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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An uptick in the state business index can be attributed mostly to the state’s coal industry, and the West Virginia Coal is thanking state lawmakers for helping the industry survive recent years of austerity.

According to a recent report by West Virginia University, the Mountain State Business Index jumped 0.3 percent in August, marking the index's 11th month-to-month gain over the past 13 months. Coal production accounted for the majority of the 0.3 percent increase in the MSBI, thanks to a 3.9 percent jump in output from the previous month.

“Thanks to the West Virginia Legislature, which has passed each component of the Coal Jobs and Safety Act over the past few years, our industry has been able to weather the regulatory storm that came out of Washington for eight years,” said Coal Association President Bill Raney. “Now that we have a more favorable attitude towards the coal industry at the federal level, we have renewed confidence that West Virginia’s coalfields will continue to play a major role in the state’s economic growth.”

By Chris Hamilton
Co-chairman, West Virginia Coal Forum
Senior Vice President, West Virginia Coal Association

Morgantown City Council is starting down a dangerous path.

In late June, the Council began consideration of a resolution to have the city of Morgantown support the Paris Climate Accord’s overall emissions reduction goals.

This action flies in the face of what is best for West Virginia and the nation. Let’s remember that President Donald Trump officially paused American compliance with the Accord while he renegotiates better terms for our country.

If the resolution ultimately passes, Morgantown will join other cities that have taken independent action on climate change via the Paris Accord regardless of the economic consequences.

chris2017U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s recent visit to West Virginia serves to underscore the importance of West Virginia coal to President Donald Trump and his administration and another step toward ensuring that West Virginia coal remains the centerpiece of our state’s economy and to reap economic benefits for years to come.

While standing in front of Longview Power Plant, the nation’s most modern and cleanest burning coal-fired plant (yes, in West Virginia), Secretary Perry touted the importance of coal and coal-fired electricity to “base-load” generation and to national security.

 Last November's election of Trump represented a defining moment for our great state and for the West Virginia coal industry. This new leadership recognizes our natural resources as valuable assets, and they have pledged to aggressively advance policies designed to promote and foster full development of our energy industries. In a few short months, President Trump has effectively halted major anti-coal regulations created by President Obama from going into effect. Rest assured these rules, including the Stream Buffer Zone rule, the Clean Power Plan, Waters of the United States rule and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, would have decimated the industry as we know it today.

After enduring years of flat economic growth, subsidies for competitive fuels and perhaps most importantly, a president who used every resource and federal agency to work against coal production, the new direction offered by President Trump and Secretary Perry is a welcomed and refreshing change.

With these policy actions by President Trump, we’ve already seen renewed confidence and interest in West Virginia coal from the investment community toward financing coal mining operations. We also have experienced a modest uptick in pricing levels and growth in metallurgical coal operations. Miners previously furloughed have been called back to work and a few new mines have opened during this same period. Coalfield residents are seeing coal being trucked and moving again by rail and barge, and just like music to their ears, it is being equated to good times and job opportunities.

Whether or not these favorable trends can be sustained going forward depends largely on our ability to partner with our federal government to maximize the opportunities in front of us as they take the reins off our domestic energy assets and the policies that govern them.

As coal markets begin to blossom, we must be prepared to move quickly and offer the finest quality coal, produced by the best miners in the world, at the lowest price possible. A more competitive tax structure and a continued modernization of mining rules are just two macro-level policies we should pursue.

JULY 14-15, 2017
Raleigh County Memorial Airport | Beckley, West Virginia

Fourteen years ago, members of the mining industry, local businessmen, and car enthusiasts came together with a plan to hold a fundraiser to help support the maintenance and operation of the just completed YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex, which was built on several acres of land sitting on a former mine refuse site in Beckley, West Virginia.  The end product became the Friends of Coal Auto Fair - an event that not only met the initial goal of supporting this state-of-the-art facility, but one that has grown to support the local economy and the community of southern West Virginia.

Due to improvements at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex the Auto Fair was postponed for one year and resumed in 2016 at a new location, the Raleigh County Memorial Airport.  Thousands of people from all over the country gathered the third weekend in July of last year to take part in the car show, live music, special performances, helicopter rides and festival food - all for the common cause of giving back to the community of Southern WV.  In order to continue to make this event an incredible success and the cause a reality, we need your support.  

We have had a tremendous amount of interest in this year’s Annual Meeting so we are terrifically excited for our 17th meeting and the 2nd we have shared with the West Virginia Coal Mining Institute at the beautiful Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV. 

The jam-packed three days are:
Thursday, August 3rd through Saturday, August 5th

Designed for your family to share in the camaraderie of our Association while exchanging ideas and information during the interesting programs that will bring you the most up-to-date topics relevant to our operations and providing hours for your annual engineering training. 

Schedule:

  • We begin with our Board of Directors meeting on Thursday afternoon, followed immediately by the great Welcoming Reception, sponsored by our Associate Members.  

  • Friday begins early with the annual Fun Run (or walk)

  • WV Mining Institute’s detailed technical program and the usual golf tournament on the famous Old White Course. 

  • Of course, Friday night is completed on Kate’s Mountain with the most popular buffet, featuring everything from brown beans to filets and lobster tails, entertainment and unbelievable deserts. 

  • Saturday morning opens with the Association’s program featuring updates on industry issues, followed by the family brunch to which all spouses and children are welcome and includes a program of inspiration from a nationally known personality. 

It all is designed for you and your family. 

Please take a moment and complete the enclosed registration information and return it to me (sdavison@wvcoal.com) so we can begin to finalize plans for this great event.
 
You will also find attached The Greenbrier's room reservation form, which should be completed and sent directly to The Greenbrier (we do not make room reservations) Jessica Dowdy is our reservations at the hotel so if you call just ask for her and make sure and mention the Coal Association meeting.  In returning your meeting registration be sure your e-mail address is included so we can keep you up to date with the emerging details as the program is completed. 

We look forward to seeing you and your family in August, if not before.  Please call if you have questions or need more information.


West Virginia Coal Association - PO Box 3923 - Charleston, WV 25339 | 304-342-4153 | website developed by brickswithoutstraw