Legislative leaders from both parties expressed strong support for the West Virginia coal industry at a Legislative Conference in Charleston last week.  Senate Majority Leader Truman Chafin (Mingo) said “the Obama administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are taking a “harsh stand” against coal.  They have a whole new attitude about the coal industry.”  House Majority Leader Brent Boggs (Braxton) pointed out the significance of the industry by saying “We absolutely have to have that revenue.  If we don't have that revenue, we'll be in a world of hurt in West Virginia. This is not a partisan issue. It's a West Virginia issue." Senate Minority Whip Clark Barnes (Randolph), said the state must continue to invest in clean-coal technologies. "That's good for our coal industry and exports right now. We're exporting a tremendous amount of coal right now." and House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (Kanawha) suggested the Legislature establish a select committee to react to federal legislation that affects the coal and energy industry in West Virginia.   He said further, "We need to be prepared to address those impacts on the state level.  We are all concerned about the future of coal."  The leaders also expressed concern over the pending “cap & trade” legislation pending in Congress.
The West Virginia Coal Association website was met with over 4500 visits for the month of December.  The total page views for the month exceeded 11,000 with new content constantly being added.  The site saw 73 percent of those visits from new visitors with over 70 percent of all visitors coming from search engines. Lastly, the site saw visits from over 70 different countries and territories.
The Friends of Coal website continues to attract and interest and new visitors from all over the world.  In fact, we saw traffic from 50 different countries and territories while in total the site saw over 2,000 visitors last month.  In total, over 7,000 page views and over 77 percent were first time visitors.
International Resource Partners LP (“IRP”) today announced that it has acquired substantially all of the coal reserves and certain operating assets of Miller Bros. Coal, LLC, the operating subsidiary of Clearwater Natural Resources, LP of Prestonsburg, KY.
Miller Bros. Coal produces steam coal in Floyd, Knott, Breathitt, Johnson and Martin Counties in Eastern Kentucky and controls over 35 million tons of reserves with the ability to produce up to 3 million tons of coal annually from its 5 mining complexes.
With the acquisition of Miller Bros. Coal, IRP controls over 80 million tons of steam and metallurgical coal and has the ability to produce over 5 million tons annually from its surface and underground mines in West Virginia and Kentucky. In addition, IRP’s coal sales and marketing company, Logan & Kanawha, has increased its access to the CSX and Norfolk Southern rail lines and the Big Sandy River.
The TVMI will not have a meeting in January or February, their next meeting will be held March 18 with Guest Speaker, Jim McCaffrey.  Location and time are yet to be determined but will be posted in this publication when they become available.

The practice of mountaintop mining was the subject of a recent episode of Decisionmakers, a news feature of the West Virginia Media Network with host Bray Carey.

If you want to see what mountaintop mining really looks like --- what it really means for southern West Virginia -- take a look at this video.



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