WV DEP Secretary Harold Ward announced last week that Jonathan Rorrer has been appointed acting Director of the Division of Mining & Reclamation. Originally from Logan, WV, Rorrer started at WV DEP as a inspector in training at the Logan Field Office. Rorrer rose through the ranks, holding various positions including Inspector, Inspector Specialist, Inspector Supervisor, Acting Enforcement Coordinator, and most recently as the Deputy Director for Program Development. He is a 2004 graduate of Marshall University. Harold Ward, the previous Division of Mining & Reclamation Director, was appointed by Governor Justice to be the Secretary of WV DEP last week.
Last week, West Virginia coal production increased at one its highest week over week rates since the COVID pandemic, going up +12.8% from the previous week. State production from the NAPP region increased by +14.34% and output from the CAPP region of the state increased by almost +11%. Nationally, coal production increased by +9.6%. Production from the entire Appalachian region increased by
+8.7%. Production from the Interior region increased by +9.2% and Western output increased by just over +10%.
Last week West Virginia coal production followed a national trend, with statewide production decreasing by -3.6%, with production from the NAPP region of the state declining by -3% and production from the CAPP region decreasing by just over -4%. National coal production declined by just over -6%. Production in the Appalachian region declined by -6% from the previous week, Western region production fell by -5.9% and output from the Interior region declined by almost -6 ½ % week over week.
Thermal coal prices were static from the previous week. U.S. natural gas prices increased slightly in all the regions / hubs, increasing an average of +1.43% ($0.04) from the previous week.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has reported that 2020 saw a historic low number of coal mining fatalities nationwide, even amid health risks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
MSHA reported there were 29 mining fatalities in 2020, including just five occurring in coal mines. West Virginia was the site of two of those coal mine fatalities, with one occurring at a closed mine.
Charleston, W.Va. - - Chris Hamilton, President of the West Virginia Coal Association, offers the following statement regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) ruling vacating the Affordable Clean Energy Rule and remanding it back to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for further consideration:
“On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the D.C. Circuit rejected arguments by the EPA and effectively vacated the agencies Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule regulating greenhouse gases from coal fired electric utilities.