By BILL RANEY, president West Virginia Coal Association
CHARLESTON – 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.
Chris Hamilton Chairman, WV Business & Industry Council
April 30, 2016
Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Business & Industry 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.
CLARKSBURG, W.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.
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….
HUNTINGTON – The Marshall University Thundering Herd want the world to know they are Friends of Coal.
This Thursday, February 18th, at 7 p.m. the Herd will play host to the Charlotte 49’ers at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington. All coal miners and affiliated employees can use the promo code HERDCOAL on Herdzone.com, or just show your Friends of Coal sticker at the door to receive tickets discounted to just $5 tickets for the game.
The Herd’s Head Basketball Coach Dan D’Antoni said the night will be a “special night honoring the coal miner and all those who work in the coal industry in West Virginia.”
The team will wear its black uniforms in honor of our coal miners. D’Antoni called for a “blackout” at the game.
D’Antoni knows the importance of coal to the state firsthand.
“My grandfather was a coal miner and I grew up in coal country,” D’Antoni said. “The first 500 fans will receive a special Friends of Coal t-shirt and we hope everyone else will wear black to honor our proud history here in the state.
West Virginia Coal Association Senior Vice President Chris Hamilton said the event shows the bonds between the industry and the state.
“We are proud of our relationship with the state’s universities,” Hamilton said. “Many of our miners, their children, our management, their children and grandchildren have worn the green and white of Marshall. We appreciate Marshall’s recognition of our people and we urge all Friend of Coal to head to the Henderson Center this Thursday evening. Let’s rock the Henderson Center with coal!”
For More Information watch Coach D’Antoni announce the event here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waFtpe3Dhd4&feature=youtu.be
CHARLESTON — The November episode of The Coal Seam is now airing and features a show about the West Virginia Coal Miners Memorial Statue on the Capitol grounds in Charleston. Host Chris Hamilton is joined by very special guest Burl Jones, the internationally renowned sculptor who created the memorial.
The Coal Seam is filmed monthly at the West Virginia Library Commission Television Network studios in the State Archives. The
BRIDGEPORT — “The Legislature made substantive and impactful progress in the 2015 legislative session and work has begun in earnest on our 2016 agenda,” said Senate President and Lieutenant Governor Bill Cole in his opening remarks during BIC’s fourth regional business forum Thursday at the Bridgeport Conference Center in Bridgeport, WV. Nearly 60 business and policy leaders from north central West Virginia and across the state participated.
“The legal reforms passed during the last session are starting to bear fruit,” Cole said.
He referenced that a major insurance company doing business in the state has informed him that they will be announcing a rate reduction on auto insurance by nearly 6 percent in the near future. “That is just one tangible example of your legislature getting results.”
“We’re going to continue to move the needle for West Virginia and we’re going to do it in a big way in 2016,” Cole stated. “We’re going to take on the hard issues, many of which may have been taboo in the past, but which will make us competitive and bring us in line with other states.” Cole cited Right To Work and Prevailing Wage as policy initiatives the legislature will be considering.
“We’ve got to make changes now,” Cole said. “West Virginia is one of the only states in the country to see a population decrease and we’ve got to reverse that trend. To do that, we need to double down on the things that are working and stop doing the things keeping us at the top of the “bad” lists.
Cole noted his appreciation for BIC’s role in promoting the policies, as well as the political candidates, that West Virginia needs to move the state forward.
Chris Hamilton, Chairman of BIC, framed the challenges facing West Virginia and BIC’s role in spearheading positive change.
“It is all of our duty here today to support those tackling the hard issues and to elect candidates that will continue this trend into the future,” Hamilton stated.
The event featured a variety of speakers, covering various issues.
Eugenie Taylor with the WV Chamber of Commerce outlined the need for passing public charter school legislation. “For those with resources in West Virginia, they have the option of sending their children to private schools which they may feel provide their children with the support they need to thrive,” Taylor said. “However, for the majority of West Virginians without such means, they have no alternative to public schools.”
“This is in no way an effort to replace public schools,” Taylor said. “It is, however, one more tool that can help move West Virginia forward.” Echoing WVU President Gordon Gee’s comments during the WV Chamber’s recent Business Summit, Taylor said, “West Virginia doesn’t have time for incrementalism. We need all the tools in the toolbox to be available to us now.”
Taylor said the Chamber is working to build a coalition of public charter school supporters and encouraged those in attendance to contact her should they like to participate.
Senate Education Chairman Dave Sypolt outlined the challenges he and his committee face in working to improve West Virginia’s education system. “The West Virginia code includes more than 700 pages dealing with education,” Sypolt said. “My goal is to review and simplify the code to create a more student-centered education system.”
Brian Hoylman, Executive Director of the Associated Builders & Contracts, presented on the movement to enact a Workforce Freedom – or Right To Work – law in West Virginia. “An employee shouldn’t be forced to pay dues to a union as a condition of their employment.”
Hoylman cited a MetroNews poll announced on Labor Day which found that 60 percent of West Virginia voters would support a Right To Work law. “Interestingly,” Hoylman noted, “only 30 percent of those polled were republicans, which shows the broad based support this initiative has.”
Delegates Amy Summers and Terry Waxman outlined their desire to improve West Virginia’s healthcare and welfare systems and to implement solutions addressing substance abuse.
Corky DeMarco, President of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association, provided an overview on the immense natural gas resources under the ground in our region. “West Virginia and our region will overtake Saudi Arabia in terms of oil and gas production when it’s all said and done,” DeMarco stated. “We need the legislature to take steps to assure production continues and that we maximize the downstream opportunities available for economic growth.”
Chris Hamilton outlined the challenges facing West Virginia’s coal industry and the ongoing impact of President Obama’s war on coal. “We’ve lost approximately 6,000 mining jobs in West Virginia over the past several years and a quarter of our production. While that is devastating to working families and our economy, we hope that the trend has begun to level off. Coal will continue to provide a significant portion of America’s electricity into the future.”
Delegate Paul Espinosa, Kathy Wagner, President of the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, and Barbara DeMary, Executive Director of the Region 6 Workforce Investment Board, outlined the economic development challenges and opportunities facing north central West Virginia and the region.
“The two greatest challenges facing north central West Virginia right now are 1) retaining the businesses we have here today, and 2) finding workers for jobs both now and in the future,” said Wagner.
DeMary informed the group that there are a lot of people unemployed and in need of training in the region. She outlined a federal program that will incent food stamp beneficiaries in the Monongalia, Harrison and Marion County region to begin job training programs or lose their food stamp benefits.
The next BIC regional forum will take place in Vienna on Oct. 8.
CHARLESTON — If you were at the Charleston Embassy Suites Thursday August 27th, you would likely have been bowled over by a sea of green and white. The Marshall Thundering Herd was in town with Head Coach Doc Holliday and the 2015 Herd Football Team to kick off the season with the annual Paint the Capital City Green Event sponsored by the Friends of Coal.
West Virginia Coal Association Senior Vice President Chris Hamilton was on hand to lead off the event again this year. Hamilton hosted several of the players at the FOC’s table during the event. Hamilton also presented Friends of Coal gift baskets to Coach Holliday, Marshall University President and former WVCA Chairman Gary White and Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick.
It was a great event celebrating one of the state’s leading universities and its leading industry.
CHARLESTON — The Coal Seam television show is in its seventh season on the West Virginia Library Television Network. The show continues to be the source for news about the Mountain State’s coal industry. Congressman Evan Jenkins joined host Chris Hamilton for an exclusive interview for the June 2015 show. The show has an audience of 577,000 West Virginians. Below is a link to the show on Youtube.
GILBERT – In the fall of 2011, Mingo Central Comprehensive High School officially opened its doors to approximately 500 students from all across Mingo County.
Mingo Central is a comprehensive 9-12 high school on a beautiful 90 acre site along the King Coal Highway overlooking the mountains of Mingo County. It is a 172,535 square foot school containing approximately 60 classrooms, a dining room seating 488 students, a band room for 80 band members, an auditorium seating 400 people and a gymnasium seating 2,160 fans.
The state-of-art school is situated on a former surface mine that was responsible for the enormous amount of site preparation work and reconfiguring of the land to accommodate the school, access roads and necessary infrastructure. The new school is clearly developed into one of the premier high schools within our state.
Alpha Natural Resources and the School Building Authority joined local, county and state officials in developing this project and it is an excellent example what can be accomplished on former mine sites with careful planning and an eye towards the future.
Mingo Central Comprehensive High School becomes the latest edition to our state’s post mine land portfolio where a little vision, planning, local leadership and broad community support came together to create a state-of-the-state educational facility and the continued viability of a former mine site.
This site joins a growing number of public commercial, industrial and recreational facilities throughout West Virginia that is supporting a new found dimension of our state’s economy and job base.
Infect the West Virginia Office of Coalfield Community Development report more than 13.000 jobs that have been created on post mine land sites. New uses for surface mined lands include residential development, tourism, energy, schools, government facilities and manufacturing.
Sites such as the Medical Center in Weirton to Cabela’s in Wheeling to Mylan Park in Morgantown, the State Prison in Fayette, ERT Convention Center in Logan and the FBI Center in Clarksburg are all on former mine land. Joining the Mingo County Consolidated High School are the Mount View High School in McDowell County as well as the Coal City Elementary and Independence middle and high schools in Raleigh County as examples of former mine land being used to improve education across the state.
These former surface mine sites have been critically important, providing land for new industrial, residential and recreational purposes, and many of these projects are able to take advantage and utilize the infrastructure, roads, buildings and electric service established and used during active mining.
More than 10,000 acres of land that was surfaced mined will now become home to the National Boy Scout Jamboree which is set to open in 2012. Construction and site preparation work has been in operation throughout the past year. 50,000 Boy Scouts will come to the Adventure Center each year. The economy of Fayetteville will thrive as the direct result of this facility.
The natural landscape of West Virginia can be characterized usually as a narrow valley floor –between 100 and 1000 feet wide — surrounded by steep mountainsides that are often a 50-degree slope or more.
What this means is that any development is naturally limited by the landscape. Overcoming this limiting factor is an expensive undertaking. Moving the amount of earth necessary to build a road, a shopping center, a school or an industrial park requires an investment of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars before construction of the facility or the road even begins.
Accompanying this article is a partial list of facilities either located on former mine lands or in the process of construction. The sites run the gamut of development, including everything from golf courses to hospitals, from schools to industrial parks and from prisons to residential areas. The businesses and facilities located on these sites provide literally thousands of good, quality jobs. These are jobs that would likely not have existed without the land provided at low, if any, cost by the coal industry.
Some critics of surface mining claim that little of the land used for surface mines is potentially developable. However, a look at any of the land use plans of coalfield counties shows this claim is simply not valid.
For example, according to the Logan County Land Use Plan, approximately 65 percent of the surface mine sites in the county are within five miles of a four-lane highway. These sites are also close to air transportation and are within a day’s drive of most of the East Coast.
These sites have the potential to be very attractive to economic development, but the post-mine land use also includes residential, educational and recreational uses. There are many examples of residential, educational and recreational development on these sites.
In West Virginia, the little hollows along which most people live often flood, wiping away lives and life’s work in just minutes. Like industrial and commercial development, the people of West Virginia build their homes along these little hollows because there are no other good options. Building a home on a 50 degree slope is nearly impossible and building on the mountaintop requires providing your own access and utilities.
Former mine lands can be configured for residential development. At Bright Mountain in Nicholas County, a former mine site provides home sites for more than 100 homes. In Weirton, almost 80 percent of the community is on former mine land.
The calculation is a simple one — West Virginia needs to diversity its economy. In order to do that, the state needs readily developable lands. Surface mining provides that developable land. Therefore surface mine lands fulfill a need the state has to provide good quality, high paying jobs today and in the future.
These are highly coveted awards and something for which everyone in the industry strives and is proud to win.