experienced since the great depression” added Thompson. “We’re not saying that there should be no standards – we’re saying that the standards should be clear, unambiguous and attainable,” said Thompson.
“We all want, deserve and expect clean drinking water and a clean environment” said Speaker Thompson, “but we also want, deserve and expect the light, warmth and power provided by West Virginia coal. Energy and electricity are not luxuries – they’re a necessity. West Virginia coal companies and their hard working employees deserve a permitting process that operates more swiftly and less capriciously.”
The following guest editorial by Hal Quinn is scheduled to appear in the Oct. 27th edition of USA TODAY in response to the paper's editorial on mountaintop mining. - L. Popovich
Seeing the Full Picture of Mountaintop Mining
Hal Quinn, president and CEO, National Mining Association
There are several ways to see mountaintop mining in Appalachia, but critics see only one - it's the picture of big shovels extracting coal in rugged terrain. What they don't see are the 80,000-plus jobs in a half dozen states throughout Appalachia that are tied to surface coal mining.
West Virginia's economy depends on coal
I join in support of thousands of West Virginia residents requesting the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Obama Administration to approve the pending mine permits that have been put on hold. West Virginia's economy depends on coal. During this national recession, West Virginia needs to be producing coal in order to keep families working.
Facility prime example of using former surface mine lands for economic developmentBy Chris HamiltonChairman, Coalition for Mountaintop MiningVARNEY, W.Va. – The dedication of the Mingo County Air Transportation Park in southern West Virginia this past week is a prime example of the value of our surface mine lands in the effort to build and diversify the economy of the Appalachian coalfields.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
PATH is a joint venture between Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power (AEP) to build a new, high voltage, interstate transmission line that will go through West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.
By Gene Kitts, Senior Vice President-Mining Services, International Coal Group, Inc. Why do we surface mine in Central Appalachia? It’s certainly not because we like the public attention and we really don’t enjoy the struggles with regulatory agencies, the years of permitting delays and the seemingly endless litigation. The fundamental answer is that coal is surface mined because that is the method necessary to recover the resource. Starting with the basics Why do we surface mine a coal seam or group of seams instead of deep mining that reserve? The answer is generally determined by geology and topography. However, in many cases the coal reserve has been previously deep-mined and surface mining recovers what was left. Surface mining through abandoned deep mines, recovering the blocks of coal that were left decades ago, is relatively common. Contour mining along the outer boundary of old deep mines has been a widespread practice for years. The advent of the highwall miner, which is a more productive successor to a coal auger, has encouraged this trend. Back to geology and topography – how do these factors determine whether a seam is surface mined or deep mined?
The company sent a letter to four Tennessee Chamber of Commerce offices, saying, “if you want our industry’s business, we suggest you let your representatives know that the industry they are trying to destroy is a major source of your tourism money.” Letter (pdf)
Coal-Mac Human Resources Manager Richie Phillips sent the letter.
"We’re not bullies," he said. "The only thing that we want to do is work and make a living and support our families."
The letter also said that Lone Mountain Processing and Cumberland River Resources, two other out-of-state subsidiary companies, have cancelled their annual company picnics to Dollywood this year.
Coal-Mac says this boycott will cost the region more than 2,340 visitors.
COAL-MAC, INC.PO Box 1050Holden, WV 25625304-792-8433July 6, 2009VIA EmailBrenda McCroskey, Chief Executive Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org)Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce (email@example.com)Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce, Vicki Simms, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Deborah K. Woolley, President (email@example.com)
RE: Tennessee Tourism from Kentukcy, West Virgina, and VirginiaOn June 25, 2009, several of our employees attended a Senate subcommittee hearing on “The Impacts of Mountaintop Coal Mining on Water Quality in Appalachia”, a bill introduced by Senator Cardin and Senator Alexander from Tennessee. Paul Sloan, Deputy Commissioner from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation was one of the panel witnesses promoting the end of our industry.I want you to know that approximately 80% of our 300 employees usually travel monthly to your state for entertainment, shopping, and recreation. We have informed our employees of your representative’s position on this issue and asked them to travel within our states for their entertainment, shopping and recreation. Our two sister companies in Virginia and Kentucky have canceled their annual company picnics at Dollywood this year (780 employees and approximately 2,340 family members). We have also emailed other industry groups in our three states notifying them about the position your representatives have taken against our industry.If you want our industry’s business, we suggest you let your representatives know that the industry they are trying to destroy is a major source of your tourism money.Richard K. PhillipsHuman Resources ManagerRKP/gbr
Raney spoke with third graders as part of a Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary project called Coal in the Classroom. St. Francis was the first school to adopt the curriculum but it’s expected to expand to the public school system this fall.
The fifth and final Coal in the Classroom session wrapped up on Wednesday.
Now, Morgan Hylton says she has a better understanding of what her dad does for a living.
“My dad is an above ground miner,” Hylton said. “Learn they burn coal to make electricity if we didn’t have it we wouldn’t be able to have a lot of stuff.”
Gage Blankenship says he also learned something about his family. He says his dad, uncle and grandfather work for the coal industry.
“It’s fun to learn about what they do,” Blankenship said.
For the past five weeks, the children have heard 1-hour presentations on the geographical location of coal in the US, surface mining, underground mining, and electricity.
Yesterday, West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney talked about the jobs coal provides to state residents.
“They had an intense interest in everything that was going on,” Raney said.
“They were remarkably knowledgable about all aspects of the coal industry and how really important it is to their everyday life and how important electricity is.”
In the hallway after he finished speaking with the kids, Raney criticized the environmental activists and their efforts to stop mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. Last weekend 17 protesters were arrested at three mining stes across Southern West Virginia.
“I don’t understand why any human being wants to try to take the job of another human being particularly in today’s economy,” he said.
In light of the protests, he says the classroom program is vital.
“It’s critical they learn about the environment, it’s critical they learn about the industry they learn about the professionalism that the industry operates under,” he said.
The program is scheduled to start at Stratton Elementary in Beckley this fall, but Regina Fairchild, chairwoman of Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary, says several schools in the region have requested the program.
“Obviously our goal, even with the auxiliary, is not to just stay in Raleigh County,” she said. “We want to increase it to every county throughout West Virginia.
However, to make that happen, Fairchild says the project needs more volunteers and more ladies auxiliary chapters.
She’s also looking for help with upcoming projects such as Mr. Coal …
“We are passionate about our Mr. Coal which is a stuffed dog, it’s like a lab,” she said. “It’s a real soft plush little animal that we are giving to all pre-schools, nurseries, the elderly.”
“We want to let the community and the area know that the people of coal care.
Other projects include the giving hearts program which offers food and help to the needy as well as a coal closet. The closet is a place where members can donate furniture and clothes to the less fortunate.
There is also a proposed Friends of Coal vanity license plate. Fairchild says the Raleigh County Vocational Center created the design for a vanity plate in order to raise money for the state
She says that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The ladies are also organizing the Junior Friends of Coal as well. The first meeting is tonight at Mabscott Elementary.
Also, the ladies will help to wrap up the Coal in the Classroom program with a field trip to the exhibition coal mine in Beckley. They also plan to visit Terex, a company in Beckley that manufactures high-wall miners.
Assistant Superintendent of Raleigh County Schools Janet Lilly was scheduled to speak with Raney yesterday but was a no-show. Lilly did not immediately return our calls for comment.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee on the evening of May 21 passed the biggest piece of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats' agenda to put the federal government in charge of the American economy. On a 33 to 25 vote, the Committee approved the "American Clean Energy and Security Act," H. R. 2454. The 946-page energy-rationing bill is better known as Waxman-Markey, named after its two chief sponsors, Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment.Thirty-two Democrats were joined by one Republican, Mary Bono Mack of California, in voting for Waxman-Markey, while four moderate Democrats joined twenty-one Republicans against. One Republican missed the vote. If enacted, H. R. 2454 would be the biggest government takeover of the economy since the Second World War, which is the last time energy, food, and other basic commodities were rationed. It would also be the biggest tax increase in the history of the world and would cause a colossal transfer of wealth from consumers to big businesses.
Pictured from left to right: Ray Scites, TVMI Treasurer; John Vance, Man High School; Chelsea Phillips, Tug Valley High School; Erica Hatfield, Williamson High School; John Price, Burch High School; Issac Picklesimer, Williamson High School; Dakota Farley, Belfry High School; John Goroncy, TVMI President; and Lt. Gen. Robert H. Foglesong.At the May 21, 2009, Tug Valley Mining Institute (TVMI) dinner meeting, the six 2009 scholarship recipients were named. The two top $6,000 scholarship awards went to Dakota Farley from Belfry High School and Issac Picklesimer from Williamson High School. Four $750 scholarship awards went to John Vance, Man High School; Chelsea Phillips, Tug Valley High School; John Price, Burch High School; and Erica Hatfield, Williamson High School.The guest speaker was Lt. Gen. Robert H. Foglesong, and he provided an inspirational speech directed toward the scholars regarding the educational journey they are starting. He encouraged the scholars to invest in themselves now with education so that they could be the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow. Hi-Tech Construction sponsored the meeting and has been a long time supporter of the scholarship program.Over the last fourteen years, TVMI has awarded 84 (eighty-four) students $160,000 in scholarship monies. The TVMI scholarship is open to students from Mingo, Logan, Pike, and Martin counties. The applications are available in November of each year and may be obtained from Marsha Williams at the First National Bank of Williamson or from the TVMI website (www.tugvalleymi.org).
The description below was provided Thursday evening by the National Mining Association (NMA) relative to the action taken on Thursday (Day 4) on the "climate change" bill by Congressman Waxman's House Energy and Commerce Committee. During the four days of consideration, it appears that most amendments failed along party lines. Also note that this bill has several other committee references before it gets to the floor for a full House vote.
Entities that are considered large quantity water users in the state are required to register and file certifications of their water use with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection by June 16. A large quantity user is any entity or individual who withdraws more than 750,000 gallons from state waters in any calendar month.
A survey conducted in 2004 and 2005 identified and registered the state's large quantity users. Those entities were mailed water use certification forms that are mandatory under the Water Resources Protection and Management Act.
Large quantity water users that have not registered must complete a registration form, which can be found on the internet at www.wvdep.org by clicking on the Water Use button at the top of the page. Instructions for completing the form, as well as other information is on the page, or may be obtained by calling Wilma McKown at (304) 926-0499, extension 1280.
At the May 21, 2009, Tug Valley Mining Institute (TVMI) dinner meeting, the six 2009 scholarship recipients were named. The two top $6,000 scholarship awards went to Dakota Farley from Belfry High School and Issac Picklesimer from Williamson High School. Four $750 scholarship awards went to John Vance, Man High School; Chelsea Phillips, Tug Valley High School; John Brice, Burch High School; and, Erica Hatfield, Williamson High School. Congratulations to each.
Lt. General Robert H. Foglesong provided an inspirational speech directed toward the scholars regarding the educational journey they are starting and encouraged the scholars to invest in themselves now with education so they could be the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow. Hi-Tech Construction sponsored the meeting and has been a long time supporter of the scholarship program.
`West Virginia Pro Angler and Friends of Coal spokesperson Jeremy Starks, as well as a representative from America Electric Power, spoke to third-graders at St. Francis De Sales Catholic School in Beckley this past Wednesday morning on the importance of coal and electricity. Thanks go out to the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary for facilitating the opportunity, and by all accounts, the kids really enjoyed the presentations as well as climbing aboard Jeremy's boat!
The sixth Annual Friends of Coal Auto Fair at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley is set for July 17-19. This unique event allows our industry to promote coal mining and clean coal technology to the general public in a positive manner and would not be possible with the contributions of the member companies.
The rush to save the American economy through the creation of so-called “green jobs” has started to spur research into whether the silver (or shall we say ‘green’) bullet really exists according to its promoters. Recently, long-time Member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Kit Bond (R-MO), issued a report detailing aspects of green jobs creation that are getting increasing scrutiny: 1) Inescapable and expensive taxpayer subsidy requirements; 2) Documented low wages, and 3) Tradeoffs in the form of lost jobs to pay for creating green jobs. Click here to see the report. The Bond report is sobering to say the least. Two high profile environmental group programs, the New Apollo Program, promoted by the Apollo Alliance, and the Green Recovery Program, by the Center for American Progress, would, at a cost of $500 billion and $100 billion respectively, create 5 million and 2 million jobs. That works out to a program (read taxpayer) cost of $100,000 and $50,000 per job, respectively. But what kind of jobs do Americans get with highly subsidized “green jobs?” Some of the richest incentives documented resulted in lower wage jobs than the green marketing campaigns would suggest. For instance, the Bond report outlines three troubling examples:
RESOLUTION No. 200942RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT WEST VIRGINIA'S COAL INDUSTRYWHEREAS, the Putnam County Development Authority strives to continually improve the economic climate in Putnam County, West Virginia; andWHEREAS, recent news articles and electronic news coverage give the impression of, at best. lukewarm support of the coal industry by the Obama Administration; and
WHEREAS, recent appointments to positions at the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the agency's decision to review all mountaintop coal mining permits; andWHEREAS, the Administration's continued support of wind and solar alternatives make little or no mention of clean coal technologies; andWHEREAS, the absence of federal support for the coal industry could have catastrophic consequences for the West Virginia economy and the thousands of West Virginia families and businesses that me dependent on their viability.NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Putnam County Development Authority as the agency charged with the responsibility for economic improvement of Putnam County and its citizens request your support ofthe coal industry and its place as a long term partner in both the current Congress and the Administration's solution to energy independence.BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT a copy of this resolution be provided to members of West Virginia's Congressional Delegation, to Governor Manchin and to West Virginia Senate and Delegates upon approval.The foregoing Resolution was duly passed and adopted by the Board of Directors of the Putnam County Development Authority, Inc., at its regular meeting on the 28th day of April, 2009.
The EPA’s decision to reject two permits for mountaintop mining for sites in Boone County and Pike County, Ky. has caused local governing officials to take a stance.All three Mingo County Commissioners sent letters to Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller (D-WV), Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) and Congressman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) expressing concern about the current status of mountaintop removal as well as the intense scrutiny the Environmental Protection Agency has admitted using for such operations.In March the EPA placed hundreds of mountaintop mining operations on notice, saying it “needs to review their impact on local streams and wetlands before they can move forward.”County commission president John Mark Hubbard, Vice-president Greg “Hootie” Smith and Commissioner David Baisden told the senators and congressman the MCC is in full support of mountaintop removal explaining it is “crucial not only to southern West Virginia, but the United States as a whole.”
International Coal Group Eastern joined the Department of Environmental Protection and several other organizations on Thursday to give back to the Earth.
View Video and Read the full story here.
Global Warming Overreach
The Wall Street Journal - Editorial - April 24, 2009
Congressman Henry Waxman played to the crowds this week with high-profile hearings designed to boost his climate legislation. To listen to the Energy and Commerce committee chair, a House global warming bill is all but in the recyclable bag.
To listen to Congressman Jim Matheson is something else. During opening statements, the Utah Democrat detailed 14 big problems he had with the bill, and told me later that if he hadn't been limited to five minutes, "I might have had more." Mr. Matheson is one of about 10 moderate committee Democrats who are less than thrilled with the Waxman climate extravaganza, and who may yet stymie one of Barack Obama's signature issues. If so, the president can thank Democratic liberals, who are engaging in one of their first big cases of overreach.
“Now is the time for our people to unite and contact our congressional delegation in Washington for support of West Virginia’s most vital industry,” Chafin said, advancing his 13-point argument regarding the coal crisis threatening the state’s livelihood.
They invited some Webster County students to their Birch River Mining site to learn more about Arbor Day 2009.
Consulting Biologist Ben Faulkner waded into the Birch River with a net to make a point that the river is clean and the bugs living in it are healthy.
To the Editor:
On a statewide basis, surface mining and mountaintop mining methods account for over 40 percent of our state’s total tonnage produced on an annual basis. In several regions, it represents over 75 percent of all mining and thus all mining revenues. Surface mining and mountaintop mining are extremely important to our energy portfolio and our state’s financial stability.
You criticize the initial impacts of the extractive phase, that is, blasting or other earth-moving activity. But you do not mention the restoration phase of mining, nor the development that follows the extractive process.
Most of the mine sites are returned to a higher and better use, or at a minimum to their original approximate contour. Many of the sites are reforested with wildlife habitat incorporated into the final plan, and a number of the former mine sites have been reconfigured by the mining company to accommodate residential, industrial or recreational use.
Our mine managers and miners devote great attention to environmental stewardship. They not only work the land, they also hunt and enjoy the land.
It's a nomadic way to make a living, but for bass fishing pro Jeremy Starks it's a dream come true. The native of Cedar Grove, West Virginia prepares to embark on his third full season of fishing professionally on the ESPN/BASS Elite series. A year ago, Starks achieved a level that few who try the cast for cash way of life ever achieved when he won the "Southern Challenge" on Lake Wheeler in Alabama. It was the highlight of a breakout year for the young angler who says after a brief recharge of the batteries he's chomping at the bit to get back on the water.
Starks says experience has taught him the longer you distance yourself from the rod and reel, the rustier you become.
"I've really struggled the last few years at the beginning of the year and finally come into a groove about the middle of the year. I think a lot of that has to do with taking time off and this year I've really tried not to do that," Starks said.
Starks will have his work cut out for him in 2009. He's planning to fish 13 bass events that will take him to all corners of the country. It begins the weekend of March 12-15 on LakeAmistad near Del Rio, Texas.
"Amistad is unique in that you're looking for giants. You're not just fishing for three to four pounders, you're fishing for eight to ten pounders and that's really a different ballgame," Starks said.
On Tuesday, Walker Machinery hosted a first class, well attended “send off” for Friends of Coal professional bass fisherman Jeremy Starks that featured Steve Walker, Coach Bob Pruett, Governor Manchin and Bill Raney. They were joined by many of Jeremy's other sponsors, such as Pocahontas Land Corporation, Sport Mart, Petroleum Products and Tyler-Morgan Coal Company to witness the introduction of Jeremy’s new boat, trailer and truck. It features the “Clean Coal” message as Jeremy begins the ESPN Bassmaster’s Elite Series Tournament circuit.
The award has been named after a man whose contributions to the advancement of mining safety and innovation are known industry-wide; and, whose character symbolized the ingenuity, tenacity and leadership required to continually improve in our pursuit of the safest workplace possible for our employees and ourselves.
“It is an honor to pay tribute to Eustace Frederick with this award,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “It is an honor for our industry to carry his legacy forward in this manner – the highest award we have to offer for safety. By naming this award after him, the bar is set very high for attaining this distinction.”
You can download the 2009 Coal Symposium Presentations here.
You can download hi-resolution versions here.
The 36th Annual West Virginia Mining Symposium is now complete and has been described as the “most successful” one ever. The new venue of the Charleston Civic Center gave us much more room and seemed to be enjoyed by all in attendance. A huge thanks goes to the members who stepped up as some of the many sponsors who made it so successful and dynamic.
Welcome to all and we look forward to working with you.
The session will be in seminar style with lecture, discussion and case studies. The WV PE & PS Boards do not pre-certify seminars but have accepted these PDH’s in the past. The KY surveyors’ board has approved the course for 8 PDH credits each day.
For additional information contact Ellen at Alpha Engineering (304) 255-4131 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The President of the West Virginia Coal Association says he's hoping those who attend the Coal Symposium at the Charleston Civic Center start viewing coal from a national perspective, not just in terms of the state’s economy.
"It's so vital not only to West Virginia, but to this entire country," Bill Raney says.
Earlier today the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision reversing two earlier rulings from District Court Judge Robert Chambers regarding coal mine permitting by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act. The Fourth Circuit reversed the March 2007 decision from the District Court concerning the adequacy of mine specific mitigation practices and the appropriate scope of the Corps’ review under the CWA and the National Environmental Policy Act. The appeals court also reversed the second opinion from Chambers that was issued in June of 2007 concerning the proper regulatory treatment of mining-related sediment ponds under the CWA. The 2-1 decision of the Fourth Circuit is a strong opinion, providing a great deal of deference to the Corps’ interpretation and implementation of its mining permit review and mitigation processes. The Association will be reviewing the decision in the coming weeks in order to properly assess its implications for other challenged section 404 permits and the overall permitting program in Huntington.
Download PDF of Circuit Court Decision
Also on Tuesday, 2/9, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Weight and Safety Enforcement Advisory Council will meet to receive public input on proposed legislation and rules governing operation on the CRTS—the Coal Resource Transportation System. That meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the Public Service Commission’s offices in Charleston .
On Tuesday, February 10th, “Buck” Harless will receive the HOPE Award from the WV Chapter of the National MS Society at a dinner at the Charleston Civic Center .
The Kanawha Valley Mining Institute will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, February 5 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in South Charleston . Montgomery Equipment will sponsor the meeting with Anthony Salm & Mike Burnham of First National Capital Corp. as the speakers. The Annual Awards of KVMI Charles Bowling Scholarships will also be awarded.
For additional information go to: http://www.kvmi.org/user/2009-2-5_Meeting_notice.pdf
You can also register on line at: http://www.kvmi.org/contact.html
The webcast supplements and supports the Penn State training program “Do You Understand Mine Emergencies? Are You Prepared For A Mine Emergency?” The full program is available via download from a link on the webcast site or on a CD available from Mine Safety & Health Administration.
Jeff Wood, energy development specialist for the WV Division of Energy, is a new employee of the Office of Coalfield Community Development. His principle focus will be to ensure that the office is meeting its legislative mandate and to help local and state development groups assess opportunities in the reuse of surface-mined lands. He will be assisted in this effort by the WV Geological and Economic Survey, the WV DEP and the Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center (MATRIC). Wood was instrumental in the creation of MATRIC which working as a vice president of the Business & Industrial Corporation (BIDCO) in Charleston .
Column by Nate Waters
January 29, 2009
Mining receives a great deal of negative publicity due to concerns over the impacts on the environment and worker health and safety. However, mining provides us with minerals that are essential to our everyday activities. Many materials that are used in our lives originate from plants or are naturally occurring minerals found in the earth. Agriculture provides cotton, food, lumber and many more necessities. However, agriculture cannot meet all our needs. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 10 tons of minerals must be mined annually for every person. Minerals are a vital component in nearly every activity we do. Turning on a light switch, walking on sidewalks, brushing our teeth, the change in our pocket, and using cosmetics, computers, fertilizers and many others involve using minerals that have been mined.
Talc, a mineral mined in the U.S., is used in baby powder, cosmetics, rubber, ceramics, paint and paper, just to name a few everyday items. Gold can be found in many areas in the U.S., but is primarily mined in Nevada. Gold has many uses, including jewelry, computers, glass production, and even in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Copper is also used in our daily activities. Millions of miles of copper wire are used to transfer electricity to our technology-driven lives. Copper is mined in the Western U.S., where one of the largest copper mines in the world can be found: Bingham Canyon Mine near Salt Lake City, Utah.
The United States is home to huge deposits of coal. It is second only to China in terms of total coal consumption. In 2007, the U.S. used about 1.1 billion tons of coal. According to an authority on energy, Robert Bryce, “That’s the energy equivalent of about 4.2 billion barrels of oil per year or about 11.5 million barrels of oil per day.” By way of comparison, “America’s daily coal ration contains more energy than Saudi Arabia’s daily oil production.” That’s a lot of energy.
CHARLESTON, W.Va.--As President Barack Obama's stimulus plan gains traction in Congress, Sen. Jay Rockefeller wants to ensure it benefits West Virginia by including investments in clean coal technology.
Rockefeller, D-W.Va., pressed for a greater investment in clean coal during the Senate Finance Committee's confirmation hearing this week for new U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
The senator has even been pitching his ideas for carbon capture and sequestration to Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, according to Rockefeller's office.
"The United States has more than a 250-year supply of coal, and a lot of it is mined by hard-working people in West Virginia," Rockefeller said. "As a coal state senator, I believe that there can be no serious discussions about our energy future or climate change unless we're willing to make immediate, significant and sustained investments in carbon capture and sequestration.
It was reported on Wednesday that Richard Stickler had departed his post as Administrator of the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) on Friday (1/16). Stickler, a West Virginia native, was appointed in October 2006. A spokeswoman announced that longtime MSHA official Michael Davis would run the agency until a successor is named.
Environmental radicals have launched a new campaign against use of coal - any use of it - to meet the nation's energy requirements.
It is ironic that the campaign is being mounted via television. Without electricity from coal-fired power plants, about half of the people in America would not be able to watch an advertisement produced as part of the campaign.Clean-coal technology is the environmentalists' target. Their television spot takes a sarcastic view. It features an announcer who says: "Clean coal. Heard a lot about it, so let's take a tour of this state-of-the-art clean coal facility." He then ushers viewers into an empty lot. The message, according to the announcer, is that "there's no such thing as clean coal."Radicals in charge of the campaign don't want the United States to use more coal. They don't like nuclear energy, either. They prefer "green" technologies such as wind and solar power.
KFOR TV News ( Oklahoma ) - January 13, 2009
Coal is likely to be a big winner in the new Obama administration.
Over the next two years or so, look for Congress to provide several billion dollars for investments in research and development to commercialize processes that transform coal into motor fuels for autos, trucks and jets.
Coal plays a vital role in our energy economy today, and will continue to be important for decades.
America’s mines produce about a billion tons every year. That’s equivalent to a block a half-mile on a side and a half-mile high.
Ninety percent is used for electricity generation. The coke industry and export sales account for most of the remainder.
Responding to MSHA’s request for comments on their draft Program Policy Letter on mine communications and tracking requirements, WVCA has urged MSHA to accept the state’s plan that is currently nearing full implementation.
BLUEFIELD — Despite the national and global economic forces that are having a huge impact on the nation, some coal industry experts who have followed coal’s fortunes through several boom and bust cycles, feel that well-managed coal companies will weather the economic storms on the near and long-term horizons.“The challenges ahead are pretty vivid, and it will be difficult to sustain the level of 150 million tons of coal production next year, but it’s important that we focus our research on coal extraction as well as coal use in the near-term,” Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association said.
Spending billions on trying to reduce carbon emissions is one giant con that is depriving third world countries of vital funds to tackle famine, HIV and other diseases, Sammy Wilson said.
The DUP minister has been heavily criticised by environmentalists for claiming that ongoing climatic shifts are down to nature and not mankind.
But while acknowledging his views on global warming may not be popular, the East Antrim MP said he was not prepared to be bullied by eco fundamentalists.
When you are cold you want heat; that's true all over the world. If nothing else is available, wood fires do the trick. Have you not seen a movie where one of the first things done in cold weather is to build a fire, usually with wood? It's impossible to know how much "damage" to the environment and how much global warming was caused by wood fires burned since man learned how to make fire. Natural fires also cause huge amounts of damage to the planet and can be assumed to be a major source of global warming but laws declaring natural fires such as caused by lightening will be ineffective despite what the Sierra Club may wish.
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear is likely to encounter legislative resistance to his plan to use Kentucky's coal-severance tax revenue to help overcome a revenue shortfall.Some key legislators oppose the idea, The Courier-Journal of Louisville reported Friday. Lawmakers return to the Capitol next week to begin the 2009 General Assembly.Rep. Rocky Adkins, a Sandy Hook Democrat and House majority floor leader, says coal-producing counties should keep the money they generate."The money that is supposed to come back to coal counties must come back to the coal counties to make progress in resolving the needs we have," Adkins said.
There is no such thing as “clean coal,” environmentalists insist. Burning coal to generate electricity emits soot particles that cause respiratory problems, lung cancer and heart disease, killing 24,000 Americans annually.It’s the kind of claim that eco-activist Bruce Hamilton says “builds the Sierra Club,” by generating cash and lobbying clout for his and similar groups.It’s also disingenuous, unethical and harmful.Since 1970, unhealthy power plant pollutants have been reduced by almost 95% per unit of energy produced. Particulate emissions (soot) decreased 90% below 1970 levels, even as coal use tripled, and new technologies and regulations will nearly eliminate most coal-related pollution by 2020, notes air quality expert Joel Schwartz.
WASHINGTON - The lights might go out in Virginia in two years.
As a Washington Post editorial this fall and other reports have noted, blackouts are likely in the commonwealth by 2011 because demand for electricity is outstripping supply and the state needs access to new sources of power.
Sadly, Virginia's predicament can be seen around the country. The United States faces an energy crisis:
More power generation and more transmission lines are needed, and all this must be created quickly while also meeting climate change goals.
Over the past few months, officials from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association have met with representatives from the 900 cooperative electric utilities that supply power to 40 million people in 47 states.
A common theme has emerged: Our political leaders must develop a national energy policy that funds development of new technologies to keep electricity affordable while meeting climate change goals.
Otherwise, a growing number of Americans won't be able to pay for power, and many will be at risk of rolling blackouts and brownouts.
In the past five years, utility bills have risen 30 percent, largely because of the rising cost of fuel, mainly coal and natural gas.
The country's leading consumer organizations, including the Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union, recently wrote to President-elect Barack Obama, calling on him "to devote as much attention to the affordability of electricity as has been devoted to gasoline."
The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that by 2030, demand for electricity will be 30 percent higher, the equivalent of adding four Californias to the power grid.
In some regions, demand will soon outstrip supply.
The North America Electric Reliability Corp., which oversees the reliability of the U.S. electric power grid, projects that the desert Southwest will be at risk for blackouts in 2010 because of a shortage of power generation capacity.
An Agriculture Department report this year on rural electric power generation found that "brownouts are probable unless investment in transmission is increased and simultaneously, energy efficiency efforts and demand side management must be intensified."
So what should Obama do to meet both our nation's growing demand for electricity and our climate change goals?
The next administration should study the energy blueprint promoted by executives at cooperative electric utilities from around the country:
If we can pull off that feat, we could optimize our most plentiful fuel resource without increasing greenhouse gases.
Congress and President-elect Obama face a historic opportunity to tame our growing energy crisis.
If they don't act, the lights will go out.
English, a former Democratic congressman from Oklahoma, is chief executive of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which represents more than 900 cooperative electric utilities. Reasor is president and chief executive of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.dailymail.com
The first, on May 21, headed "Climate change threat to Alpine ski resorts" , reported that the entire Alpine "winter sports industry" could soon "grind to a halt for lack of snow". The second, on December 19, headed "The Alps have best snow conditions in a generation" , reported that this winter's Alpine snowfalls "look set to beat all records by New Year's Day".
LOGAN -- The Logan County Commission made the first donation to a new coal lobbying organization with a $2,500 donation on Tuesday. The avowed purpose of Citizens for Coal is to educate the public with facts about the importance of coal to the nation as an economic force and an affordable source of energy.Spokesman Roger Horton told County Commission members Art Kirkendoll, Willie Akers and Danny Godby that anti-mining extremists and activists had done a good job of attacking the coal industry with anti-mining television ads and programs and the industry had done a poor job of defending itself from the attacks.Horton, a miner and UMWA spokesperson, addressed the county commission about Citizens for Coal, a new not-for-profit coalition formed to educate the public about the real face of coal in an era where spin doctors and attack ads had made major impact on people outside our region. Citizens for Coal is a forum for miners, elected officials, union officials, mining companies, union members and vendors who do business within the coal industry to become a voice of concern."There is a lot of negative publicity generated by people who don't want us to mine coal," Horton said, adding that coal's profile needed to be raised as a national issue noting that without American coal, the nation might have to import more expensive sources of energy."I decided to develop a not-for-profit called Citizens for Coal," Horton said. "I have a board of directors who are working miners, vendors and a variety of people who have a stake in this."Horton said his group would visit other county commissions and attempt to gather funds to meet its objectives of educating elected officials and the public about how important coal is to the nation and our state's economy. Horton noted surface mining land is often used to build economic development projects after the coal has been removed in a region where flat land is limited and often unavailable.Horton said he wants Citizens for Coal to become a resource for the people of the coalfields to reach out to the public and make them aware of the importance of coal.County Commission President Art Kirkendoll said that if coal is regulated out of existence it would devastate our region and could negatively affect the rest of the nation which doesn't have a reliable and affordable energy source to compete with it.Horton said the region needed to realize that activists and environmentalists have come at our region "in full attack mode.""Everybody needs to stand up for the common citizen," Kirkendoll said, adding that a united effort was needed to get the truth out in order to ensure a quality way of life for the future of southern West Virginia."It is important for everyone to do a little bit," Horton agreed.Kirkendoll said he wanted the Logan County Commission to be the first donor to come on board, and challenged other county commissions to "put their money where their heart is.""It may not be a huge donation," Kirkendoll said of the $2,500 amount, "but it will get the ball rolling. We want other agencies and commissions which receive funding from coal mining and taxes and royalties to support this too. Hopefully others will follow suit. Coal is the lifeblood of our economy."
Logan Banner - December 27, 2008
Coal giant Alpha Natural Resources has given the Nature Conservancy $25,000 to help it push for the cleanup of abandoned strip mines in Southwest Virginia's Clinch River Valley, the nonprofit group announced yesterday.The group is undertaking the task of creating an inventory of the strip mines and setting cleanup priorities for them in partnership with the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.Virginia Tech estimates there are 50,000 acres of abandoned strip mines to be cleaned up in Southwest Virginia. The federal government estimates that cleaning up the worst ones will cost more than $115 million. Before 1977, coal companies did not have to repair strip mines after removing the coal.
THE energy summit last week brought together experts from the public and private sectors for a real wrestling match with America's energy dilemma. There were presentations about carbon sequestration; coal gasification; carbon credit markets; wind, solar and hydropower energy generation options; and other complex challenges that sit before us like unopened Christmas presents bound up with tight stubborn paper and bows of steel.It was clear that our challenge is to put our best minds to work undoing those restrictive bows and wrappings, solving complex problems and transforming America's most abundant natural energy resource - coal - from what some have seen as the lump in the Christmas stocking to the brightest Christmas present under the tree for an energy independent America.There is no better place in this nation to undertake that challenge than here. West Virginia, by virtue of its natural resources, its history of energy production, and its leadership, is "America's Energy State." The announcement made at the summit regarding establishment of the new coal-to-liquids plant in Mingo County is a perfect example of the potential of West Virginia to claim that title.West Virginia University, with decades of experience in both preparing new scientists and engineers for the challenges and undertaking relevant hands-on research for effective and responsible energy production is certainly "The Energy University."It is an impressive partnership. As West Virginia's governor and as WVU's president, we are committed to a strategic partnership of shared purpose and coordinated action to achieve energy independence and efficiency and provide energy leadership for the entire U.S.WVU stands at the forefront of efforts to bring energy answers to bear. The participants of this year's energy summit learned about WVU's long labor in the energy field and how that work is resulting in: restoration of West Virginia lands and waters; the education of West Virginia manufacturers in more efficient energy use to save money and jobs; enlightenment of millions of Americans about the potential of alternative fuel vehicles; safer conditions for coal miners and more efficiency for coal producers; conversion of mine-scarred lands into sustainable energy parks that produce new fuels; demonstration of a new underground carbon storage initiative; and a host of other exciting innovations.They also learned about WVU's partnerships with Carnegie-Mellon and the University Pittsburgh on projects through the National Energy Technology Laboratory and collaborations with the University of Kentucky, Auburn, and Utah on coal-to-liquids research.All of that is wonderful progress, but it isn't enough. It will not be enough until foreign oil imports can be reduced and coal can be used in concert with renewable energy and new technologies cleanly and efficiently.WVU has begun an energized new endeavor known as the Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI) that addresses fossil and renewable energy, sustainability and energy policy and will further elevate the University's status as a preeminent source of energy knowledge. AEI is a component of the Research Trust Fund (also known as Bucks for Brains) that our State initiated to bolster research at West Virginia's universities.As a further demonstration of WVU's commitment to rise to the next level of energy research prominence, a new energy research czar will be appointed soon to intensify, coordinate and further focus the University's energy work. The road ahead warrants such responses because as we take positive steps forward, we continue to encounter even more scientific as well as policy challenges.For example, consider the new announcement of a coal-to-liquids plant in Mingo County. Adam Victor, President of TransGas Development Systems told how his company's new plant will work to convert 8,500 tons of coal into 18,000 barrels of gasoline per day. It will be a $3 billion investment that will produce West Virginia jobs; another source for America's fuel needs; potential for answering the carbon problem; and more.Victor touched upon the need to explore the issue of rights-of-way for the creation of separate pipelines to transport sequestered carbon dioxide. That is an issue that sits squarely on the plates of America's policy-makers and will require debate.All these developments are on WVU's energy radar. AEI was crafted in consultation with researchers, federal agency representatives and the private sector to focus on the science of the energy challenge and the provision of expert policy input for our state and national leaders.WVU is one of America's distinguished land-grant institutions with a mission to focus on what is important to its home state and to its nation. At no time in history has energy ever been more central to both. WVU has not just come to the table on this issue in pursuit of the hot issue of the day. Its National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCEE) is in its 30th year of work on energy research topics and is responsible for many of the successes reported at the Energy Summit. That work is the foundation upon which AEI will build.All West Virginians should be proud of our efforts to hash out the issues and challenges that stand before us by bringing intellectual and practical forces to bear. They should be equally proud of the contributions of its flagship research university's contributions to answering those challenges.Through a commitment to empowered engagement, speedy and efficient problem-solving and the support of the public and private sectors, West Virginia and WVU will continue to carry the energy research banner forward and have wonderful results to share at future energy summits.Manchin is the governor of West Virginia, and Magrath is WVU's interim president.
STEVEN Chu, the next secretary of energy of the United States, has said coal is his "worst nightmare." The Nobel prize-winning physicist is deeply concerned about global warming and fossil fuels' contribution to that trend.But Barack Obama's administration will soon be in an unenviable position of responsibility.It costs nothing to posture to get the green vote. It's a different matter to be held responsible for whether the lights stay on and the economy recovers.That will take coal.
If President-elect Barack Obama's choices for officials to deal with energy and environmental issues are any guide, development of coal technology may lag during his administration.Obama on Monday announced the following choices for top posts:Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, for secretary of energy. Chu heads the enormous Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Under his leadership it has emphasized research on biofuels and solar energy.Chu reportedly be-lieves a massive shift away from use of fossil fuels such as coal is essential to fight global warming.Lisa Jackson to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Jackson formerly was chief of the New Jersey environmental agency. New Jersey has been among East Coast states attacking coal-fired power plants in our area.Carol Browner, who served as EPA chief during the Clinton administration, to be a coordinator for energy and climate change issues. Browner has a record of tough stances on air pollution.Nancy Sutley as chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She is Los Angeles' deputy mayor for environment, and has a record of insisting on strong action to fight climate change. She supported a proposal that Los Angeles rely on "renewable" energy for 20 percent of its electric power.It does not appear that Obama's team includes people likely to support the kind of coal research and development the country needs.We hope we are wrong about that - but if we are not, it will reflect a very serious deficiency in energy policy.
Wheeling News-Register - Editorial - December 17, 2008
Phoenix Coal Inc. (TSX: PHC) ("Phoenix Coal" or "the Company"), a leading producer and consolidator of thermal coal reserves in the Illinois Basin, today announced that the Company was the recipient of five mine safety awards at the quarterly meeting of the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association ("JAHSA"), Green River Council in Owensboro, Kentucky. Phoenix received two awards from JAHSA and an additional three awards from the Mine Safety and Health Administration ("MSHA")."We are honored to have received these awards from JAHSA and MSHA as they recognize our excellent record in health and safety," said David A. Wiley, President and CEO of Phoenix Coal. "We are proud of our employees for their ongoing commitment and for achieving outstanding safety records. We will continue to strive for excellence in mine health and safety at all of our operations."JAHSA is a national private, non profit organization established in 1916 that recognizes achievements in mine safety with annual awards. It consists of representatives from federal and state governments, mining organizations and labor groups. MSHA is a federal enforcement agency responsible for the health and safety of the nation's miners.
THERE is no question that the Gazette is biased when it comes to covering coal mining issues, but the Dec. 4 editorial "Sabotage" was simply dishonest.
ConocoPhillips and Peabody Energy Corp. have selected a site near Central City, Ky. to be the location of a $3 billion coal-to-natural-gas facility.The Houston energy giant and St. Louis-based coal company have filed an air permit with the Commonwealth of Kentucky for development of the facility, which will be known as Kentucky NewGas.If approved by the Commonwealth, the facility will create about $100 million in regional economic benefits annually and is expected to produce enough energy for nearly 750,000 Midwest homes, according to the companies.ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and Peabody (NYSE: BTU) agreed in July 2007 to build the facility, which will produce between 50 billion and 70 billion cubic feet of synthetic natural gas annually from more than 3.5 million tons of coal.In October 2007, Peabody received preliminary approval from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for up to $250 million in tax incentives for the project.The “mine-mouth” gasification project would use ConocoPhillips’ proprietary E-Gas technology to produce clean-burning natural gas, according to the companies. Kentucky NewGas will meet regulatory standards to protect the environment, including adoption of low-emissions design criteria, anticipated to be less than 5 percent of the emissions of a comparably sized traditional coal plant.
Houston Business Journal - Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The West Virginia Coal Association's new television show filmed its episode December 4 at the studios of the West Virginia Library Commission. The show, know as "The Coal Seam," is hosted by Senior Vice president Chris Hamilton and the first feature guest was association President Bill Raney. The show will air on Monday, December 8 at 11:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m. and again at 11:00 p.m. It will also air on Tuesday morning at 5:00 a.m. and the following Saturday at 11:00 a.m. The show will continue to air on Mondays at these same time slots for the duration of this year's season.
Julian Martin's Nov. 19 column, "Coal industry can't be trusted to be responsible," typifies the rhetoric and misinformation that anti-mining activists use to advance their cause. Instead, let's stick to the facts.
Fact: Surface mining is highly regulated by both the state and federal governments. Before receiving mining permits, coal producers must provide regulatory agencies with extensive and highly detailed mining plans that explain every facet of the mine's operation, its environmental impact and plans for reclaiming the land after mining is completed. Sizeable bonds are posted to assure reclamation. Regulators inspect mining sites to ensure coal operators are adhering to environmental and reclamation standards. If those standards are violated, regulators will issue notices of violation that result in fines to the operator or (for serious infractions) even closure of the mine.
CHARLESTON – Miners and managers throughout West Virginia’s coal industry today welcomed a long-awaited federal rule that promises to end costly litigation blamed for slowing permit approvals for mining operations, reducing coal production and stifling employment.
“Far from the ‘giveaway’ to the coal industry as it is characterized by some anti-coal extremists, the new rules actually tighten regulations relating to stream protections under the Buffer Zone Rule,” said West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney.
“This new rule is the product of four years of public hearings and environmental analysis by multiple federal agencies,” Raney said.
Hamilton, a Wheeling native, predicts "moderate growth" for the coal industry in the future, and that Consol Energy will continue with plans for a coal to liquid plant - which he hopes still will be built in Marshall County.
A Charleston Gazette article about a poll by the Civil Society on the future of coal-fired electric plants suggests that West Virginia's residents may potentially oppose new facilities.
It would be easy to dismiss the poll results as biased, particularly since they are in line with the organization's position. Yet it is also likely that the answers may reflect a serious and all-too-common misunderstanding of the issues.
As a Princeton lecturer recently said in challenging listeners to raise the nation's energy IQ: "The problem with dealing with coal is that no one knows we use coal for electricity."
Look in your own newsroom and homes: each computer uses the equivalent of three pounds of coal a day. If you surveyed editors and reporters (or even science teachers) about how much coal they use, it is very likely that the most common answer would be, "We don't use coal anymore, we have electricity." In fact, the average American probably has no idea that they use the equivalent of about 21 pounds of coal a day to generate the electricity they need just to go about their daily lives.
Each year, the West Virginia Coal Association puts out its Coal Facts
publication. It's like a yearbook about coal in West Virginia.
It's a great publication and brings to light exactly how important coal is to
the economic health of the state - the entire state, not only the counties where
coal is produced.
Developers of a proposed
coal-gasification plant northeast of Taylorville today completed the purchase of
164 acres, or about half the land that will be needed for the estimated $2.1
Prairie State Generating Co. is at the front end
of a massive new coal mine and power plant construction project in Lively Grove,
More than 150 suppliers, buyers, transporters and
others related to the coal industry will come together in Portsmouth this week
for the U.S. Coal Imports and Exports 2008 conference.
The event will take place Tuesday through Thursday
at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center and will
include a tour of local coal terminals.
Speakers and panels will address issues
such as supply, demand, terminal capacity and the 2009 outlook, said Frank
Kolojeski, managing director of TransGlobal Ventures Corp., which is hosting the
conference in partnership with The McCloskey Group.
Economic reality- not arguments about fostering
sustainable energy with solar towers and wind turbines- is generating renewed
interest in coal, the source of more than half of the nation's electricity and
77 percent of the power produced in New Mexico.
We were notified this morning that our great friend, former Senior Vice President for Consol and House of Delegate member Eustace Frederick died last night at his home in Bluefield, WV. Eustace had been in failing health for the last couple of years, but he did get to watch his beloved VPI “Hokies” win the ballgame last night. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday at the St. Mary Orthodox Church in Bluefield, at this time no visitation was listed. In lieu of flowers donations to the Church are requested. Our prayers and sympathies to Eustace’s family.
The Kanawha Valley Mining Institute Meeting is set for Thursday, November 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in South Charleston. The meeting is being sponsored by CARBONOKS, LLC and a special demonstration of the “Safe Haven” Refuge Chamber will be held.
Contact Jim Corsaro at 304/949-5630 for further information.
Industry representatives were on hand this past Monday for an energy rally at Amherst Industries in Charleston. The rally was intended to show support for West Virginia Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (2nd District). More than 100 people turned out for the rally.
The new 2008 edition of the Coal Facts annual is now available by contacting the West Virginia Coal Association at 304.342.4153 or emailing Terry Headley at email@example.com or Sandi Davison at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This year’s edition of Coal Facts is your one-place for statistical data regarding the coal mining industry in the state. Data includes coal production, employment, number of mines, severance taxes collected and paid and a wide range of other data.
WVCA Communications Director Terry Headley has completed initial preparations and moving forward with plans for the Association’s new monthly television show on the West Virginia State Library Commission’s television network. The show is expected to begin filming in November and should enter the show rotation in late-November or December. The network covers most of West Virginia, with special emphasis on the Huntington-Charleston, Morgantown, Wheeling, Fairmont-Clarksburg and Logan-Williamson areas. Headley is working to finalize a tentative list of guests and topics for the first season.
West Virginians for Reliable Power, a coalition comprised of state trade associations, businesses and labor organizations working to educate the state on the need for improved transmission infrastructure, will hold an energy forum on Monday, November 10, 2008 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Bridgeport Conference Center in Bridgeport, West Virginia.
VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
The West Virginians for Coal endorsement list was sent yesterday via e-mail to all who receive this newsletter and we hope that each of you will review the list and vote accordingly. If you did not receive the list, please let us know immediately and we will forward.
Environmentalists contend poll doesn’t reflect people’s feelings. While a representative of the state's coal industry said it wants to work with environmentalists and avoid more legal battles, a representative of Coal River Mountain Watch said the fights will continue in court.
The 2009 Mining Symposium will be held in conjunction with the opening of the 2009 Legislature – February 18 – 20th. We have moved the Symposium to the Charleston Civic Center and will be using the Civic Center Holiday Inn Express as the host motel. Rooms are on hold for hospitality suites and sleeping rooms will run $84.00 + tax. To make room reservations or to book your hospitality suite contact Rusty Edens at 304- 345-0600.
Registration and program information will be sent out within the next month.
More than 100 coal miners and their families were on hand Wednesday and Thursday to hear oral arguments regarding a request for a preliminary injunction against a Section 404 permits issued by the Corps of Engineers to Hobet Mining Company and Fola Coal Company.
The West Virginia Coal Association hosted more than 50 members of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) by providing a tour of a working surface mine and discussing the process of mountaintop mining with the group. The tour was conducted by WVCA President Bill Raney and former Chairman Andrew Jordon. The site was Pritchard Mining’s Four-Mile mine near Marmet.
The group came into the area Wednesday, Oct. 15 for a workshop as part of the SEJ’s Annual Conference in Roanoke, Va. The topic of the presentation was Climate Change and Our Energy Future in Rural America.
Patriot Coal CEO Richard Whiting and West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney were among the featured speakers at the West Virginia Coal Mining Institute’s Annual Technical Meeting. Held Oct. 16-18, the event looked at various issues affecting the coal industry.
Whiting, the keynote speaker, spoke about current events with Patriot Coal. Raney provided a review of coal mining-related issues.
Democratic Governor Joe Manchin and his opponent, former Republican state Senator Russ Weeks agree on the issue of mountaintop removal mining – supporting the practice as long as it's done responsibly. Manchin says he's working with the Department of Environmental Protection on "a very aggressive plan" that states "there will be no disturbance of the land unless you can show, with the post mine land use program, that you'll put the land back better and more productive than what you altered it."
Week’s says coal is the nation’s best energy source and will be well into the future.
"West Virginia is coal, has been coal and West Virginia will continue to be coal - past, present future," said Weeks. "We can't do anything at all right now that's going to alter the fact that most of the tax money that comes to Charleston is generated by what they call mineral extraction and energy production."
Coal is an essential part of today’s economy. It cannot be replaced by any other source today and provides a safe, dependable and clean alternative to foreign oil in the short-run.
These are the findings of a study released by Imagine West Virginia, a non-partisan think tank. The results were presented at a meeting in Morgantown this past week hosted by the Coal Forum and Imagine West Virginia. It is the second of several planned meetings around the state.
The first meeting, held in Charleston in August, drew approximately 200 people. About 100 attended the meeting in Morgantown.
The report offered an ambitious set of 10 recommendations including strengthening research, working to develop the next generation of leaders, training for workers and creating an independent energy advisory board.
Additional meetings have been scheduled for Beckley and the Eastern Panhandle, with other locations potentially added at a later date.
Williams Run wends through State Game Lands 39 -- a densely-wooded tract that blazes with the rich warm colors of autumn.
Hunters who venture into this forested valley would never guess that Williams Run is practically dead, the consequence of an old strip mine that ravaged nearby farmland.
Two coal companies have filed a lawsuit against Blaine, claiming that ordinances designed to protect the community from longwall mining violate their rights to do business.
Penn Ridge Coal LLC and Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal Co. filed the lawsuit last week in federal court, alleging 15 counts, including that the ordinances, first passed in 2006 and amended this past summer, violate both the commerce clause and contracts clause of the U. S. Constitution.
State Democratic Party leaders toured the southern coalfields Saturday to boost support for their ticket -- especially presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, who voters here rejected by wide margins in the May primary.
Recent polls in West Virginia show Obama getting closer to GOP candidate Sen. John McCain, and Democratic leaders see coalfield voters as key to any Obama victory.
West Virginia's three gubernatorial candidates have several views in common, but are miles apart on others - including mountaintop removal, abortion, the death penalty and the leadership of the current administration.
Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin and former Republican state Sen. Russ Weeks both agree on mountaintop removal mining, which they support as long as it's done responsibly.
West Virginians overwhelmingly believe the state’s coal industry forms the economic bedrock of the state today and in the future, that it is doing a good job in its role as steward of the environment and that through technology the industry will continue to address environmental concerns.
These are the findings of a recent poll commissioned by the West Virginia Coal Association this past summer.
Bill Raney, President of the West Virginia Coal Association, said, “This survey verifies what we have long believed – that state residents value the economic and social contributions of the coal industry in West Virginia.”
“State residents want to see the industry do well and believe technologies will keep the industry and the jobs it provides viable, while maintaining a strong state economy in the process.”
Twenty mining operations have been honored for their outstanding 2007 safety records through the annual Sentinels of Safety awards program co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Mining Association.
A.S.J. “Andy” Southworth, III, Senior Vice President with Cecil I. Walker Machinery Co., was named United Way of Central West Virginia’s “Helping Hand” award winner, signifying him as volunteer of the year.
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP recently was honored as the #1 law firm for Mining Law in the United States by The Best Lawyers in American 2009. For the second year in a row, Dinsmore & Shohl is recognized as having more lawyers listed in the field of Mining Law than any other firm in the U.S.
The WV Office of Miners’ Health, Safety & Training, has announced that applications to take the examination for Coal Mine Electrical Inspector are now being accepted. All applications and the required work history must be returned to the Charleston MHS&T office by December 1, 2008, for the Board to review for this exam. Must have at least 5 year practical electrical experience in coal mines, two (2) years must be in West Virginia mines.
For download of application and more information: www.wvminesafety.org
On September 26, 2008, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published in the Federal Register, a notice of public hearing and extension of the comment period for the Alcohol-and Drug-Free Mines: Policy, Prohibitions, Testing, Training, and Assistance proposed rule.
MSHA will hold a public hearing on its proposed rule to amend the existing metal and nonmetal standards for the possession and use of intoxicating beverages and narcotics and make the new standard applicable to all mines.
Hearings will be held on October 14, 2008 via Webcast in Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, PA, and Englewood (Denver), CO. Via audio only at The National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, WV and Birmingham, AL.
Comments on the proposed rule must be received by midnight October 29, 2008.
WVCA’s Health & Safety Committee is working on comments.
Apprentice miner Steven Cain, 32, of Comfort, died after being pinned between the wall and a supply car at Massey's Justice No. 1 mine in Boone County late Wednesday, said Jama Jarrett, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training. Cain worked for contractor Mountaineer Labor Solutions.
State mine inspectors and investigators with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration were planning to recreate the accident Thursday afternoon, Jarrett said. Seven West Virginia coal miners and 21 nationally have been killed on the job this year, according to government records.
The parent company of United Bank has named a coal industry veteran to its board of directors. Gary White was added to the board of Charleston-based United Bankshares Inc. (also WVCA member). He is chief executive of International Resource Partners, parent company of Southern West Virginia mine operator International Resources LLC.
The State Journal reported that a U.S. District Court judge is presiding over an upcoming case involving a West Virginia environmental group that he once belonged to, although he said it has been at least a decade since he was a member of the group.
The West Virginia Coal Association and the State Library Commission are finalizing plans for a new monthly television show. The show will focus on the issues and news surrounding the coal industry. Filming will begin in late October with the first airing sometime in November.
Register to Vote -- If you are not registered to vote you simply can’t! It is that simple! Thus, it’s imperative that you remind family and friends to register by October 14 -- the last day to register to vote in the General Election.
A registration form can be downloaded from the Secretary of State’s website: http://www.wvsos.com/
Early/Absentee Voting October 15 – November 1 – The early/absentee voting period begins on October 15th and runs through November 1st and may be done at the County Commission (County Clerk) or Circuit Court (Circuit Clerk).
Hearings will be held on October 14, 2008 via Webcast in Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, PA, and Englewood (Denver), CO via audio only at The National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, WV and Birmingham, AL.
We would like to thank those of you who took part in the drawing. We
plan to continue with this kind of event and with others intended to
energize and inform the members of the Friends of Coal.
A recently-renovated, two-story building (6,000 sq. ft) with full, finished basement is for sale in Smithers, WV just off Route 60. Suitable for mine offices, warehouse or training building. Call 304-382-7161 for details.
The West Virginia Coal Association and Friends of Coal continue to host the Met-RX World’s Strongest Man Competition here in Charleston. During the past week, the association held a dinner at the Charleston Civic Center for contestants, families and staff. The event drew more than 250 people and featured the barbequed ribs of Charleston Mayor Danny Jones.
The following day, production staff were taken on a tour of Andrew Jordon’s “Four-Mile Mine” in Kanawha County. The tour featured an up close and personal look at modern surface mining. Highlights of the two events will be featured on the ESPN broadcast of the competition later this year.
The Miners Safety and Health Administration has proposed new drug and alcohol testing standards for the nation’s mines. Perhaps the most important of the new provisions is the requirement to provide “job security” to first time violators while they “seek appropriate evaluation and treatment.”
Under the new regulations, companies are required to refer those who test positive for the first time to the appropriate employee assistance program (EAP) for counseling. During counseling, the employee will continue to work in their existing jobs until such time as the miner is in compliance with counseling requirements.
Copies of these standards are available from WVCA.
The Small Mine Safety Conference is set for September 17 at the Chief Logan Convention Center in Logan. The purpose of the Safety Conference is to provide a forum to review and discuss developing mine safety technologies and new regulatory requirements imposed by state and federal law. We are a co-sponsor of this meeting along with KCA, NIOSH, MSHA and the WVOMHS&T.
For more information about the meeting contact:
Lou Prosser, NIOSH
P.O. Box 18070
Pittsburgh, PA, 15236-0070
There is no cost for this meeting but you must register with NIOSH to attend.
The Board of Directors of the National Mining Association (NMA) has elected Harold (Hal) P. Quinn as the association’s president and chief executive officer. Several of you know Hal and the talent, energy and commitment he brings to this position. His depth of knowledge and experience in representing mining’s interests has been honed through twenty years of work before all three branches of government. The board has great confidence in his ability to successfully implement our strategic policy objectives at this pivotal time in our nation’s history.
More than 800 people were on hand for the festivities of the 11th annual “Paint the Capital City Green” which was jointly sponsored by the Friends of Coal and Marshall University Alumni on August 20 at the Charleston Embassy Suites.
Music by the Thundering Herd band as well as a rousing pep assembly featuring the Marshall cheerleading corps and Marco got the crowd into the spirit. After remarks by Marshall University President Stephen Kopp and Governor Manchin and others, WVCA Vice President Chris Hamilton took the stage. Offering the 2008 limited edition coin as an auction item for a new costume for Marco, the crowd rallied and brought in $3,000.
The global energy crisis has created both opportunities and challenges for the coal industry and the future depends on the industry’s response. Patriot Coal’s CEO, Richard Whiting, speaking to the WV State Chamber of Commerce’s Business Summit at The Greenbrier, said the world currently uses 6.6 billion tons of coal each year, with the US alone accounting for 1 billion tons. Whiting said he expects the total to rise to 8 billion tons – a 19 percent increase – within just a few years as the demand from rapidly growing nations of China and India continues to grow. Right now, Patriot’s exports to China and India account for 15 percent of its total sales.
Any football fan would have thought he had died and gone to heaven this past Labor Day weekend…in actuality he was just in Wheeling. Six of the best high school football teams from across the nation were in town for a three-game exhibition. The games were preceded Sunday by a very special “Evening with Coach Nehlen and Friends”, celebrating the 50-year career of a college football coaching legend.
Former football coaching legends, former players and other guests were on hand to mark the occasion with Coach Nehlen. The event was hosted by original ESPN personality Roy Firestone and was attended by 400 plus guests.
Labor Day saw action begin with a noon game between the Cleveland-Glenville Tarblooders and the Thomas Jefferson (PA) Jaguars. At 3 p.m. the Lakeland Dreadnaughts (FL) took on the Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings (PA) and then at 6 p.m. the Wheeling Central Catholic Maroon Knights teed it up against the Steubenville Catholic Central Crusaders (OH). A huge crowd enjoyed the Labor Day festivities.
Hal Quinn, the National Mining Association’s (NMA) executive vice president, has been asked by the Association’s leadership to serve as interim president of NMA following the departure of Kraig R. Naasz as president and CEO of the organization. The Association’s leadership has expressed confidence in the team at NMA and its ability to execute the association’s mission of advancing mining’s public policy objectives.
NO substance in America has
been more demonized in the last year, nor revealed as more necessary,
than coal. Liberals - and competing energy producers - condemn it as
But it's clear the nation needs coal if it is to shake its economic dependence on oil-producing dictatorships.
In a new ad, Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito pointed out
that America's coal reserves are kryptonite to the oil cartel, and can
be used to cut this nation's dangerous dependence on foreign and often
hostile energy producers.
Especially if Ken Halloy is involved.
the Bridgeport, W.Va., native who helped turn the Kirk Herbstreit Ohio
vs. USA Challenge into a brand name event, is well on his way to
success in another Labor Day weekend extravaganza, this one in his home
inaugural Friends of Coal Prep Football Classic is set for Monday,
Sept. 1, at the 12,000-seat Wheeling Island Stadium in Wheeling, W.Va.
It’s difficult to imagine a better first-time lineup of teams.
noon tripleheader will be comprised by six schools from four states
that went a combined 74-8 in 2007 and won three state championships,
with two of the three titles being captured in the grueling
Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs.
The Greater Bluefield Area is a beautiful, mountainous community, which crosses state lines along the border of southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia. Located in the mountains along the foothills of one of the most picturesque mountain valley settings to be found anywhere, the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Bluefield Coal Symposium with the theme "Coal Mine Safety: The Road to Zero Harm".
For two days, August 26 and 27, the Bluefield Coal Symposium will address providing greater safety and increased productivity.
The WV Coal Forum and Marshall University will hold an energy forum from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, August 19 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Charleston. Everyone is encouraged to attend and there is no fee.
The purpose of this forum is to expose civic, legislative and opinion leaders in West Virginia to Imagine West Virginia’s
Coal: "Energy, The Environment & West Virginia Policy Recommendations” and to facilitate discussion on coal’s role in our state and nation’s energy strategy.
The event will include three segments, which include:
You can find additional information on the West Virginia Coal Forum at www.wvcoalforum.org
A visit by President George W. Bush was the highlight of the West Virginia Coal Association’s recent annual meeting in White Sulphur Springs. The event was a huge success locally but it also resulted in a great deal of media coverage. According to Metro Monitor News Tracking Service, the event resulted in 51 television news spots, reaching a total of 2.5 million people and resulting in a publicity value [the amount of money it would cost to pay for the same time] of $134,000. Even this number was dwarfed by the coverage when print media was added to the total.
According to Lynn Swann, Director of Public Relations for The Greenbrier Resort, coverage reached an estimated total of 21 million people with total impressions (views) estimated at 62 million.
A survey commissioned by the West Virginia Coal Association indicates most West Virginians support the coal industry. The study further shows the industry’s message of coal as a dependable and clean alternative to foreign oil is getting through to the general public.
Brian Brown, of Charleston-based Brown Communications, joined Mark Blankenship, president of Mark Blankenship Enterprises, in making the presentation to members of the Association at the annual meeting in White Sulphur Springs.
According to the survey, which utilized 601 telephone surveys across the state, 88 percent of the people surveyed believe electricity can be produced in environmentally responsible ways through the use of technology. Further 86 percent believe the use of clean coal technology is the best way to grow the state’s economy and create jobs. In terms of the environment, fully 86 percent of the public believes the coal industry is doing a better job of protecting the environment today than it did 20 years ago.
A group of anti-coal extremists says Walker Machinery’s latest advertising campaign is “fraudulent” and they liken it to “brainwashing”. The group is calling on Walker to stop the campaign and to pull the ads and billboards that claim coal is “clean [and] carbon neutral. “
Coal industry officials say it is uncertain what the group sponsoring the petition wants to accomplish. The petition is just another attempt to distort the facts about coal and paint the average coal miner as a polluter rather than the true environmentalists they are.
The public comment period on the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed revisions to the state’s Mining and Reclamation Rules will close next Tuesday, August 12, 2008.
To obtain a copy of the proposed revisions contact email@example.com
Earlier the week, the Coal Association filed comments on two separate environmental rulemaking initiatives. The first was the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed revisions to the agency’s certification of the Corps of Engineer’s General Section 404 permits for coal mining: Nationwide permits 21, 49 and 50. Comments were also filed on the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s review of recent changes to West Virginia’s mining regulatory program, specifically the changes to the state’s alternative bonding system and the per-ton coal tax collected to fund the reclamation or forfeited mine sites.
To obtain a copy of the comments, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps the most striking feature of the $1.83 billion Longview power plant being built here is its configuration.
Situated on 272 rolling acres about eight miles north of Morgantown, the plant is like an octopus. It will draw water from the Monongahela River, about a mile to the east. A Mepco Inc. mine will feed it coal from the Sewickley seam via a 4 1/2-mile-long overland conveyor belt from the northwest. It will connect to the power grid at an Allegheny Energy substation to the northeast. And vehicles access the site using Fort Martin Road to the south.
After Michael Morris met with the West Virginia Coal Association's directors at The Greenbrier last Thursday, I asked him what his message was.
"Collectively we have an educational challenge to help the body politic understand that coal has to play in the message for cost-effective electricity necessary to fuel economic growth," said Morris, who is American Electric Power's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "It's probably the same message President Bush made" at the association's meeting earlier the same day, he said.
President Bush spoke before the West Virginia Coal Association this morning.
"This is a challenging time, not the first time we've been through challenging times," said President Bush.
"In the second quarter, the economy grew at a rate of 1.9%. Not as good as we'd like it to be, but there were predictions that the economy would shrink this quarter, not grow. But, in fact, the opposite has happened," said Bush.
BUSH: Thank you all very much. Thanks for coming. Please be seated. Thank you for your warm introduction. I have come to know your state very well. I've spent a lot of quality time here. I love its beauty, and I love its people. And I thank you for your warm greeting, and I'm proud to be here in Greenbrier.
CONSOL Energy Inc. announced today plans to
build an $800 million coal gasification plant near Wheeling, but
details of state financial aide and a greenhouse gas "management
strategy" for the project were not immediately clear.
CONSOL said the project would be a joint venture with Houston-based
Synthesis Energy Systems Inc. through a new firm called Appalachia Fuel
Thousands turn out for concert, fireworks.
Friday, the Friends of Coal Auto Fair boomed.
Tens of thousands of people flooded the Paul Cline Memorial
Youth Sports Complex Saturday evening. The evening featured country music legend
Randy Travis, who launched his new CD, “Around the Bend.”
July 11, 2008-- The TVMI Everett Thompson Memorial Golf Outing is fast approaching. They still need hole sponsors and door prizes and also still have room for a few more teams.
Contact Andy Ashurst at: email@example.com for more information
July 11, 2008-- The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has published proposed revisions to the state’s environmental rules and regulations for public review and comment. The comment periods for the various changes close at various times in August. The revisions will ultimately be reviewed by the West Virginia Legislature in the 2009 Regular Session.
To receive a copy of the proposed changes to the Surface Mining & Reclamation Rule (38 CSR 2), Coal Mining NPDES Rule (47 CSR 30) and State Water Quality Standards Rule (47 CSR 2), contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Changes to the other state environmental rules are available on WV DEP’s website http://www.wvdep.org/item.cfm?ssid=24&ss1id=975
July 11, 2008-- The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has issued a revised section 401 certification for the Corps of Engineers’ programmatic nationwide permits for coal mining. The Corps programmatically reissued NPW 21 for surface coal mining activities in March of 2007. At the same time, two new NWPs for mining activities were promulgated: NWP 49 for coal remining activities and NWP 50 for underground mining activities. Under section 401 of the Clean Water Act, individual states can certify, deny or certify with conditions any programmatic NWP issued by the Corps. The comment period on the newly-issued certification of NWPs 21, 49 and 50 closes on August 6, 2008.
To receive a copy of the proposed certification package contact email@example.com
July 11, 2008-- Association Chairman Andrew Jordon joined NMA Chairman and Foundation Coal CEO Jim Roberts, Consol Energy CEO Brett Harvey, and US Steel's President for a meeting with Republican Presidential candidate John McCain on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Following the meeting Consol Energy's Pete Lilly, Tom Hoffman and Steve Winberg took McCain on a tour of their research facilities in South Park, PA. WVCA President Bill Raney and WVCA Senior VP Chris Hamilton accompanied Andrew on the visit and met with Senator McCain and Mrs. McCain privately to discuss the future and challenges facing West Virginia’s coal industry.
The visit is described in the following article.
July 11, 2008-- The Annual Meeting at The Greenbrier is shaping up to be another great weekend with new WVU Interim President Peter Magrath and Mike Morris with AEP visiting with the Board and with the membership at the Thursday evening Reception and Casino.
Saturday’s membership meeting will host Jim Boyd with the John T. Boyd Company discussing coal markets, Hal Quinn with NMA talking about national issues relating to coal and Randy Huffman, newly named Secretary of WV DEP.
From the Membership Meeting we will go into the Annual Chairman’s Brunch with guest speaker Homer Hickam, one of the original Rocket Boys and author of the newly released “Red Helmet”.
The weekend will wrap up on Saturday evening with the annual banquet and entertainment by PURE GOLD out of the Pittsburgh area.
July 11, 2008-- Final touches are being put on the WV Coal supplement to the State Journal. The 32-page publication will present new Coal Facts data for calendar year 2007 as well as a variety of articles dealing with issues surrounding today's industry. The annual issue has been overwhelmingly supported by the members of the Association. It will be published during the last week of July.
July 11, 2008-- The 2008 Friends of Coal Auto Fair is set for July 18 – 20 at the YMCA/Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex in Beckley, WV.
The event will provide a variety of entertainment, including:
Special Appearances By:
And a fantastic Saturday night concert featuring performances by RANDY TRAVIS and West Virginia’s own TAYLOR MADE.
For additional information please visit www.friendsofcoalautofair.com
Or contact the Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA at 304-252-0715
A La Nina Pacific Ocean cooling event continues to drive tropical and global temperatures: Globally, June 2008 was the coolest June since 1999, according to Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
The state of West Virginia's energy severance tax collections have increased by 23 percent during the last six months, showing the current strength of the energy market.
State Tax Department Revenue Expert Mark Muchow says the state ended the fiscal year Monday with approximately $3.9 billion in overall tax collections, which is nearly $109 million above original estimates.
Muchow says much of the tax base growth can be credited to the current prices of coal and natural gas.
Muchow says a year ago a ton of coal was selling for $45 on the spot market, but now it's more than $100 a ton. The higher the spot market price, the more tax revenue collected by the state.
According to the National Mining Association Mid-Year Coal Production Forecast, coal demand will reach a new record in 2008, despite a lagging domestic economy with total demand for U.S. coal expected to reach 1.218 billion tons this year. Against this background, and following the success of the Symposium two years ago, the Bluefield Coal Symposium is being held Tuesday, August 26 through Wednesday, August 27, 2008.
Sponsored by the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, the Bluefield Coal Symposium is being held at the Holiday Inn, Bluefield, West Virginia with the theme Coal Mine Safety: The Road to Zero Harm. A very formidable list of speakers has been assembled, including: Brett Harvey, Consol Energy; Richard Stickler, MSHA; Jeffery Kohler, NIOSH; Jim Roberts, Foundation Coal; Mike Quillen, Alpha Natural Resources; and Rick Whiting of Patriot Coal along with representatives of the Coal Associations of Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pocahontas, the Kanawha Valley Mining Institute and the Tug Valley Mining Institute.
For more information on sessions and registration, please contact the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce at 304-327-7184 or visit www.bluefieldchamber.com.
One of southern West Virginia’s biggest summer celebrations is just a few weeks away, and organizers of the 2008 edition of the Friends of Coal Auto Fair say they are expecting another fun-filled weekend.
“It’s going to be a great weekend,” Jay Rist, marketing and membership director for the Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA, says.
The event is scheduled July 18-20 at the Y’s Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex.
This is the fifth year for the auto fair, which was known as the Whitewater Run Car Show before Friends of Coal came on board in 2006.
The 2008 Friends of Coal Auto Fair is set for July 18 – 20 at the YMCA/Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex in Beckley, WV. The event will provide a variety of entertainment, including a car show, carnival rides, food vendors, a flea market, an arts & crafts area, special appearances by the Golden Knights Army Parachute Team, former WVU Head Football Coach Don Nehlen, current UVA Assistance Health Coach and Beckley native Bob Pruett, Jeremy Starks of the BassMaster Elite Series, a fireworks display, and a Saturday night concert featuring performances by RANDY TRAVIS and West Virginia’s own TAYLOR MADE.
For additional information please visit www.friendsofcoalautofair.com or contact the Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA at 304-252-0715
Jeremy Starks of Charleston is in second place after two
days of competition at the Southern Challenge, an ESPN Elite Series
bass tournament on Alabama's Wheeler Lake.
Starks has brought in a two-day total of 36 pounds, 11 ounces to the
scales. Anglers at Elite Series events are allowed to weigh only five
fish per tournament day.
Terry Scroggins, of San Mateo, Fla., leads the 107-angler field with 40 pounds, 10 ounces.
"To get out here and compete with the best and be in a position to challenge for a win is what it's about," Starks said.
After two days, the field is cut to 50. The top 12 anglers compete on the tournament's final day of competition.
Starks is in his third season on the Elite Series tour. In his career,
he has four previous top-20 finishes, including one in the top 12.
Friends of Coal Angler Jeremy Starks took first place in this past
weekend’s Bassmaster Elite Series Southern Challenge, presented by
Advance Auto Parts, and held in Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Alabama!
Listen to the NPR story here.
Steve Walker, president and chief operating officer of Cecil I.
Walker Machinery Co., launched a Friends of Coal membership drive at
the company's Belle headquarters by telling workers that their jobs
depend on convincing others that coal is an essential energy source.
The donors, Jo and Ben Statler, are both natives of Monongalia County and attended Clay-Battelle High School together, marrying shortly after graduation. Ben earned his degree in mining engineering from WVU, while working the night shift at the Pursglove mine. Before their children were born, Jo worked for the WVU School of Dentistry.
So Gore by advancing the global warming agenda is actually helping to promote world peace.
Hey, if it works for the committee, it works for us.
doesn�t work is the fact the film for which Gore won the prize, �An
Inconvenient Truth,� is riven with alarmist exaggerations and
inaccuracies. The day before the Nobel was announced, a British High
Court justice ruled that the film included significant errors,
according to the Times of London.
Once again, the Friends of Coal will sponsor the awards for all high school championship athletic events. The first round of athletic competition is already in full swing, with golf, cross country, soccer, volleyball and football all moving toward statewide championship events.
As always, we have been encouraged to actively participate in these events through the presentation of awards, medals and trophies. Anyone who is interested in these events, please call Dan Miller at 342-4153 and we will get you scheduled.
The first event will be golf, scheduled for October 3 at Oglebay Park in Wheeling. On October 27 will be the Cross Country championship, to be held at Cabell Midland HS.
The annual soccer championships will again be at the YMCA Sports Complex in Beckley, on November 3.
On November 10, the volleyball championship will come to the Charleston Civic Center.
The first half of the sports year will conclude with the Super Six football championships in Wheeling on Nov.30-Dec 1, and the cheerleading championships on December 8 at the Charleston Civic Center.
When the 340 miners, prep plant employees and loading dock workers at
Kanawha Eagle Coal want to talk to management, they go to Bob Ellis.
His official title is vice president of operations, but the fact is,
he's management personified. Following the 44-year-old around is like
following Billy in the cartoon, "Family Circus," because he's
everywhere: in and out of the company's offices, bath houses and mines,
greeting employees, asking about their kids, quizzing them about
production and cracking jokes.
Ellis asked if anyone had heard people talk about their "carbon
footprint." Several miners nodded that indeed, they'd heard the phrase.
Ellis said the thermostat at his house is set at 67 and all of the
windows are fogged. He reminded everyone that he drove up Winifrede
Hollow in a Chevrolet Tahoe that gets 12 miles per gallon -- his way
This afternoon’s final round of the National Mining Association Pete
Dye Classic will be entertainment for most who view it on the Golf
For Arch Coal Inc., “it’s a rallying point,” said Steven
Leer, Arch’s chairman and chief executive officer. The St. Louis-based
company, which has about 1,300 employees in West Virginia, brought
about eight of its workers to Harrison County for this year’s
tournament. Arch also brought in about a dozen customers from all over
“They get to see the state and we get to spend some
time with them,” Leer said. “We can talk about issues facing the
industry and hear about some of the needs of our customers. All in a
YORK, June 27 (Reuters) - Magnum Coal Co. on Wednesday pulled its $350
million bond deal, citing market conditions, syndicate sources told
Reuters Loan Pricing Corp.
Lehman Brothers was the lead manager for the seven-year, second-lien secured notes.
Magnum Coal is rated "B3" by Moody's Investors Service and "B-minus" by Standard & Poor's, the sixth highest junk rating.
Ellen Wooldridge, the 19th-ranking Interior Department official,
arrived at her desk in Room 6140 a few months after Inauguration Day
2001. A phone message awaited her.
is Dick Cheney," said the man on her voice mail, Wooldridge recalled in
an interview. "I understand you are the person handling this Klamath
situation. Please call me at -- hmm, I guess I don't know my own
number. I'm over at the White House."
wrote off the message as a prank. It was not. Cheney had reached far
down the chain of command, on so unexpected a point of vice
presidential concern, because he had spotted a political threat
arriving on Wooldridge's desk.
Oregon, a battleground state that the Bush-Cheney ticket had lost by
less than half of 1 percent, drought-stricken farmers and ranchers were
about to be cut off from the irrigation water that kept their cropland
and pastures green. Federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act
left the government no choice: The survival of two imperiled species of
fish was at stake.
During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Sen. Jim Bunning said he had been "threatened" by a fellow senator.
said he was told by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., that if he persisted with
his plans on an energy measure, nothing he did in the future would
clear the Senate Finance Committee, where Baucus is chairman.
R-Ky., later added that this was communicated between the senators'
staffs. And Bunning said he communicated to Baucus: "Stuff it."
the comments would have been available for anyone to hear at Bunning's
Web site, where he posts recordings of his weekly press calls.
But the recording of Tuesday's call was edited, and the senator's comments about the threats were taken out.
Coal must remain an integral part of energy generation, despite a sustained boom in renewable fuels, an analyst says.
Bank analyst Mark Lewis told ABC TV the coal industry still has a
future, despite a global push towards other cleaner energy.
The test confirms the Corps' jurisdiction over traditional navigable waterways and extends 404 jurisdiction to include certain non-navigable waterways, including wetlands and permanent streams, which are tributaries to larger waterways. The second test extends 404 jurisdiction to non-navigable waterways and wetlands that have a "nexus" to navigable waterways even if they are considered intermittent or ephemeral streams or if they are separated from permanent tributaries because of uplands, dikes or other land features.
The agencies have prepared several documents for use by regulatory staff and permittees. Copies of these guidance documents are available on the National Mining Association’s website: http://www.nma.org/tmp/060607_epa.asp
WVCA’s Environmental-Technical Committee is reviewing the guidance and having discussions with the Corps in anticipation of an industry training session on jonal waters determinations.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Technical Study Panel on the Utilization of Belt Air and the Composition and Fire Retardant Properties of Belt Materials in Underground Coal Mining
AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Labor.
ACTION: Notice of meeting.
SUMMARY: This notice informs interested persons of the fourth meeting of the Technical Study Panel (Panel) on the Utilization of Belt Air and the Composition and Fire Retardant Properties of Belt Materials in Underground Coal Mining. The public is invited to attend.
The third Annual July 20-22 Auto Fair is already going to be bigger and better than last years, as the crew in Beckley have already moved the concert to a larger field for Lonestar and Taylor Made. See below Beckley Register-Herald article below.
Please contact Jay Rist at the Raleigh County YMCA (304-252-0715) if you can support the event with platinum, gold sponsorships.
Friends of Coal concert moving to larger fields
Beckley Register-Herald - Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA CEO Jim Gilchrist says the anticipated turnout for the July 21 Friends of Coal Auto Fair concert, which will feature country music sensation Lonestar with local favorite Taylor Made, is rapidly increasing, so much so that event coordinators have decided to go to “Plan B.”
The new plan, Gilchrist said Tuesday morning at a meeting involving emergency agencies, calls for the concert, which will take place at the Y’s Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex, to move from the single field on which last year’s concert was held to two other fields at the complex.
“It will accommodate the stage better,” Gilchrist said. “Folks will be able to hear no matter where they are. We think this will be better for the people coming to the concert.”
With the change in concert location, comes additional logistical changes, Gilchrist told representatives from the West Virginia State Police, Civil Air Patrol, Beckley Fire Department, Raleigh County Community Action Association, Jan-Care Ambulance and the Raleigh County Emergency Operations Center.
Locations for VIP parking have been moved this year in order to accommodate the concert stage as well as transportation for event-goers.
In 2006, Gilchrist says six buses from Raleigh County Community Action Association bused attendees from various parking locations to the sports complex. This year, Gilchrist says, 16 buses will be in action.
Those buses will, for free, pick up fair-goers from different parking lots and drop each off the main gate.
All buses, Gilchrist says, will travel, in one direction, around the road circling the complex.
“Buses will go in one way and drop them (attendees) off at the gate,” Gilchrist said, adding there will be one way in and one way out, easing traffic problems. “Logistically, it will make things a lot better.”
Gilchrist said he is confident the changes made from last year’s event will help improve this year’s fair, which runs July 20-22.
“We’ve got the experts here,” Gilchrist said. “We’ve got all the agencies who do these things all the time. This is their livelihood.”
The planning group will meet every two weeks until the Friends of Coal Auto Fair.
The 2007 edition of Coal Facts is in progress. As is traditional, a limited number of full page full color ads will be sold to defray the printing costs. Contact Dan Miller at 342-4153 if you would like one of these ads.
Liquid coal a cleaner response to energy problem
By Jim Bunning - Lexington Herald Leader - Monday, June 11, 2007
The Herald-Leader editorial board has again ignored scientific studies on coal-to-liquid fuel emissions and appears interested only in scaring Kentuckians with half-truths and misrepresented statistics.
I am a strong believer in the free market, and I relied on my long experience in economics when I wrote the coal-to-liquid legislation that I introduced with Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. My bill would provide incentives for the first commercial demonstrations of coal-to-liquid technology.
With modest initial investment we can kick-start this industry, and then the government will get out of the way and let the marketplace takeover. I would rather the government not have any involvement in coal-to-liquids, but this industry needs assistance because of the threat of OPEC, oil tyrants like Venezuelan President Hugo Ch‡vez and technology challenges.
Unlike the programs from the 1970s, my approach would cap the amount of money that can be spent and provide the limited government support needed to build a handful of plants.
Coal-to-liquids will not only be driven by the free market but also will power our military as it protects our freedom throughout the world. The top energy priority for our military is to have a secure, domestic fuel source for our men and women in uniform.
The Air Force is a strong supporter of these fuels and has engaged an aggressive testing program in B-52 bombers and will start tests on additional jets soon. They have an outstanding evaluation so far. These fuels burn cleaner and at lower temperatures, which reduces the radar profile and heat signature of our jets. And it has a higher efficiency, allowing jets to fly faster and farther on the same tank of fuel.
Despite the commentary to the contrary, coal-to-liquid fuel can be significantly cleaner than existing fuels in terms of air pollutants like sulfur and particulate matter, as well as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
I have studied coal-to-liquids extensively, and reports from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, Princeton University and the Idaho National Laboratory have shown that coal-to-liquids' rate of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions will vary dramatically based on the technology, feedstocks and process used.
These researchers have shown that the coal-to-liquid process could one day produce a fuel that is carbon neutral. This is not pie-in-the-sky research. Using some of the same ideas, a planned plant in Ohio -- one that will need some government support to get started -- will produce coal-to-liquid diesel that has 46 percent fewer carbon emissions than diesel fuel made from oil.
That is why, when I offered a coal-to-liquid fuel amendment to energy legislation in the Senate last month, I required that government money be used only in projects that will produce a fuel with fewer carbon emissions than the oil-based fuel it replaces.
Despite the way it is characterized in the press, every gallon of coal-to-liquid made with help from my amendment would reduce our country's carbon emissions and would be a gallon of oil we do not have to buy from the Middle East.
Coal-to-liquid fuel is not a distraction; it is a domestic answer to one of the biggest problems facing America. It will lower energy prices for U.S. families, improve the environment, create thousands of jobs in Kentucky and bring billions of dollars in new investment to the state.
This will be a clean fuel made from Kentucky coal, and the Herald-Leader is dead wrong to oppose it.
Lexington Herald Leader - Monday, June 11, 2007
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set a goal of making House operations carbon neutral during this session of Congress, meaning the House would remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it adds by the end of next year.
"The House must lead by example and it is time for Congress to act on its own carbon footprint," Pelosi said in announcing the initiative that would also shift the House to 100 percent renewable electric power.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has sponsored legislation with the long-term aim of making the entire Capitol complex, 23 buildings where some 15,000 people work, carbon neutral by 2020.
Currently the Capitol complex, which includes office buildings, the Library of Congress, the Botanic Garden and the Government Printing Office, accounts for about 316,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, the same as 57,455 cars.
About one-third of that comes from the combustion of fossil fuels at the 97-year-old Capitol Power Plant, the only coal-burning facility in the District of Columbia.
In addition, the Government Accountability Office said in a recent report, there is not one hybrid-electric vehicle in the legislative branch fleet of more than 300 vehicles. The fleet, mostly light-duty trucks, has only 35 vehicles that use alternative fuels, although the Architect's Office has ordered that almost all newly acquired vehicles be alternative-fuel compatible.
House workers have taken the immediate step of converting 2,000 desk lamps to more efficient compact fluorescent lamps. Within six months the remaining 10,000 desk lamps will switch to CFLs, saving the House $245,000 a year in electric power costs.
House Chief Administrative Officer Daniel Beard, in a report to Pelosi, said the House side of the Capitol, which includes four large office buildings, was responsible for 91,000 tons of greenhouse gas in the fiscal year ending last September, equivalent to annual carbon dioxide emissions of 17,200 cars.
The largest source of carbon dioxide comes from the purchase of electricity. Beard said his office, working with the Architect of the Capitol, will strive to meet all electricity needs, about 103,000 megawatt-hours per year, with renewable sources. Currently, more than half the electricity Congress buys is generated by coal. Only 2 percent comes from renewable fuels.
That alone, Beard said, would eliminate 57,000 tons a year of greenhouse gas emissions, the same as removing 11,000 cars from the roads. Another 7,130 tons would be saved with plans to convert overhead ceiling lights with high-efficiency lighting and controls.
He said these steps, and others including buying energy-efficient computers and furnishings containing recycled products and installing an Ethanol-85 tank for congressional vehicles, would still leave them about 34,000 tons short of meeting the carbon neutrality goal. This could be dealt with either by buying offset credits in the domestic market or contributing a per ton payment to a "green revolving fund" where revenues received from various sources are used for energy and water conservation initiatives.
On the Senate side, Rules and Administration Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has outlined a plan to audit energy use in all Senate buildings and reduce energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015 by installing high-efficiency lighting and buying renewable energy supplies.
All these efforts, said Anthony Kreindler, spokesman for Environmental Defense, are "meaningful not only for what they are doing for the Capitol, but it does set a good example for the rest of the country."
The biggest challenge remains the Capitol Power Plant, an eyesore located four blocks south of the Capitol. The plant hasn't generated power since 1952, but it does provide steam for heating and cooling.
The plant's boilers are fired using coal for 49 percent of their output and natural gas for 47 percent. While the plant is a fairly small source of air pollutants, it is still the District's third-biggest polluter, after two local power company plants.
"In the shadow of the nation's capital, we should expect more than a dirty power plant that pollutes the air and our community," Kerry said in a statement.
Lawmakers, dealing with the over-budget, still-unfinished $600 million Capitol Visitor Center, are in no mood to spend money on a new plant, and proposals to eliminate coal have been resisted by coal-state Sens. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
"With the emergence of new clean coal technologies, I believe coal should play a role in meeting the energy needs of the Capitol complex," Byrd said.
A proposed House spending bill for 2008 sets aside $3.9 million to begin replacing coal with greater use of natural gas. The Senate, in a nod to Byrd and McConnell, is backing a $3 million plan by Senate Environment Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., for a project that reduces carbon dioxide when coal is burned at the plant.
Governors call for clean coal funding
Huntsman's energy resolution gets support from his Western peers
Salt Lake Tribune - Monday, June 11, 2007
DEADWOOD, S.D. - Leaders of Western states banded together Sunday to call on the federal government for help in funding new technologies for clean coal energy.
Meeting in this historic 19th century gold mining town, the Western Governors' Association unanimously supported a resolution by Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. urging the federal government for money and flexibility to move ahead on a spectrum of energy technologies.
The primary goal: to make coal power environmentally acceptable for future generations by pumping its greenhouse emissions underground to combat global warming.
"With this resolution, the Western governors now have said, 'This is important work and we are committed to leading out on it,' " explained Huntsman's energy adviser Dianne Neilson.
The governors hope that federal funding for reducing coal pollution, spent in the East for decades, will begin to flow to Western states that not only have vast coal reserves but the subterranean geology to hold the resulting carbon gases underground.
The resolution emphasized funding large-scale testing of so-called carbon sequestration technology that allows carbon dioxide and other gases produced by coal-fired plants to be captured, compressed and stored deep in the earth rather than released into the atmosphere. The governors also called for support in developing renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.
"The West is on track if we continue to aggressively pursue these kinds of energy policies," said South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds. "More needs to be done to get this energy, including capturing and sequestering carbon."
A panel of energy experts briefed the governors on the technical and funding challenges of coal sequestering.
Gregory McRae, a professor of chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the governors that injecting carbon dioxide into the earth is feasible, but has yet to be proven on a large scale.
"We have to build public confidence in the technology's safety and that [the carbon dioxide] is going to stay there," McRae said. "There is a really critical need for large scale studies. We have to do some tests to convince the public this is a safe thing to do."
But Jonathan Schrag, director of the sustainable energy center at Columbia University's Earth Institute, warned carbon sequestering will not come cheap. Consumers can expect the price of electricity to climb from 30 percent to 60 percent.
Still, he encouraged the states to accept the risks of being pioneers in the technology, despite its early costs. Services and industries associated with carbon sequestering will cluster in the pioneering states, repaying the risk takers with high tech economic growth.
In answer to Huntsman's question on what states can do to expedite coal sequestering technology, McRae called for research on a Manhattan Project scale through meaningful incentive programs.
"It has to be incentive driven," said McRae. "That would open a much broader spectrum of solutions."
But John O'Donnell, president of the solar power company Ausra Inc., offered the governors an alternative to coal-power generation: large-scale renewable energy projects. The necessary technology, he said, is about to enter the market.
Solar, geothermal and wind energy's remaining barrier is finding cheap investment capital. Because lenders perceive a high risk in investing in yet-untested renewable energy projects, financing remains expensive, O'Donnell said. "How fast renewable energy enters the market and becomes viable depends on how fast we can deal with the risk-adjusted cost of capital," he said.
O'Donnell said the states must lend money directly or develop loan-guarantee programs to help renewable energy over this final barrier.
Decades later, still-steaming Centralia is home to just 10 people
CENTRALIA, Pa. -- Nearly a half-century after it began, the voracious mine fire that doomed this coal town in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania continues to burn hundreds of feet underground, uncontrolled and uncontrollable.
The fire began in 1962 at the town dump and ignited an exposed coal vein, eventually forcing an exodus that emptied Centralia of more than 1,000 people, nearly its entire population. Almost every house was demolished; the U.S. Postal Service canceled the town's ZIP code.
Centralia still beckons curiosity seekers. What they find is a ghost town like no other, a place with an intact street grid but almost nothing on it, where clouds of sulfurous steam waft from a rocky moonscape and the ground is warm to the touch.
About 10 holdouts still live here, ignoring government admonitions to leave. In a way, they are carrying on a tradition of proud defiance that is highlighted in a new book by the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Centralia coal miners.
In "The Day the Earth Caved In," first-time author Joan Quigley vividly explores why so many of Centralia's residents fought to stay in a town that was struggling economically even before the fire started, a place with "no stoplight or movie theater, no restaurant or grocery store."
Most Centralians ignored the fire for years and some denied its very existence, choosing to disregard the threat posed by dangerous gases and cave-ins.
For some, it was a simple matter of economics. Centralians worked low-paying jobs but for the most part owned their homes; they couldn't afford to move and take on a mortgage.
For others, it was a matter of pride. They had lived in Centralia all their lives, just as their grandfathers and great-grandfathers before them, and couldn't imagine abandoning it.
Centralians had "scraped for work after the mines closed," Quigley writes, and "swelled with pride in their homes, their children, and their community."
Quigley, 42, grew up in Cleveland but was regaled with tales of her Centralia ancestors. Her first visit to the tiny town 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia was at age 15, when she attended her grandmother's funeral. She began researching the book in 1999, interviewing nearly 200 current and former Centralians, government officials, journalists and others.
"It has been 25 years since people starting leaving and I think that has given many former residents time to get perspective, to start lives in other communities and move on," Quigley said in a recent phone interview.
Her book reveals indifference and incompetence at all levels of government, from the borough council on up through the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The fire could have been put out for thousands of dollars when it first started, Quigley writes, but bureaucratic inertia and bungling conspired to delay an effective response until it was too late.
For Centralia, Quigley writes, the beginning of the end came on Valentine's Day, 1981, when 12-year-old Todd Domboski was swallowed by a subsidence in his grandmother's backyard, coating him with hot, sticky muck but otherwise leaving him unhurt.
The incident attracted national media attention to the mine fire and led to the formation of a group of Centralia activists -- including an ex-hippie, a motorcycle shop owner and a young, pregnant housewife, all of whom feature prominently in Quigley's story -- who pressed the government to act.
But a sizable portion of Centralia's population resented the activists. They were led by Helen Womer, a bank teller who wanted to keep Centralia intact at all costs and who rejected both a proposed government buyout and a proposed trench that would have obliterated her home.
There has been a surge in interest in Centralia recently.
Along with Quigley's book, a new feature-length documentary, "The Town That Was," follows the exploits of 30-something John Lokitis, Centralia's youngest resident, as he tries to keep the town alive. It has been screened at various film festivals and will compete at the Los Angeles Film Festival later this month.
Evansville Courier & Press - Monday, June 11, 2007
ANTON, Ky. — Julie Robichaud has an herb garden in the back of her Hopkins County home.
Yarrow. Colts foot. Soapwort. Rosemary. Catmint.
Take the tour and she'll have you chew on cilantro and sample some stevia that she says is 300 times sweeter than sugar.
The 67-year-old woman will tell you that pineapple sage makes hummingbirds go crazy, that rosemary is sometimes used in landscaping and that it's not a good idea to mess around with foxglove because the stuff can kill you.
So what was the lady's background before she changed her focus to lemon grass, black cohosh and gooseberry bushes?
"I worked at the face, and I drove a shuttle car. When I became boss, I was one of Peabody's first women in that capacity.
"I never was afraid of going down the shaft. The worst thing I ever saw was a guy who got in an accident and his eyeball popped out."
Julie Robichaud laughs.
"There wasn't any place for a woman to go to the bathroom where it was, you know, private. I wouldn't drink any water and just try to hold it the whole shift. If that didn't work, I'd turn my light out and back away from where all the men was and try to find a good place."
Her husband Richard, 72, is a retired building inspector. He doesn't share his wife's knowledge of horseradish, basil and lavender.
"All I know in that backyard is where the tomato plants are."
Julie Robichaud points to a patch of Indian cup that she picked up in Texas while visiting her children.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Chamber rendered a decision regarding the legality of relying on the “waste treatment exclusion” for the construction of in-stream sediment ponds. The waste treatment exclusion refers to a long-standing regulatory interpretation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the federal Environmental Protection Agency where both agencies have treated sediment ponds and any area of stream between the toe of a valley fill and the inlet of a sediment pond as part of a water compliance or waste treatment system. The plaintiffs in the case have argued that the agencies application of this exclusion was in error, and that any stream segment between the toe of the fill and the inlet to the sediment pond remained “waters of the United States” for purposes of the Clean Water Act and that any discharge from the toe of a fill should be subject to Section 402 NPDES effluent limitations even before it enters the sediment pond. Judge Chambers sided with the plaintiffs in the case, disregarding 30 years of regulatory application by state and federal agencies, the most recent enunciation of which was published jointly by the Corps and EPA in March of 2006.
The challenge to the water compliance exclusion was part of a larger case challenging the Corps’ issuance of four Section 404 Individual Permits to subsidiaries of Massey Energy Company. Judge Chambers issued an adverse ruling on the four permits in March 2007. Motions to add several other Individual permits to the litigation are still under consideration by the Court. The Corps, the Massey subsidiaries and the Coal Association have already appealed the March 2007 decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, and we anticipate similar filings on this most recent decision. The Association is discussing the ramifications of the decision with counsel and the agencies involved, and we hope to have better guidance next week. For a copy of the decision, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
NMA will host the State Associations on June 20-21 in their Washington, DC offices. The heads of state associations will meet at 3 p.m. on the 20th followed by a reception for members of Congress and key staffers from eastern bituminous coal states. On June 21st, beginning at 8:30 a.m. a briefing for selected congressional staff members on key issues will begin the day’s agenda which follows:
Overview of Eastern Coal Production 2007 – Bill Caylor, KY Coal & Bill Raney, WVCA
Carbon Sequestration Technologies – George Ellis, PA Coal
Coal to Liquids – Mike Carey, Ohio Coal
Meeting with MSHA officials
Compliance & Challenges of the MINER Act – Terry Hudson, Peabody Energy
Mine Rescue – David Gooch, COA
Meet with U.S. Corps of Engineers
Overview of Environmental Litigation – Jason Bostic, WVCA & Bob McLusky, JK
Adjournment around 2 p.m.
The Coal Edition of The State Journal will be published on June 29th. Articles and ads have been submitted and we want to thank all of you who contributed to this publication.
The updated Association website is continuing to make progress and should be up and running around July 1st. Currently, plans for various interactive educational tools are in the works to help the community be exposed to the truth behind coal mining in West Virginia. The first project will consist of the many stages of the mine reclamation process and will use numerous photographs to help explain the process. We are excited to help educate people of all ages on the many misinterpreted aspects of such a fascinating industry.
The Association joined the Mayor of Charleston, Danny Jones, WVU's new President-elect Mike Garrison, Putnam County Judge O.C. Spaulding and other business officials on Wednesday, June 13, to welcome visitors from China's ShanxiProvince. Coal and energy were the topics of interest as the Province produces some 600 million tons of coal each year. The delegation was led by Mr. Song Beishan, Vice Governor of Shanxi Province and included eight other high ranking Province officials. The delegation began their visit in Morgantown and completed it on Thursday with a visit to Governor Manchin and a larger reception at the University of Charleston.
Mr. LingHu Zhengce Director General, Shanxi Development and Reform Commission
Mr.Qiao Liangsheng Deputy Director General, Department of CommerceShanxiProvince; Director General, Investment Promotion Agency, Shanxi Province
Mr.Guo Shufeng Deputy Director General, Economic Commission, Shanxi Province
Mr.Li Anjin Director, General Office of the People’ Government Shanxi Province
Mr. Ren Xiaotong Vice General Manager of Shanxi International Electric Power Group
Mr. Han Jincheng Deputy Director Department of Commerce, Shanxi Province Chief Representative, Business Development, Organizing Committee of CICENEXPO
Ms.Jin Jun Section Chief, Department of Commerce, Shanxi Province Chief Representative, Business Development, Organizing Committee of CICENEXPO
Mr.Zhang Pingyi Board Chairman, Shanxi Rongsheng International Coal & Energy New Industry Exhibition Co., Ltd; Deputy Director General of the Office of the Organizing Committee, China (TaiYuan) International Coal & Energy New Industry EXPO (CICENEXPO)
Ms.Wang Kongrui Consultant, Business Development of the Organizing Committee of CICENEXP
Next week's Tug Valley Mining Institute meeting will feature Association Board member Jim Bunn as the dinner speaker. The June 21st dinner is being sponsored by Guyan Heavy Machinery at the Brass Tree Restaurant in Williamson, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The third Annual July 20-22 Auto Fair is drawing near with Lonestar and Taylor Made as the featured acts, not to mention the many, many cars that will be available for viewing.
Mark your calendar and plan to attend this great Friends of Coal event.
The 18th Annual Hatfield Open, sponsored by the Kanawha Valley Mining Institute, is scheduled for Tuesday, September 18 at the Brier Patch Golf Club in Beckley, WV beginning at 11 a.m. This golf outing is to support the KVMI scholarship program and your participation is greatly appreciated, plus you have a GREAT time.
For full details go to: http://www.kvmi.org/user/2007%20Golf%20Notice.pdf