We Have a Bright Future if We Take the Right Steps Today

By BILL RANEY, president
West Virginia Coal Association

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Bill Raney
According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), an office of the federal Department of Energy, West Virginia coal production year-to-date is up 20 percent over the same period last year, and we appear on target to possibly cross the 100 million ton level for the full year. Our mines are once again producing, we are beginning to rehire miners after eight long, hard years of fighting to just stay in business.
 
Even so, we remain a long way from the 170 million tons we produced in 2008, before the Obama Administration began its war on coal. And we may never get back to those levels, because most of those 400 coal-fired power generation units Obama shut down with his regulatory assault have been torn down, left to rust or converted to natural gas.
 
The good news is the world never stopped recognizing the value of coal, and 2,200 new coal-fired power plants are scheduled to go online between now and 2040. Many of those plants will look to import their supplies and we plan to be the source of much of that coal. We are uniquely located close to rail and barge transportation to major coal port facilities. And our metallurgical coal remains plentiful and second to none in quality.
 
The recovery in the state’s coal industry has played itself out through the entire economy, with state unemployment levels dropping from double-digits just a year or so ago to 4.4 percent today – led by a recovery of the coalfield economy.
 
But none of this would be possible without the 2016 election of President Trump – who has kept every promise he made to our coal miners and the people of our state. He has one-by-one rescinded every anti-coal regulation enacted by the Obama Administration, and he continues to do more. Just recently, his Department of Energy issued a report that said it is vital for the U.S. to preserve its coal fleet for the sake of the stability and reliability of the electric grid.
 
It also appears likely that the president will strip away the billions of dollars of grants and tax credits that have propped up the renewable energy industry for the past eight years, finally returning the energy markets to a level playing field. And that’s all we’ve ever asked for – a fair chance to compete.
 
The Trump Administration has stepped up and done its part. Now it is time for the state government to do its part to position us to compete in the world marketplace. We need to reduce costs across the industry. To do so, we need to reduce the state tax rate on the coal industry. We need to cut severance taxes, cut property taxes (particularly for idled property so it can be held for future use) and remove outdated regulatory constraints.
 
Most of all, we need state agencies to recognize the value of our coal industry. We believe most do. If there is one good outcome of the past eight years it is that many state leaders have been reminded of that importance. However, in the effort to find ways to plug a budget hole, we are concerned they will see coal as a source for that revenue. That can’t happen. The state’s coal industry is barely getting back on its feet and we need investment to continue that climb. We need to have capital for improvements freed up and not locked up in taxes.
 
We are confident our current Legislature and Governor Justice understand this need. And we see a bright future for West Virginia coal if given a chance.
 
Yours,
 
Bill
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Trump Outlines Economic Plan that will Restore our Nation’s Economy and put our People Back to Work

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As I’m sure everyone knows, Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, laid out details of his “America First” economic plan in a speech in Detroit earlier this week, that was carried live on nationwide television. While he spoke of tax reductions and reform and changing and/or nullifying trade agreements, the significance to our industry were his proposals for regulatory reform and advancing a workable energy program that will put our people back to work. Below are some of the pertinent excerpts from his speech that will give you a feel for the positive tone of his proposals …
“The U.S. economy today is twenty-five percent smaller than it would have been without the surge of regulations since 1980.”
“Upon taking office, I will issue a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations.”
“I will also immediately cancel all illegal and overreaching executive orders. Next, I will ask each and every federal agency to prepare a list of all of the regulations they impose on Americans which are not necessary, do not improve public safety, and which needlessly kill jobs. Those regulations will be eliminated.”
“The Obama-Clinton Administration has blocked and destroyed millions of jobs through their anti-energy regulations, while raising the price of electricity for both families and businesses. As a result of recent Obama EPA actions coal-fired power plants across Michigan have either shut down entirely or undergone expensive conversions. The Obama-Clinton war on coal has cost Michigan over 50,000 jobs. Hillary Clinton says her plan will ‘put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of business.’
“We will put our coal miners and steelworkers back to work.”
“American steel will send new skyscrapers soaring. We will put new American metal into the spine of this nation. It will be American hands that rebuild this country, and it will be American energy – mined from American sources – that powers this country.”
“We are ready to show the world that America is Back – Bigger, and Better and Stronger Than Ever Before.”

There are other highlights in the release that accompanied the speech. Those highlights include lifting restrictions on American energy, rescinding the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and Waters of the United States regulations, cancelling the Paris Climate Agreement and stopping all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.

Bill Raney, president
West Virginia Coal Association

WVCA Lauds Trump Pledge to Restore American Industrial and Mining Jobs: 

Team of Trump and Cole Provides Leadership We Need to Rebuild our Economy

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney today issued the following statement lauding presumptive GOP nominee for President Donald Trump for his comments following last night’s victories in the nation’s final primaries.

Sierra Exif JPEG“Last night, Donald Trump made it absolutely clear that he is who we need as president if we want to restore our nation’s economy,” Raney said. “And he reminded us all of what America can be if our industries are allowed to compete on a level playing field.

“As Mr. Trump said in his brief comments following his wrapping up the party’s nomination, ‘Every election year politicians promise change and every year they fail to deliver. And the one thing we have learned is we can’t solve our problems by relying on politicians who have created our problems.’

“For the past eight years, the Obama administration has done everything possible to put our coal miners out of work and destroy the nation’s coal industry, and Hillary Clinton has promised the same thing! We can’t afford another four or eight years  of leaders who have shown themselves willing to destroy our own basic industries while bankrupting our nation.

“Mr. Trump is right, our coal miners – our wonderful and hardworking miners, who have been absolutely and totally mistreated by this administration – deserve respect for the work they have done and continue to do to make this country great.  They absolutely don’t deserve to be the target of ridicule and callous disregard for their economic futures.

“Mr. Trump says he “will reduce regulatory pressures from their current insane levels” and bring an end to the War on Coal.  When this occurs and we return to a situation in which the market determines winners and losers I am certain we can once again compete and restore our coal mining jobs. Our coal is the best in the world. Our coal miners are the best in the world, and given a fair chance, they can compete with anyone, anywhere.”

“Mr. Trump says he is a ‘fighter’ and if he is forced to fight he ‘will never back down.’ Our coal miners are too. We have fought this fight for almost eight years and we will not stop.

“West Virginia is suffering.  America is suffering, but as Mr. Trump says, we CAN turn this around.

“We believe the team of Trump and GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Cole provides the leadership our state and our nation needs as we restore our economy and our people’s faith in the greatness of America.  And yes, it is long past time to put America – and West Virginia – first once again. “

 

 

 

West Virginia Coal Association Endorses Trump for President

By BILL RANEY, president
West Virginia Coal Association

donald-trump-mug_5fea106e0eb494469a75e60d8f2b18ea.nbcnews-fp-320-320CHARLESTON – The membership of the West Virginia Coal Association today announced it is endorsing Donald Trump, Republican of New York, for the office of president of the United States in this year’s election.  The unanimous decision was made at a membership meeting in Charleston earlier today.

“Donald Trump has been firm and clear throughout his campaign in his commitment to rebuild America’s basic industries – the industries that made this country great – such as coal, steel and manufacturing” said Bill Raney, WVCA president, in announcing the endorsement. “Trump has said he will reverse the Democratic regulatory assault that has cost the coal industry more than 40 percent of our production and jobs since 2008.”

“In contrast, Hillary Clinton’s proposals essentially double-down on the job killing Obama policies,” Raney continued. “West Virginia can’t afford that and neither can the nation.”

“We believe that with the leadership team of Donald Trump in the White House and Bill Cole as Governor, West Virginia will begin to rebuild what we have lost to the Obama War on Coal and also look to the future once again with confidence.”

Bill Raney is president of the West Virginia Coal Association, a trade association in Charleston, West Virginia, representing approximately 95 percent of the state’s coal production.

WV Business & Industry Council Disappointed in Gov. Tomblin’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President  

Chris Hamilton
Chairman, WV Business & Industry Council
April 30, 2016

Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Business & Chris-HamiltonIndustry Council (BIC) is extremely disappointed that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin decided to endorse a presidential candidate who has expressed nothing but disdain for West Virginia’s coal industry and the thousands of families it supports.

“Gov. Tomblin calls West Virginia’s coalfields home, and his endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president means our governor officially is turning his back on the plight of the thousands of West Virginians and their families who are struggling because of the Obama Administration’s war on Appalachian coal,” said BIC Chairman Chris Hamilton. “Mrs. Clinton has stated clearly and unambiguously on national television that her administration will put even more coal miners out of work. Why would West Virginia’s chief executive declare that this person is right for West Virginia and the rest of the nation

“In his announcement throwing support behind Clinton, Tomblin said he has concerns about her position on fossil fuels,” Hamilton continued. “Well, his concerns should stretch to the entire U.S. economy because her plans for America will be nothing more than a continuation of Obama’s reign of economic terror. Clinton is bad for West Virginia, and Clinton is bad for America. We need a change, not more of the same ill-fated and short-sighted economic policy that we have had for the last seven years.”

The West Virginia Business & Industry Council’s goal is to enhance the business climate in West Virginia, and its members have been working to that end for more than three decades.

For additional information, contact Chris Hamilton at (304) 549-8231.

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Coal Association VP thinks Manchin should not support Garland nomination

By Alex Wiederspiel in News | April 05, 2016 at 6:43PM

CLARKSBURG, Chris-HamiltonW.Va. — Chris Hamilton, the Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association, does not think Senator Joe Manchin should need any additional input on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Justice Garland is a sitting judge on the D.C. Circuit, and he’s had a number of EPA cases before him,” Hamilton said Tuesday on the MetroNews-affiliated “The Mike Queen Show” on the AJR News Network. “And he has, almost without exception, upheld the agency’s rules, rule making, and requirements that it has proposed and implemented.”

The WV Coal Association sent an open letter to Senator Manchin expressing their disapproval of the nominee.

“We’d like to see Senator Manchin join with the core of U.S. senators who have vowed not to seat Justice Garland,” he said.

Garland has been at the center of a largely partisan fight between Democrats and Republicans in Washington D.C. over whether or not the Senate would hold any confirmation hearings–or even meet with Garland–following his nomination to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

Hamilton said his association wouldn’t support a nomination that supported the Clean Power Plan, which is facing myriad legal challenges.

“That’s what prompted the letter to Senator Manchin,” he said. “Just remind him of the fact that this Clean Power Plan remains as this President’s center piece of his Administration.”

Hamilton was quick to blame the EPA and the Obama Administration for the losses suffered by the coal industry.

“That program has resulted in the complete decimation of the state’s coal industry, shutting down record number of mines, laying off of thousands and thousands of miners practically just destroying our state’s economy,” he said.

Senator Manchin reportedly met with Garland on Tuesday.

Since President Obama announced Garland as the nominee, Manchin held a town hall in Charleston to discuss it with constituents.

He also vowed not to support the nomination if Garland was “adamantly entrenched” against the fossil fuel industry.

 

 

11,000: The Casualties of the War on Coal

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MA

11,000….Boots

That’s how many West Virginia coal miners have lost their jobs in the past seven years.

That’s 11,000 families whose lives were turned upside down by the policies of the Obama Administration and the National Democratic Party.

And each one of those 11,000 jobs supported another 5 jobs… that’s another 55,000 jobs and another 55,000 families.

When you stop to consider that most of these people were in the prime years of their lives, most had kids, mortgages, truck payments, they were saving for college, saving for retirement….

Their taxes paid for schools, for roads, for water and sewer lines. They paid for sheriff’s deputies and programs for senior citizens.

Today, those jobs are gone and so are the taxes…

This is the legacy of the Obama Administration, the national Democratic Party and the radicals who control the EPA.  Over the next few months, we are going to be making a decision about who will lead our state and nation forward for the next eight years.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would continue Obama’s anti-coal policies and, double down on them, costing even more coal jobs . We can’t afford that.
We aren’t telling you who to vote for…. but we can tell you who NOT to vote for if you care about our state and its future.  A vote for Clinton or Sanders will destroy our state … it’s that simple….

Make your votes count … choose wisely.

Clinton and Sanders Out of Touch with Real Needs of Americans

Clinton wants to “…put coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

CHARLESTON – West Virginia Coal Association

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President Bill Raney today issued the following statement about recent comments by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

“For the past eight years, the Obama administration has done everything possible to put our coal miners out of work and destroy the nation’s coal industry! Now, Hillary Clinton has promised the same thing!
“Talking in coal-producing Ohio yesterday, Clinton said she is going to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business. Why on earth would any candidate or public official, much less one running for President, promise to put hard-working West Virginians out of work? We have some of the best quality coal here in West Virginia, and the best coal miners in the world, who want a job and not a handout from the federal government!”
“Clinton’s comments show that she and, apparently the entire current national Democratic Party – are completely out of touch with the needs and the desires of West Virginians who want to work!
“We here at the West Virginia Coal Association thoroughly condemn these comments and others like them as we condemn the policies of the Obama administration. Like I said, West Virginians want jobs not handouts.”
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WV Coal Lauds House as it approves Resolutions of Disapproval Joining Senate in Opposition to Job-Killing EPA Costly Power Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a 235-178 party-line vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve two joint resolutions, S.J.Res.23 and S.J.Res.24, which disapprove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rules for new and existing power plants. The resolutions would effectively nullify EPA’s final rules ensuring they have no force or effect.

All three members of West Virginia’s delegation to the House of Representatives voted to support the resolutions of disapproval.

The vote included 231 Republicans voting yes with only 10 voting against the measure, whereas 178 Democrats voted against the measures versus only four who voted with the Republican majority to oppose the Obama Administration’s job killing rules. The resolutions have already passed the Senate by a strong majority with both West Virginia senators voting for the measures.

“We are happy that the Congressional majority recognizes the damage this plan has already done to our industry and to the nation’s electric grid,” said West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney. “We would like to thank Senators Capito and Manchin along with Representatives McKinley, Jenkins and Mooney for their leadership in moving these resolutions through the Congress.

“We believe the EPA’s Clean Power Plan threatens the nation’s electric grid and its economy,” Raney said. “West Virginia is already seeing the damage, with many of our counties seeing unemployment rates of more than 13 percent, but make no mistake, if this plan is implemented the rest of the nation will share in the pain.”

Analysis of EPA’s power plan  shows compliance costs totaling nearly $300 billion, making it the most expensive regulation every imposed on the electric sector. Additionally, each of the Lower 48 states will see electricity prices climbing. Forty-one of those states will see double digit increases with 28 facing peak year increases of 20 percent or more. Despite these enormous costs, the plan will have virtually no effect on global climate change.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Bill Raney, president

West Virginia Coal Association

Ph. 304.342.4153

Email: braney@wvcoal.com

Scraps from the Table: Obama’s Plan an Insult to West Virginia’s Coal Mining Families

By Bill Raney, president
West Virginia Coal Association
Let’s say you are walking on the street and a man comes along, pulls out a gun and steals your

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wallet, all your money and credit cards, your watch and your wedding ring. He starts to walk away, but turns around and hands you back a five dollar bill and says he didn’t “want to leave you with nothing.”
Would that change your opinion of the man? Of course not, he’s a thief and it was YOUR money to begin with. The only reason he gave you back any of the money was to placate his own guilt.
The Charleston Gazette suggests that we should be grateful to someone who has, for more than six years, systematically done everything possible to destroy America’s coal industry, our coal miners’ jobs and families as well as the counties and communities that rely on us mining coal, all because he now wants to toss a few dollars back to his victim. This is simply guilt money and the most damaging type of hypocrisy.
While I am happy that the Gazette has finally acknowledged the pain the Obama War on Coal has caused the coalfields communities, their endorsement of Obama’s “plan” is little more than the words of a co-conspirator in the mugging trying to absolve their own guilt.
Now, we should do everything we can to take the money because the people of the coalfields ARE hurting and we want to do whatever we can to help, but it’s important to put and keep this Obama “payoff” into perspective.
According to the Gazette, The White House 2016 budget contains a “Power Plus Plan” that would:
• Provide $200 million per year for five years to clean up abandoned strip mines, which could create multitudes of jobs for laid-off miners;
• Provide $5 million for “brownfields” work cleaning up pollution at coal-fired power plants.
• Provide $20 million to retrain ex-miners and help them find new jobs;
• Provide $25 million to the Appalachian Regional Commission for efforts to create new businesses and upgrade water, sewer and telecommunications infrastructure;
• Provide $6 million more for “place-based regional innovation efforts” to spur jobs in distressed coal communities; and,
• Award $3.9 billion over a decade to shore up pensions and medical care of retired miners.
So how much of this “Obama payoff” can West Virginia realistically be expected to get?
In all likelihood it would be a small fraction of the total package – on the order of a few million dollars if you set aside the $3.9 billion that would be used to provide for miner and retiree pensions. Never mind that every dime of this money came from the coalfields to begin with — paid into the AML Fund by companies as a portion of their sale price of coal. So we are going to get back a small portion of the money we paid all these years?
By my calculation that is $256 million for the first year and $200 million in the subsequent four years in temporary aid for all the coal-producing states! In addition, $3.9 billion will be parsed out over ten years to “shore up” pensions and medical care for retired miners. Now it is important to say we applaud the effort to make sure mine retirees and their surviving spouses are provided for. It’s also important to say those pensions would likely not be in trouble today were it not for the actions of this administration. In fact, we have warned for the past seven years that this was coming, but neither the Obama Administration nor their supporters in the media would listen. I don’t think they ever considered or contemplated the far reaching negative impacts of their orders and behavior because reduced production brings reduced payments to these funds and no one should every be denied their pensions they‘ve worked their whole life to earn!
It is also important to understand that is not all of the remaining $256 million in temporary aid is directed to West Virginia or even Appalachia (as apparently the Gazette would have us believe). This would be spread out across all the “coalfields” of the United States – all 20+ states and I am sure some would also find its way to the “coalfields” of Chicago and Los Angeles since they use electricity!
To put that into clear perspective, the coal industry has historically provided about $3.4 BILLION EACH YEAR in wages in West Virginia alone and $26 BILLION EACH YEAR to the state’s gross state product. Obama has attempted to systematically strip us of that economic base.
The Gazette would have you believe the decline in the coal industry is “attributable to a flood of cheap natural gas, to depletion of good Appalachian coal seams, high company debt and the fall of coal prices,” but this is neither the whole nor accurate story. We could have wrestled with each of these factors in a free market of competition, but when our own government has it’s “foot on our throat”, picking winners and losers through the Obama assault on coal and its use, each of these factors are accentuated through the uncertainty that it has perpetrated.
The coal seams of Appalachia (West Virginia) are not in significant decline. In fact, underground productivity is at near record highs. Our overall productivity, however, has declined due to the reduced use of highly productive surface mining. Falling coal prices are directly attributable to the war on coal and the push to move the electric generation to less use of coal by the forced closure of much of the nation’s coal-fired power generation fleet. This so-called “cheap” natural gas is actually 31% MORE expensive on a per million Btu basis than West Virginia coal and is still below its market breakeven price even at this price level. And company debt is the direct result of these factors making it difficult if not impossible for some of these companies to compete.
Now the Gazette and other media outlets have been at the forefront of aiding this assault on America’s mining families, perhaps not realizing the long-term damage it would do to people. Today, rather than accept the responsibility for the policies that are threatening the futures of so many, the Gazette and others are trying to cast the Obama mugging of Appalachia as a “gift to help us overcome our economic problems.”
If you really want to help West Virginians, and Kentuckians, and southwestern Virginians, and all the others across the coalfields of this country, you wouldn’t just throw us some table scraps, you would get out of the way and help us put our miners back to work.