Former Association Board member, Jim Thomas, II, passed away on Wednesday in Charleston.  Jim was well known throughout the industry as he and his brother, Newt, operated Carbon Fuel for a number of years.  Since his retirement, he had been in numerous statewide organizations and a wide variety of civic activities in Charleston and the Kanawha Valley.  Jim was inducted in the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame in 2000.  Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home in Charleston is in charge of arrangements which are incomplete at this time.

Congresswoman Shelley Capito has joined with co-sponsors Barr, Shimkus, Lummis, Stivers, Wagner, Johnson, Griffith, Whitfield, McKinley, and Latta to introduce the Coal Jobs Protection Act in the House.  The bill number is H.R. 1829.

The bill proposes controls on the EPA in order to prevent the withdrawal (veto) of permits after issuance, as occurred with the Spruce permit.  A companion bill in the U.S Senate is being sponsored by Senator Mitch McConnell.

The WV Board of Coal Mine Health & Safety promulgated an "Emergency Rule" designed to close a major loop hole in the State's mandatory drug testing program.

The Board's "Emergency Rule", which becomes effective on July 1, extends the reporting and decertification requirements in current state law to all individuals who fail a drug or alcohol test prescribed under state law.  Heretofore, only cases involving a positive drug test that resulted in discharge, were reported to the Office of Miners’ Health, Safety & Training for disciplinary action and suspension of mining certification privileges.

The Association filed comments earlier this week regarding the proposal from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to add streams to the 303(d) list of impaired waters for the State of West Virginia.

EPA published a notice in the Federal Register on Monday, April 8, 2013 in which it proposed adding 255 additional stream segments to the list of impaired waters for the State of West Virginia.  On March 25, 2013 EPA notified the state by letter that it was partially disapproving the state’s proposed 303(d) list of impaired waters.  EPA’s partial disapproval was based on the state’s decision not to place additional streams on the list of impaired waters for biological impairment using the West Virginia Stream Condition Index (WV SCI).

According to U.S. International Trade Commission data for Jan-Mar 2013, U.S. coal exports were up 11.2% y/y to 31.8 million tons. Metallurgical coal exports for this period increased 4% y/y to 18.2 million tons. The y/y growth is primarily attributable to thermal coal exports, which were up 23% y/y to 13.6 million tons for the same period. The March 2013 export figure totaled 13.6 million tons, up from 8.6 million in tons in February and represented the single largest ever month for U.S. coal exports.

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