CHARLESTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s veto of Arch Coal’s Spruce Mine permit in West Virginia demonstrates a total lack of respect for the legitimate permit review and issuance procedures that are implemented by the State and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is an affront to the working men and women at the Spruce Mine and the people of West Virginia, WV Coal Association officials announced today.
Bill Raney, President of the WV Coal Association, said, “I am shocked, dismayed and disgusted at EPA’s actions. All of the other agencies involved in the Spruce Mine permit have disagreed and opposed EPA’s efforts to initiate this veto action.  This is the most extreme example to date of EPA’s disregard and lack of respect for the will and intent of our Governor, the West Virginia Legislature and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to interpret and implement West Virginia statutes and programs.”
“It is beyond understanding how EPA, especially in these tough economic times, can play regulatory games and revoke a permit that has been issued for three years and where men and women are working and coal production has already started. EPA’s actions today will cast a long shadow over the Appalachian coal industry and only increase the uncertainly already created by EPA’s year old interference in the permitting of coal mining operations in Appalachia and West Virginia.”
We urge our Congressional delegation to join with the Governor and members of the West Virginia Legislature and coal miners across the state to participate vigorously in the public hearing and input process that will follow this disappointing announcement from EPA.
Don Nicewonder, a life-long coal operator, and J. Brett Harvey, President and Chief Executive Officer of CONSOL Energy,  will be inducted into the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Friday evening, May 8, at Stonewall Resort in Lewis County.  The event starts at 6:30 pm.

Bill Raney, President of the West Virginia Coal Association, said, “The Coal Hall of Fame was created to honor and celebrate the careers and accomplishments of individuals who have had a significant impact on the West Virginia mining industry.  Don and Brett are trail blazers in the coal industry – both regionally and nationally – and they are very deserving of this honor.”

Nicewonder spent more than fifty years in the coal industry before selling his mining interests in 2005.  He owned and operated multiple coal operations in West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky, including White Flame Energy, Premium Energy and Twin Star Mining.   His operations received numerous safety and reclamation awards, including winning West Virginia’s highest reclamation award four times.

Bassmaster Elite Series champion Jeremy Starks will begin the 2009 tournament season this month with enthusiasm generated from a love of fishing, a great win from last year and a new West Virginia-themed look for his Bass Cat fishing boat and truck.  

Starks, who won the Bassmaster Elite Series Southern Pro Challenge in Decatur, Alabama last June, will begin the 2009 tournament season during the March 12-15 Battle On The Border on Lake Armistad in Del Rio, Texas.  

New for 2009, Starks boat and truck design will feature strong, bright colors, the state capitol dome, fishing art and a message about clean coal power.  His sponsors include the Friends of Coal, Walker Machinery Co., Pocahontas Land and One Stop Convenience Stores, among others.

Britnee Gibson, a 17-year old senior at Gilbert High School, is every bit the “coal miner’s daughter.  She was born and raised in the coal fields of southern West Virginia. Her father, Dwain, is a diesel mechanic and works for a coal hauling company.  Gibson is proud of the industry and the work her father does.

During the just-ended 2009 session of the West Virginia State Legislature, Gibson led the effort to have coal named the official “state rock.”  The effort grew out of a project Gibson did for the CEDAR Regional Coal Fair in 2007.

“I realized the state didn’t have an official state rock,” Gibson said, “and I thought, what better to be the state rock than coal.”

Thirty-two West Virginia mining operations were recognized for stellar safety efforts in 2008 during the West Virginia Coal Association’s 36th Annual Mining Symposium on Thursday.  Coal Association President Bill Raney presented the awards.

“Our companies strive to meet the highest standards of safety.” Raney stated.  “The award winners are fantastic examples of our industry-wide commitment to safety. They are all to be commended for the hard work they put in making sure their operations are as safe as possible.” 

Raney said Phoenix Coal-MAC Mining’s Holden 22 surface mine in Mingo County, an Arch Coal subsidiary, took the top honor for surface mines, claiming the Bart B. Lay, Jr. Milestones of Safety Award. Consolidated Coal Company’s Blacksville E2 mine in Monongalia County claimed the first annual Eustace Frederick Milestones of Safety Award for underground mines.  

“Both Phoenix Coal-MAC and Consol have taken steps above and beyond what is required by state and federal regulations,” Raney said. “ They are the truly dedicated to the safety of their employees, and they are greatly deserving of this award.” 

The West Virginia Coal Association’s Mountaineer Guardian Awards are presented each year to mining companies that have demonstrated a commitment to safety standards.  Inspectors for the West Virginia Office of Mine Health Safety and Training nominate companies based on numerous criteria.  

The companies receiving Mountaineer Guardian Awards for 2008 are listed on the following pages.  For additional information, contact Bill Raney, Chris Hamilton or T.L. Headley at (304) 342-4153.

All Award Winners 2008


International Coal Group        Upshur County        Imperial Mine
Eastern Associated Coal        Monongalia County        Federal #2
Brooks Run Mining Co.         McDowell County        Cucumber Mine
Elk Creek Mining Coal, Inc.        Boone County            Castle Mine
Aracoma Coal Coal. Inc.         Logan County            Hernshaw Mine
Laurel Creek Coal, Inc.         Mingo County            No. 1 Mine
Brooks Run  Mining Company, LLC    Webster County        Poplar Ridge #1
Pocahontax Coal Company,        Raleigh County        Josephine No. 2


Oxford Mining Company        Brooke County        Crosscreek
Extra Energy Inc.            McDowell County        Castus Ridge
Simmons Fork Mining, Inc.         Wyoming County         Paynter Branch
Hobet Mining LLC            Boone County            West Ridge
Premium Energy LLC            Mingo County            Surface Mine 2
Phoenix Coal-MAC Inc.         Mingo County            Phoenix Surface #4
Simmons Fork Mining, Inc.         Raleigh County         Ewing Fork, No. 1
International Coal Group                     Webster County        Birch River Surface

Preparation Plants

International Coal Group – Beckley LC    Upshur        Sawmill Run Prep. Plant
Kepler Processing Co., LLC             Wyoming    Kepler No. 1 Prep Plant
Mingo Logan Coal Company            Logan        Cardinal Prep Plant
Pine Ridge Coal Company            Boone         Big Mountain Prep Plant
Rockspring Development Inc.         Wayne     Camp Creek Plant
Patriot Coal                    Boone         Harris Plant
ICG Eastern LLC                Webster    Birch River Plant
Brooks Run Mining Co.             Webster    Erbacon Plant
Internatonal Coal Group, Beckley LLC    Raleigh    Beckley Pocahontas
Kingston Resources, Inc.             Fayette        Kingston Processing
Maple Coal Company                Fayette        Maple Prep Plant.
Fola Coal Company                Clay         Peach Orchard Prep Plant

J.F. Allen Company                     
Aggregates Quarry

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