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New Members

 At the Board of Director’s meeting on Wednesday of the Symposium the following memberships were approved:  EnerNOC, a provider of energy management solutions, with Jerry Whitsitt as their contact; Gress Engineering, PC, a provider of consulting services of the mining industry, with Paul Maggard contact; J.P. Morgan, a lender and capital adviser, with contact Randall Atkins; Pennington Seed, Inc., a source of reclamation products and also do on-site consultation for reclamation projects, contact Dan Cosgrove; and, Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers, heavy equipment sales to and for the industry, Eric White contact.  Welcome to all the new members.

Jobs & Production Endangered

What is the real cost of the agency’s delays of mining permits?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to hold up 20 coal mining permits along with dozens more across the region as part of their “Enhanced Review” process.

What does that mean for our coal miners and the state’s economy?

An analysis of the permits being delayed shows that the de facto moratorium on issuing permits is endangering approximately 1,800 jobs and almost 19 million tons of annual production – approximately 12 percent of the state’s total coal production.

In terms of long-term impacts, the total life-of-mine (permit) production put in limbo by the agency is approximately 132 million tons.
Givens to Chair Mining Permits Committee
Wheeling News-Register - February 10, 2010
Delegate Roy Givens will chair a new House committee charged with reviewing issues pertaining to coal mining permits in West Virginia.
The appointment of Givens, D-Brooke, was announced Tuesday by House Speaker Richard Thompson, D-Wayne.
The Select Committee on Coal Mining Permits was established in the House of Delegates last week through a unanimous vote. The move comes after West Virginia leaders recently spoke out because federal officials have stopped or delayed necessary mining permits for companies seeking to open new mines in the state.
According to Thompson, the committee will be charged with studying all issues relevant to the procedures of federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining, as well as the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
"For the past several months, I have been discussing my concern regarding the delays in the mine permitting process," Thompson said in a released statement. "This committee will work to monitor the status of pending mining permits, seek timetables for the issuance of permits and strive to better understand what issues need to be resolved to achieve consistency and uniformity throughout the permitting process."
In addition to Givens, other members of the committee are Delegates Sam Cann, D-Harrison; Tim Manchin, D-Marion; Greg Butcher, D-Logan; and John Shott, R-Mercer.
"A big part of our job will be to gather information, work with the involved agencies and facilitate a discussion among both regulatory officials and other affected parties," Givens said. "We'll be dealing with a very complex process. What we're seeking is some clarity."


Communications & Tracking Workshop

MSHA will be conducting a Communications & Tracking Workshop on Wednesday, March 17 from 9 a.m. to 4p.m. at the Approval & Certification Center in Triadelphia, WV.  MSHA will present the latest communications and tracking technology developments and implementation issues to the underground coal mining industry.  Call Debbie Pawloski at 304-547-2012 or e-mail: pawloski.debra@dol.gov

Bissett Named President of KCA

Kentucky Coal Association (KCA) Chairman Charlie Wesley announced that the board of directors of the KCA has elected Bill Bissett to serve as the President of the KCA.  Bissett is currently employed as the Chief of Staff / Senior Vice President for Communications of Marshall University, located in Huntington, West Virginia.

“I would like to thank the KCA board of directors for the opportunity to represent Kentucky coal and to communicate the message of its vital importance to this state and nation,” Bissett said. “I am excited and energized at this great opportunity to play a role in advancing Kentucky coal, the low cost electricity generation that it provides, and the critical manufacturing and other related job opportunities across the State that are dependent upon the success of Kentucky coal.”

Bissett has had experience in numerous aspects of mass media, public relations and marketing. Prior to working for Marshall University, Bissett was Vice President of Public Relations at Charles Ryan Associates (CRA), an integrated marketing agency located in Charleston, West Virginia, where he led the Friends of Coal campaign for the agency. Prior to working at CRA, Bissett was responsible for the communications of the West Virginia Department of Transportation and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree and Master of Arts in Journalism from Marshall University, and is anticipated to complete his doctorate in Higher Education Leadership in 2012.

“On behalf of our 23 member companies and 100 associate member companies, it is my pleasure to welcome Bill Bissett to this important leadership position,” Wesley said. “Bill possesses a strong background in communication and management, and he played a significant leadership role in the implementation of the Friends of Coal outreach program.  Bill brings a passion for the coal industry to this position, and I am confident that his passion will be contagious. While the current membership of The Kentucky Coal Association represents more than 75% of Kentucky’s annual coal production, the Association’s message and efforts benefit every coal producer and end-user in the Commonwealth.   Under Bill’s leadership, the Association will become an even stronger unified voice of Kentucky coal’s message.”


Lieberman Prints

Most of you are quite familiar with, and have even supported, the work of Thorney Lieberman, the Charleston photographic artist who developed a unique portrait series honoring coal miners.  For those of you who may not be familiar with Thorney’s work, I urge you to view it at www.AmericasCoalMiners.com.  One of his portraits is featured on the cover of WVCA’s 2009 Coal Facts, and we featured one of his portraits on the back of ICG’s 2008 Annual Report.  The portraits are a series of life-sized photographs of actual coal miners and are visually stunning.

In any event, in recognition of the fact that most people do not have the appropriate space to hang a life-sized miner in their home or office, Thorney has developed a print format that captures the essence of his project on a smaller scale that is both appropriate for the home or office and quite affordable.  (I have one on display in my home.)  Thorney can produce his unique photographic pieces for you on an approximately 14 ½ “ W by 23” H metal background (like the life-size gallery exhibits).  These smaller pieces can be purchased from Thorney for $450 each (sales tax not included).  (As a side, Thorney also pays a portion of the sale price of his work to the particular subject of the print.)

If you wish to purchase one, please contact Thorney directly (I have copied his email link above) or through his website.